Denver Nuggets
From L-R: #11 Bruce Brown, #5 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, #27 Jamal Murray and #15 Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets as #50 Aaron Gordon looks from behind. NBA University/Twitter


  • The Denver Nuggets built a different kind of super team to win the 2023 NBA Championship
  • Relying on Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray as their core two was a bold decision
  • Choosing to trust the process instead of rushing it created a perfect storm

The Denver Nuggets have finally broken through the glass ceiling and have claimed their first NBA championship after a hard-fought, come-from-behind victory in Game 5 against the Miami Heat, and they did it all by themselves.

In the current NBA landscape, having a core of three or four superstars leading the charge has become the norm since the Boston Celtics did it first ahead of the 2007-08 season with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining Paul Pierce.

Fans point to that moment as to when other franchises started copying the formula and the NBA has seen super teams be built–mostly out of necessity as the Golden State Warriors dominated the league throughout the mid-2010s.

From the Miami Heat bringing together LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Brooklyn Nets putting together James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, having so much star power on one team was once believed to be the key to winning a championship.

However, the Nuggets did it as organically as possible.

Had the Nuggets been tempted to go down the same track as other franchises and rush the process, there is an argument to be made that such an accomplishment would not have materialized.

One common thing among most super teams in the NBA is that they gut their roster depth in favor of top-loading their talent.

While it makes sense to stack as much talent as possible, as evidenced by the Warriors in the Kevin Durant era, a lone injury could derail their title aspirations.

Teams like the Houston Rockets in 2018, the Warriors in 2019, the Nets in 2021, and the Phoenix Suns in 2022 were all viewed as championship-caliber teams, but all fell apart when they mattered most.

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, drafted in the second round of 2014 and the first round in 2016 respectively, were the ones tasked to become the franchise cornerstones after the franchise decided to go all in with the former over Jusuf Nurkic.

For Denver, they were content with having a core two and instead of upping that number to three or four, they made sure to build around them.

Drafting Michael Porter Jr. was a massive boon since there were fears of his career longevity due to back issues while also bringing in names such as Aaron Gordon, Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope via free agency, plus drafting Christian Braun, to round out the depth made all the difference.

Not only did those names affect their inevitable postseason run to the championship, they were also key factors in building the culture that breeds champions.

Of all the players on the roster, Jeff Green has the most experience on the roster with 14 seasons under his belt and his impact on the floor and on the sidelines helped propel them to the chip.

Having a respected vet like Green guiding them through the process was another bold, yet smart, move by the Nuggets front office, and the addition of Deandre Jordan, another 14-year NBA vet, Ish Smith and Reggie Jackson to round out the roster helped in their regular-season success.

As much as the focus is on superstars switching teams to come together on one franchise, how the front office rounds it all out matters a bit more, especially when the stars have a rough shooting night or struggle to make the right plays.

All in all, Denver has built themselves a contending group that is built to last.

With their core group of Jokic, Murray and Porter locked in at least until the end of the 2024-25 season, their 2023 NBA Finals experience may be the beginning of a new dynasty.

Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets have claimed the 2023 NBA Championship in five games. ESPN Stats & Info/Twitter