After one of the weirder Denver Nuggets seasons in recent memory (and with a lot of unexpected outcomes from the season as a whole), the National Basketball Association kicks off its crown jewel tonight with a matchup between this year's hottest squad, MVP Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, and whoever-LeBron-is-playing-for-in-the-East-this-year, his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
Can Curry and his fellow splash brother, Klay Thompson, stay torrid against a revitalized Cavs defense? Does LeBron have the support remaining after the loss of Kevin Love and hobbling of Kyrie Irving to give Golden State a run? And what about those former Nuggets?
On the Golden State side of the court is the Holy Moley himself, bench player Andre Iguoudala. Though he spent all of a season in Denver, his name is cursed by most Nuggets faithful as the gent who showed up for Denver's best regular season and then defected to Golden State before the playoff series against them was even complete. Since his move to the Bay Area, Iggy's game has taken a step back while the Warriors have skyrocketed, and to his credit, AI has accepted the bench role which came with those circumstances.
Though it would be hard to see him get a ring out of such a tough Denver departure, Golden State is utterly stacked on both ends of the floor, and are a near unanimous favorite to win their first ring in 40 years (and the fourth in their history).
On the Cleveland side of the court, a couple of former Nuggets are still vying for a title in Timofey Mozgov and J.R. Smith. Smith has been gone for years (since the Carmelo Anthony trade to the Knicks), and was as much trouble as he was glorious when lighting things up for Denver. J.R. has been a hit-or-miss proposition most of his career, but seems to have fallen into a little more serious stance with new alpha dog LBJ, and has been a huge contributor in keeping the Cavs moving forward in these playoffs.
Mozgov's footprints are still fresh in Denver, having been traded halfway through this last season to the Cavs for a couple of first-round picks. Mozzie filled a huge need for the Cavs in the post, with injuries dragging their season to the point of no return before turning it around in the second half. Though he had some killer games in his time in Denver, Timo has stepped it up another gear for Cleveland and has been a solid defensive presence down low for the Cavs, and has kept the opposition honest on the offensive end.
A further blast from the Nuggets past sits on the Cavs bench in assistant coach James Posey. Though Posey's glory days were primarily after he left the Mile High city, he was a player on the rise in his Denver days, and already has rings from travels to both Miami and Boston, so knows what it takes to bring one home, and can help Cleveland face the juggernaut that Golden State appears to be.
So... Warriors or Cavs? "The City" or the "Sixth City"? This year's MVP, or the guy who's won four of the last six en route to five straight Finals appearances? What say you, Nuggets Nation? How does this go down? Are you ready for the Finals?