Though the Denver Nuggets are riding into the 2023-24 season high, after taking home the franchise’s first-ever Larry O’Brien Trophy last spring, there is fair reason for fans to be concerned about the team’s depth.
Bruce Brown, a key contributor off the bench for the Nuggets last season found himself a new NBA home in the offseason, signing a two-year, $45 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.
At Denver’s media day Monday, Nikola Jokic discussed the loss of Brown and how the team was handling his exit from the Mile-High City.
“Of course, we are mad at him. We won’t talk to him. Maybe we won’t give him a ring,” Jokic joked with the media (h/t DNVR Sports). “You know, it’s something that’s natural and needs to happen — not just for him. We have some new guys who can fill that role and guys who played last year who can fill more minutes. So I think we’ll be okay.”
Will the Denver Nuggets be okay after the loss of Bruce Brown?
Brown is certainly a big loss for the Nuggets, there’s no way to dance around it. There’s a reason why the Pacers offered him such a lucrative contract in free agency — he’s the real deal.
In the playoffs, he appeared in all 20 of Denver’s postseason matchups, playing about 26.5 minutes each time. In those minutes, Brown averaged 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 51.1% from the field and 31.6% from beyond the arc.
Though his absence will be felt, it doesn’t mean that the sky is falling in Denver. Christian Braun is a player who seems like he could be ready to fill the role like Jokic alluded to.
The sophomore wing is due for some extra minutes and could take a nice jump after a solid rookie season. Braun suited up in 76 games for the Nuggets last year. He averaged 4.7 points per game while shooting 49.5% overall and 35.4% from distance. If he’s able to hold his own defensively, then he could wind up being a nice solution to the team’s depth issue at the forward spot, now that Brown has moved on.