Who is the Denver Nuggets’ X-Factor?

Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Aaron Gordon of the Denver Nuggets. Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Aaron Gordon of the Denver Nuggets. Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

With Nikola Jokić and company winning the recent NBA championship, it is reasonable to say that the Denver Nuggets have one of the best teams in the league. Yes, a few free agents have left the team, most notably Bruce Brown, but the Nuggets will still be a competitive team nonetheless.

The starting lineup had a perfect balance of offense and defense and will be the same starting five to start the season, barring any injury. Michael Malone coached this team to the best of his ability and is finally considered one of the best head coaches in the NBA at this point.

Everything went right for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray stepped up in the playoffs when it mattered most, Bruce Brown was the best glue guy in the whole postseason, and Jokić proved that he belongs in the conversation of the best centers of all time.

Even though the flowers were mainly handed out to Jokić and Murray, there still deserves to be praise given elsewhere. Even though Michael Porter Jr. had a poor NBA Finals run for his standards, he still was a tremendous help when it mattered most.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a great perimeter defender and hit 3-pointer after 3-pointer during the whole postseason. His lights-out shooting really helped the Nuggets, and Denver might not have been able to be champions without him.

Yes, the whole team together made Denver’s dream a reality, and as the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which is definitely true for the Nuggets. Everything worked out in the end, and the Denver Nuggets will now try to be back-to-back champions.

With that all being said, who is the X-Factor for the Denver Nuggets? Being an X-Factor is really important for the team, as the X-Factor can be the reason why a team wins or loses. This kind of player is one of the most vital parts of the team.

Before that question is answered, what even is an X-Factor? To put it in simpler terms, an X-Factor is a player on any given sports team who may not be the greatest player on the team but is super vital to a team.

For example, last season for the Miami Heat, Caleb Martin would be the X-Factor. Yes, he may not have been the best player on the team, but when he played well, the whole team succeeded. Even though the Heat did not revolve around Martin, he still was a super valuable piece to their team and what really helped them make the NBA Finals. Martin didn’t play too well against Denver, which was a factor in why they lost in five games.

Well, who is the X-Factor for the Nuggets? It is not Nikola Jokić, as even if he does not have a great game when it comes to shooting from the field, the team can still succeed. It is not Jamal Murray, either, as he still can be a great playmaker and off-ball player even if he has a poor game. Who is it then?

The Denver Nuggets’ X-Factor is Aaron Gordon

Ever since Aaron Gordon joined the Denver Nuggets, he transformed the team. For the Orlando Magic, he was known as mainly just a highlight reel waiting to happen. Sure, he was a super athletic forward who could occasionally play defense, but that was really it. He couldn’t really hit a jump shot and was undersized as a power forward.

Now that he is playing alongside Jokić, he has learned to be more than a simple slasher. His perimeter shot was better, even though it wasn’t the best. 34.7 percent from beyond the arc last season is not the best, but it is good enough to deserve respect from the opposing team’s defense at least. He also shot 39.1 percent from the 3-point line in the playoffs, which could be replicated this season.

His defense was much improved. During the playoffs, he guarded the opposing team’s best player. Whether it be LeBron James, Jimmy Butler, or Kevin Durant, Gordon took up the challenge, and he didn’t back down from the challenge. Jimmy Butler had a poor NBA Finals performance for the Miami Heat, and Gordon’s defense was definitely a factor in that.

Aaron Gordon is a really great player for the Denver Nuggets and has really proved to be a really versatile player on offense and defense. He could be an All-Star this season, as he had a good amount of All-Star votes last year and could’ve been on the team.

Next. Can Denvers' Murray be an All-Star this year?. dark

Whether Gordon ever makes an All-Star team in his career will remain to be seen, but as of now, he definitely has etched his name in Denver Nuggets history with his performance in the NBA Finals.