Despite the doubters, the Denver Nuggets wiped star-studded teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns out of the playoffs because their depth was too much to match up with. Role players such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown were pivotal to their title run.
Although Denver faced talented tandems such as the Suns’ Kevin Durant and Devin Booker and the Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Brown says their toughest postseason opponent was the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I’d say our toughest series was Minnesota,” Brown said during a recent appearance on the Tidal League.
Brown alluded to most of the games with the Suns being lopsided and said he had no doubts the Nuggets would beat the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
“Suns were blowouts each game. With the Lakers, we never felt like we were gonna lose any game. Even when they went on a little run, it never felt like we were gonna lose,” he added.
The newly-crowned champ also gave credit to Timberwolves rising star Anthony Edwards.
“[Nuggets vs. Timberwolves] was supposed to be a sweep… Anthony Edwards was going OD though… I would say this year, the toughest players to guard was ANT and Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander],” Brown said.
Bruce Brown Predicted Nuggets Title Win
After the Brooklyn Nets completed a blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Sixers in 2022, Brown’s level of play expanded exponentially. Per Stat Muse, he averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 27 games for the Nets during that span.
His play elevated even more once the Nets made it to the postseason. Per Stat Muse, he averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in the first round of the playoffs against the Celtics last season. Brown’s play appeased the eyes of the Nuggets’ front office as they leaped at the opportunity to land him in free agency last summer.
Despite having a ton of talent on their roster heading into last season, not many people picked the Nuggets to win the title. They only had the 10th-best odds. But despite the wariness of others, Brown predicted the Nuggets to win the title before the season started.
“We’re here to win a championship. I think that’s what we’re gonna do,” Brown said to Harrison Wind of “DNVR Sports” last July.
Bruce Brown Departs Nuggets for Pacers
The Suns have retooled since losing in the playoffs, and the Nuggets ironically seem to have taken a step backward. Brown was a significant part of their title run this summer, as he averaged 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game.
But unfortunately for the Nuggets, Brown’s play appeased rival teams that could pay him more in free agency, the same way Denver poached him from the Nets last season. In the end, Brown decided to not run it back with the Nuggets as he inked a 2-year, $45 million contract with the Indiana Pacers in July.
The Suns, on the other hand, have clearly made more upgrades since being eliminated by Denver in the playoffs. The most notable move is the addition of All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal in June, but they have made other moves to add significant role players such as Yuta Watanabe and Eric Gordon.
Revenge could be on the menu for Phoenix if they meet Denver in the playoffs again next season.