JJ Redick on Nikola Jokić's dominant playoff run

Plus: Give Calvin Booth his flowers

Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick trip around the NBA. Tommy and I were joined by legend Doris Burke on The Old Man and the Three last week for a fantastic conversation on the game and her career. (How did we record 162 episodes without having her on?)

After the Nuggets won their first ring last night, I went live on our YouTube with DraftKings Sportsbook to recap the game and share my instant reaction to this historic championship. Read on for my thoughts on Jokić’s playoff run in my Stat of the Week.

In this week’s A Farewell to Takes we are giving you:

  • Our Stat of the Week

  • Tommy on Calvin Booth

  • The Best Thing Tommy Ate Last Week Recently

  • Our Wine of the Week

Thanks for reading! —JJ

Stat of the Week: 52.95

Congratulations to the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokić on a historic championship. After last night’s win, the Nuggets captured their first NBA championship in franchise history and became the 2nd former ABA team to win a title (the Spurs are the other). Jokić’s playoff run was dominant and historic — full of many postseason “firsts.” He became the first player to lead the playoffs in total points, rebounds, and assists. He became the first player to average 30 or more points, 10 or more rebounds, shoot 50% or better from the field, and shoot 45% or better from three. The stat that captures his dominance the most is 52.95. Combining points, rebounds, and assists, Jokić averaged 52.95 per game in this playoff run. That is second most all time to Wilt Chamberlain in 1967. Add in Jokić’s insanely efficient shooting percentages from everywhere on the floor (55/46/80), and it’s apparent that we just witnessed one of the all time great individual playoff runs.

Stat padding at its finest. —JJ

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Give Calvin Booth his flowers

Tim Connelly sent shockwaves through the NBA landscape this time last year when he jumped from Denver to Minnesota. Yes, he doubled his salary, and yes Minnesota has a bright young core, but leaving a two-time MVP, a lead star guard in Jamal Murray who was finally healthy, and one of the best trade pickups in recent memory, Aaron Gordon, felt surprising. Connelly had put on a masterclass in team building in his time in Denver.

So when Calvin Booth was announced as his replacement, it flew a bit under the radar. A ten-year pro, Booth had been in the Nuggets organization since 2017. Booth's immediate goals when he took the job were to improve Denver's defense and versatility. And his first two moves did just that. As we've discussed many times, trading Monte Morris and Will Barton for KCP, while low impact at the time, was a masterstroke for what this starting five needed. Declining options on Facu Campazzo and replacing him with Bruce Brown, a gifted hybrid guard who was trapped in the carnage of the Brooklyn Nets, was another under-the-radar brilliant move. Drafting Christian Braun and Peyton Watson, two more guys who fit this defensive versatility mold. We all know how good Jokić and Murray are. Their offensive efficiency has been historic. But the Nuggets, with 110.2 defensive net rating in the playoffs, did not win their ring without their defense and their toughness.

And while Connelly deserves a ton of credit for putting the primary pieces of this runaway train together, Calvin Booth has added a beautiful layer of frosting that has made a team with previous postseason struggles make it look so simple. In many ways, Denver is now the league's gold standard for front office production, and a first year GM boosting that is impressive and should be celebrated. —Tommy

Best Thing Tommy Ate Last Week Recently: Rigatoni with Venison Ragu at Terra

When I got to Denver for Game 1, I had forgotten just how good of a food city it is: great breweries, coffeeshops, farm to table dining, and everything in between. As I was only there for 36 hours and needed to time dinner around a 6pm game, the best option was a new spot for me, Terra, a few steps from the arena and the hotel.

It did not disappoint. It was a small group so didn't get to try everything on the menu, but the house baked focaccia and oysters were both very good. The Rigatoni with Venison Ragu was the real showstopper though. You usually can't go wrong with a non ground beef ragu, but this was a particularly tasty interpretation. And the homemade pasta's texture was perfect with the tenderness of the venison. —Tommy

Terra | Instagram | 891 14th St., Denver, CO 80202

Wine of the Week: Pinot Grigio Ramato Rosé 2022

It’s Rosé season. Who is excited? This rosé from Fruilli in Italy is made from Pinot Grigio. It’s a perfect wine for this time of year. It’s easy drinking but complex (think notes of “broom and Alpine Rose”). I can’t recommend this enough. Order a case and thank me later. —JJ


#jjredick and #dorisburke talk about their love for #basketball on tomorrow’s episode of #theoldmanandthethree. ❤️ #nba

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