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Multiple former Wizards are part of the Nuggets’ championship team

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Thomas Bryant, Ish Smith and Ryan Saunders were once on the Wizards before winning the 2023 NBA Finals.

2023 NBA Finals - Denver Nuggets Championship Portraits
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an NBA champion.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Yesterday, the Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat, 94-89 in Game 5 of the 2023 NBA Finals to win their first-ever NBA championship.

While the Washington Wizards didn’t win the championship, some of the players and coaches on Denver’s team once were in D.C. Let’s take a look below:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2021-22) — In Washington, KCP averaged 13.2 points per game in 77 appearances and shot 39 percent from the three point line (159-of-408 attempts). This season he averaged 10.8 points in the regular season while maintaining his efficiency from his lone season in D.C. He also maintained that efficiency in the playoffs.
  • Thomas Bryant (2019-22) — In Washington, Bryant averaged 11 points per game and started 108 times out of his 155 total appearances. This season, Bryant averaged 9.8 points a game in 59 total appearances between the Los Angeles Lakers and Nuggets. Bryant averaged 12.1 points per game for the Lakers while averaging 21.4 minutes per game, but his production dropped when he came to the Nuggets because he was Nikola Jokic’s backup.
  • Ish Smith (2019-22) — In Washington, Smith was a reliable guard off the bench. In Denver, he played sparingly only making 43 regular season appearances.
  • Ryan Saunders (2009-14) — Saunders came to the Wizards at the start of the 2009-10 season on the late Flip Saunders’ staff and was part of the initial years of the John Wall Era. He then spent the next seven seasons (2014-21) with the Minnesota Timberwolves where he was an assistant coach, and then head coach from 2019-21. Saunders joined the Nuggets this season.

Congratulations to the former Wizards who are now NBA champions. Hopefully, we will have a championship soon.