2023-24 was a historical season for the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets v Memphis Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

There were some up-and-down moments for the Denver Nuggets this regular season, but that was the case for almost every team in the NBA. It’s also a reasonable expectation for a team that just came off winning their first NBA Title in franchise history. Throw in the losses of key bench players Bruce Brown and Jeff Green and it was more than fair to expect this team may take some lumps during the regular season.

But now that it’s all said and done, and 82 games of regular season action are in the books, we can take a minute to reflect and actually appreciate what the team accomplished. For one, they ended the season with a record of 57-25 and finished second in the Western Conference.

A record-setting regular season for the Nuggets

The 57 wins ties a franchise record that was set in the 2012-13 season and is a four-win improvement on last year’s team that got the one seed and obviously won the Finals. 

To accomplish that kind of season after winning the championship, trotting out a bench made up largely of unproven young players and washed-up vets, plus missing Jamal Murray for 23 games with injuries is borderline miraculous. Doing it in one of the most loaded conferences of all time makes it even more impressive.

Sure, it would have been nice to win the conference and take home the one-seed and homecourt advantage. But all things considered, this is a great outcome, and avoiding the Clippers and Mavericks until the conference finals may end up being a blessing in disguise.

Nikola Jokic in a class by himself

Now, a big part of the team’s success this year is obviously owed to the incomparable Nikola Jokic. The Joker is a mortal lock to take home his third NBA MVP award in a couple of weeks and it couldn’t be more deserved. He elevates not only his own game but the game of everyone else on the team on a nightly basis - regardless of who’s in and out.

I could choose any number of stats to reflect the unmatched greatness of Jokic, and none would truly do him justice. But this one struck me as fairly amazing, even by his standards. Big Honey finished the season 2nd in the NBA in assists (708), 3rd in rebounds (976), 5th in points (2,085), and 8th in steals (108). He is the first player in league history to finish top 10 in all four categories.

Ultimately, this team and this season will be judged by what happens in the playoffs. But while the Nuggets wait on their first-round opponent and get a week off to rest, now is a good time to commend them on an outstanding regular season.