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June 3, 2023

Aaron Gordon

Denver Nuggets

Practice Day

Q. I just asked Michael a little bit about how the process of playing when Nikola is on the side, when he's sitting out, how has that gone, and he talked about sort of the progress this season and how it's gone in the playoffs. What are the keys to that when you're on the floor, the other guys are on the floor but he's sitting?

AARON GORDON: Defense. Defense. So, when he's sitting on the floor we need to lock in on defense. That's probably the most important, crucial aspect of the non-Nikola Jokic minutes because that's how our defense -- that's how we get our offense, as well.

So, when we get stops on defense, we can get out and run, and we're really fast and versatile when it comes down to defending.

Q. Is the mentality that of surviving those stretches, or are you actually trying to thrive?

AARON GORDON: No, no, definitely thrive, not surviving. I feel like surviving is almost like fear based. No, we ain't got no fear.

Q. Coach was also saying he didn't think you all played well in Game 1 and still came out with a win. When you look back on the film, is there anything in particular you feel like you can shore up as a team or maybe individually?

AARON GORDON: Well, I think they got a few too many open looks. It's going to happen. But we need to cut down on the number of open looks that they get. Getting back in transition, keeping them off the offensive glass, and then just kind of tightening up on the defensive end, as well.

Q. Curious what you saw at the beginning of the game in terms of how they were defending you. Did you think those opportunities would be there? How did their defense against you shift as the game went on, if at all?

AARON GORDON: I think they stopped switching. They started to -- I'm not entirely sure how they're going to play the pick-and-roll this time between me and Jamal. They went under one time and got back to Jamal, but they were switching 1 through 4.

So, I don't expect them to do that again.

But I'm going to just run out in transition, try and get deep seals, continue to be aggressive with whoever is in front of me.

Q. You haven't lost a game since April. What do you think about that, and what do you think it says about success or the key for that success?

AARON GORDON: No, we've lost a game. We've lost since April.

Oh, at home? We just take a lot of pride at home. Yeah, we take a lot of pride in protecting our home floor. We have a great fan base that's behind us.

I think that's what it really comes down to is just understanding what it means to keep home-court advantage.

Q. Aaron, what is the value of Jeff Green like in the locker room and the presence he brings? How would you explain his impact?

AARON GORDON: It's huge, man. It's priceless. JG is so basketball savvy. It's like he's playing chess out there.

He keeps everybody poised, solid, professional, and he's still a hell of a talent. To have a guy that can produce and create on the floor is extremely important, and then a guy that can talk to you and give you advice and lead from off the floor is just as crucial.

Q. Jeff learned from KG, like he's got to talk more, and now that he's older he talks a lot. When he's giving you guys advice, is it funny? Is he coming with these lines of wisdom? How does he approach his vocal part of it?

AARON GORDON: It's just solid. It's all sound advice. It makes sense. It's to the point. It's not confusing or left to interpretation. It is exactly what we need to hear every time.

Q. When you look back to the transition from Orlando to Denver, in Orlando you probably were asked to do a bit more, had the opportunity to do a bit more. Coming to Denver, was it like an instantaneous thing, I need to do some of the gritty work, or did that take a little bit?

AARON GORDON: No, no, it wasn't too much of a switch. I think what was interesting in my first six years in Orlando, I had six different coaches, and before that it was Sean Miller at Arizona and then my high school coach.

So, within eight years, it was eight different coaches and a multitude of coaching staffs and training staffs. There was a lot of movement in there.

In that I got to pick the brain of brilliant coaches for maybe just a year at a time, but still, I got to pick up little pieces from Jacque Vaughn, [James] Borrego, Frank Vogel, Steve Clifford, Scott Skiles. I hope I'm not missing anybody. Sorry if I am.

Short time we had together, the year that we had together, and then kind of bring it together to an organization like Denver where Coach Malone had already been here for a certain number of years. Coach Malone being here for a number of years and already having a -- kind of like something already going, established here, a foundation. He already had a foundation and had been playing on it for three years, four years, five years. I'm not even entirely sure how long. Five years, maybe six years. Just being able to come in and be myself, that was the biggest thing.

They told me from the jump, we got you for a reason. Just be yourself and everything will work out. That's what it came down to. Even in the first game, it was just like a breath of fresh air just because it was like the first time I was able to just like get a back cut and then just like an easy dunk. There was just so much going on on the floor, so much spacing, and it seemed like everybody complemented each other so well.

Q. As Coach Malone mentioned before, he didn't think you guys played that great in Game 1. Is there anything in particular at the beginning of the fourth quarter that you guys can look to improve on when they made that run?

AARON GORDON: Yeah, I mean, you just can't be complacent with this team. You can't be lackadaisical. You can't sleep on this team. This team has no quit. They will continue to fight through the entirety of the game. You've got to understand that about this team.

You can't take your foot off the gas with these guys.

Q. Being for such a long time with the Orlando Magic, you guys were also very close. Do you still have contact with them? Are they reaching out to you and wanting to know who you are and how all that is now for you?

AARON GORDON: Yeah, throughout the years I got to develop a lot of great relationships in Orlando, whether it be the coaching staff or player development or some of my teammates. Yeah, they still reach out to me and give me some advice from here and there and just let me know that they're still rooting for me.

Q. Malone was just talking about how he implored you guys to ignore the outside noise, don't read the paper, don't listen to anything, don't watch TV. How difficult is that to do at this stage and even to block out the people around you and being like, I don't want to hear that stuff?

AARON GORDON: It's difficult because the people around you get excited, as well. So, you have to keep like a calmness. You have to keep a poise to you, like an intense energy but calm, while the rest of everybody else is really frenetic.

It's important to just make the main thing the main thing and just be focused on what the task is at hand.

One more thing about that -- my bad -- about the media, you know. Still reading the newspaper and the news around the world is important and not being consumed with kind of the bubble that is the NBA, even though it expands during the Finals.

But still, being aware of the other things that are going on outside of the media, the NBA, and the things that are going on outside of the world and reading world news is still really important.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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