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.
ESPN story on Gary Harris' lucrative contract extension with the Denver Nuggets. https://t.co/uDBn8vZdph— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 8, 2017
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