NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Skyhook Sunday: Keep an eye on the Denver Nuggets

Going into Sunday's preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Denver Nuggets are 3-0, notching road wins against the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers (twice). Normally I would say not to pay much attention to preseason results, but having watched the Nuggets play courtside against the Warriors last week, I have to say that I was really impressed with how well they played.

What impressed me the most was how tough they played. They did a good job on the glass and battled for 48 minutes. They didn't back down against the champs when playing on their turf.

Personnel wise, the Nuggets have a solid backcourt led by Emmanuel Mudiay and Gary Harris as well as a quality frontcourt featuring Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic, Mason Plumlee, and Kenneth Faried.  In their 108-102 win over the Warriors, Millsap started a bit slow but found his groove, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds on 7-11 shooting from the field and 4-6 shooting from three-point range. Emmanuel Mudiay finished with 19 points and 4 assists on 6-10 shooting from the field, putting together a very quality game of his own.

While the Nuggets haven't made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season, I have a feeling that this might be the season they get back there. They have a quality core and a head coach in Michael Malone who seems to know what he's doing. He has them competing and playing as a team.

To a certain extent, my high hopes for the Nuggets is a gut thing. The sample size is too small for it to be anything more than that. That said, Paul Millsap does have a track record of making teams he plays on better than they were before he got there. He helped the Utah Jazz become a consistent playoff team and he helped the Atlanta Hawks reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Millsap is a really good guy to build around and the Nuggets really do appear to have the pieces around him to be successful.

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