Bruce Brown takes shot at Lakers, LeBron James after cashing in

Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

NBA champion and former Denver Nuggets wing Bruce Brown was unafraid to speak his mind about LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Bruce Brown was a crucial piece to the Denver Nuggets’ championship-winning puzzle last season. He cashed in over the summer, signing a two-year, $45 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.

While Brown’s days of contention are at least momentarily on pause, he should have enough positive energy from Denver’s title run to last him a lifetime. And, if his comments on a recent podcast appearance are any indication, he has no problem talking up his former team — even at the expense of vanquished foes.

Speaking with NBA free agent Theo Pinson on the Run Your Race Podcast, Brown was asked about Denver’s title run and, inevitably, about the Lakers series. Denver swept LA in the Western Conference Finals, ending the LeBron James’ Cinderella run as the No. 7 seed.

Brown didn’t pull punches. In fact, he reveled in the opportunity to pile on James and the Lakers.

Bruce Brown openly belittles LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers after Denver Nuggets’ title run

The Nuggets won four straight against LA, but all four games were close. Anthony Davis was perhaps the best defender in the playoffs, Austin Reaves was scorching nets from 3-point range, and LeBron James was, still, LeBron James.

And yet, the undeniable power of LeBron James may be waning. Speaking of the pivotal Game 3 in Los Angeles, Brown told a tale of complete confidence. “I knew we were going to get Game 3,” he said. Then he dives into the closeout game in Los Angeles, when LeBron James started off hot before gradually falling off.

“[LeBron] ran out of gas,” said Brown. “He was done… he was burnt out.”

Those are strong words about the greatest player of his generation — maybe ever. But Brown and the Nuggets walked the walk that entire series, openly challenging the media’s intense focus on the Lakers before sending the nation’s most popular team packing in swift, relentless fashion.

Brown’s comments went beyond LeBron, too. Pinson spoke to Brown about “[Denver’s] toughest series,” even venturing to answer for Brown. “The Lakers,” Pinson said.

The response from Brown was quick and definitive: “No,” accompanied by a violent shake of the head.

Brown went on the claim that Minnesota was Denver’s toughest series. The Timberwolves lost in five in the first round, but as Brown points out, the Wolves have some pieces: Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, Mike Conley. That team is no joke.

He also briefly mentions Phoenix, the only team that managed to steal more than one win from Denver. But the Suns games were all “blowouts,” said Brown. When Pinson notes how close all the Lakers games were, Brown simply said the Nuggets never felt like they were going to lose.

And, well, they didn’t lose. It’s hard to pose a material argument against Brown here. The Lakers were the only team Denver properly swept. The games were close, yes. Anthony Davis and LeBron James are very good, yes. But the Lakers ended up losing four in a row. Minnesota, Phoenix, and even No. 8 seed Miami all managed to give Denver a longer series.

Brown clearly isn’t intimidated by James and the Lakers’ hype machine, which can consume even innocent bystanders. It’s risky to openly question the King’s reign — just ask Dillon Brooks — but LeBron is getting old, and the Nuggets did sweep LA out of the playoffs. What’s done is done. We’ll see if Brown can unlock the same level of success in La La Land as a member of the Pacers (probably not).

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