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Butler, Jokic lead Heat, Nuggets into a NBA Finals after unconventional paths

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AP Basketball Writer

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic wasn’t supposed to be here. Neither was Jimmy Butler, for that matter. Jokic was drafted behind 40 other players in 2014. Butler was drafted behind 29 others in 2011. Jokic grew up in Serbia, not even thinking about the NBA. Butler didn’t have the easiest upbringing in Texas, then went the junior-college route at the start of his journey toward the pros. And here they are. The NBA Finals. One of them is going to become a champion for the first time, with Jokic leading the Denver Nuggets and Butler leading the Miami Heat — a matchup that starts Thursday night in Denver, with the Nuggets heavily favored to win it all.

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