The Denver Nuggets just won their first NBA championship. The team was the best in the league all year, and they finished the job by beating the Miami Heat 3-1 in the NBA Finals. The team will take some time to celebrate now, but as with all great teams, it is back to work soon for Denver to try and win another one. And another (and another and another) is not out of the question with the way this team is built. Here are three reasons that a Nuggets dynasty is possible in the next few seasons for Nikola Jokic and company
3. There are no NBA super-teams right now
The Nuggets are the best team in the NBA right now, and that will likely remain true when the 2023-24 NBA season kicks off next fall. There are no teams on the horizon in the Western Conference that will definitely step it up a notch and get to Denver’s level next season.
The Golden State Warriors are a year older, the Sacramento Kings are still too young, the Memphis Grizzlies are a mess and Ja Morant is facing a lengthy suspension, and the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Phoenix Suns all have major flaws and will rely on superstars past their prime.
Oh yeah, and the Dallas Mavericks will probably re-sign Kyrie Irving, so they’re out.
In the East, it’s not much better. The Miami Heat could be back but they need another star. The Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks are both at a crossroads after tough playoff exits. And the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks are good but not great.
The Boston Celtics are likely the only team who could take another step next season and get on the Nuggets' level, but even if that happens, the Nuggets will only have to worry about that in the NBA Finals, a series they now have experience winning.
A Nuggets championship dynasty could start now simply because there is no other team to knock them off their pedestal.
2. The core of the Nuggets is locked up
The Nuggets' core of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr. are all under contract for at least the next two seasons.
If you extend that to include Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Bruce Brown, and Christian Braun, they likely have at least two years with Caldwell-Pope and Braun, while Brow has a player option for $6.8 million next season. The only important role player who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason is Jeff Green.
Keeping this core together is key to a potential Nuggets dynasty. However, they already have some of the makings of a perennial championship team.
The key here is keeping Jokic, Murray, and probably Gordon together. Players like Brown, Caldwell-Pope, and even Porter Jr. are a bit of a luxury, and the new CBA is punitive to teams with a lot of stars. This means these guys might have to go.
However, the Nuggets are already doing a good job replacing them. Braun was a revelation as a rookie and is under the team’s control at a reasonable price for the next few years now. He played a huge role in the playoffs and NBA Finals this season, and if he continues to develop, he could easily replace Brown or Caldwell-Pope, or even Porter Jr. someday.
A few more draft picks like that and the Nuggets dynasty could be on.
1. Nikola Jokic is a timeless player
The competition and the supporting cast are crucial pieces of establishing an NBA dynasty. However, the biggest piece is the franchise superstar. It’s about Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Stephen Curry.
And for a potential Nuggets dynasty, it’s about Nikola Jokic.
“The Joker” has been the best player in the league now for at least three years, and he shows no signs of slowing down. That’s because he can’t get any slower!
Jokic has an “old man at the Y” game that shouldn’t be all that affected by age. Even in the examples above, several of those dynastic players had to change their game with age.
Jordan and Kobe had to lean more on their post games as they got older, and Curry won his last championship with the ball in his hands more because he can’t run through 27 screens every possession anymore to get his shot.
Jokic just won a Nuggets championship at 28 by doing the same things on almost every possession. He either set a ball screen then popped or rolled to the basket, or he set up at the foul line, got the ball, and either backed down or picked out a cutter.
There’s no reason to think Jokic won’t be able to do the exact same things at 38, and that’s why a Nuggets dynasty is possible after the team won a championship in its first NBA Finals appearance.