Aaron Gordon debuts for Denver Nuggets, sees ‘no limits’ on team’s potential
It took only a few minutes for Nikola Jokic to find Aaron Gordon for his first dunk as a Denver Nugget.
In his Denver debut, Gordon hit 6 of 9 shots and scored 13 points to help the Nuggets crush the Atlanta Hawks 126-102 at Ball Arena.
After Denver led the Hawks by as much as 33 in a dominant team effort inside the paint, Gordon saw unlimited potential for the Nuggets.
“I see no limits for this team,” Gordon said. “It looks like we have all the pieces that we need. We have the depth. It’s like we are covered in a lot of different spots offensively, defensively.
“As long as we are all working together, there’s no stopping us.”
With a new starting lineup featuring Gordon alongside Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton, the Nuggets (28-18) dominated Atlanta inside, outscoring the Hawks 50-32 in the paint and outrebounding them 49-31.
With Jokic, Murray, Porter Jr. and Gordon on the floor, the Nuggets scored 55 points and were a plus-17 in 20 minutes, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Gordon took a pass from Jokic and curled off a Jokic screen for a 17-foot pull-up jumper for his first basket as a Nugget with 9:25 to go in the first quarter.
“It didn’t look like it was his first day playing with us,” said JaMychal Green, who scored 20 points off the bench.
Less than a minute later, Jokic hit a cutting Gordon in the paint for a twisting two-handed dunk. Three of Jokic’s eight assists were to Gordon, who dunked twice off Jokic passes.
The Nuggets, looking to move up in the Western Conference standings and make another run to the West finals, traded Gary Harris and RJ Hampton to Orlando for Gordon while also acquiring JaVale McGee, who did not play, from Cleveland.
The Nuggets got a glimpse of Gordon’s versatility as the forward switched on defense and stayed in front of Atlanta’s Trae Young on one possession.
“The main thing and the best thing that he did is that he accepted the role,” Jokic said. “He knows why he came here, he knows what he can do and he knows how he can help and he is doing that. Defense or offense, it doesn’t matter, he accepts it and is embracing it.
“I think he kind of saw how we played and he didn’t try to do too much. He saw that if he’s open, the ball is going to find him. Really good debut for him.”
And Gordon can see many more dunks to come playing alongside one of the game’s best passers in Jokic.
“I’m starting to see the run-outs,” said Gordon, who played 20 minutes. “His outlet passing is incredible. I haven’t seen an outlet passer that good … So looking forward to getting a lot of run-outs.”