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Aaron Gordon: Nuggets Still 'Have Enough' to Win Title Because of Nikola Jokic

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIApril 19, 2021

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

In the face of Jamal Murray's ACL tear, Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon isn't ready to give up on his team's playoff chances just yet. 

In an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Gordon said the team has "championship aspirations" and isn't fazed by the loss of Murray, because Nikola Jokic is still showing up.

"We still feel like we have enough, especially with 'Joker' man," he said. "When you've got that guy on the floor, you have a chance to win every single night. So everybody's got to step up, everybody has to play their best. But if we're doing that, then I feel like we have a good chance to go as far as we want to." 

While Jokic is the workhorse of the Nuggets team, leading the group in points (26.1), shooting percentage (56.7 percent), rebounds (11) and assists (8.8), Murray was second in points, rebounds and assists.

The 24-year-old Murray was having a career year, averaging 21.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds on 47.7 percent shooting. He was also a force from the line with a second-best 86.9 free-throw percentage. But even without him, Denver found its stride in its first two games, defeated Miami and Houston while scoring in the 120-point range both times. 

Gordon, who joined the team at the trade deadline after requesting a move from Orlando, said he has "been able to fit in seamlessly," and his stats are showing it. He is posting 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists through 11 games with the Nuggets. 

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Denver is 36-20, holding onto the fourth seed in the Western Conference behind the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.

With Murray done for the year, Monte Morris and Will Barton will carry an increased role in the backcourt for Denver, no matter how long their championship hopes continue.