The Denver Nuggets are the most recent NBA champs, and that’s not something that can be taken lightly. The Nuggets have never won an NBA title, let alone even had an NBA Finals appearance up until last June.
The Miami Heat put up a good fight, but in the end, the Nuggets were too much for them to handle, and Jimmy Butler and company eventually lost in five games. A lot of praise was handed out to a lot of Miami’s players to even make it to that point. An 8th seed to make it all the way to the NBA Finals is practically impossible, as it has only ever been done one other time, back in 1999 by the New York Knicks.
Two players in particular were really impressive, those being Max Strus and Gabe Vincent. Both undrafted guards were phenomenal for Miami, as the starting backcourt played well. Eventually, they both left in free agency. Strus headed to Cleveland while Vincent went to the Lakers.
Looking at Vincent in particular, he’s headed to a really talented Lakers squad, where he will have to claw and fight for minutes. Recently in an interview with Sportskeeda, Vincent was asked a lot of questions, some relating to the Miami Heat and his tenure there, and others relating to the Lakers.
One question in particular really should be brought up, as he was asked about the Denver Nuggets, primarily because the Nuggets swept the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals last year as well as beating his Miami Heat squad in the NBA Finals.
"“For any organization or team that is really concerned about winning a title, you have to talk about the team that just won. How can we beat them? They’re still the best team until they’re beaten. Until someone is crowned NBA champion, they’re the champions. It plays a role and something we’ll prepare for. Denver is still a very good team. They’re still the champions. There have been other moves around the league. But Denver plays a big role in that, especially now that I’m in the West and on the Lakers’ side. I’m going to see them four times instead of two. It definitely plays a role.”"
It’s interesting to see that Vincent views the Denver Nuggets as highly as he does, especially considering how they played against his former team. The Nuggets are still the team to beat at this point, as he stated. They are the defending champs, which paints a bit of a target on their backs. Denver still has a great chance to win the NBA Finals this year and should have a good shot for a bit longer, too.
With Gabe Vincent on the Los Angeles Lakers now, it will be interesting to see how the rivalry will play out. There definitely will be a bit of tension between the two, especially considering the two teams will be playing against each other on opening night.
It is only a few weeks until the NBA season starts, but rivalries in the NBA never cease to exist. Either way, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets will have an interesting season ahead of them.