Nuggets fans, we are less than one week away from meaningful basketball games! "It's time to diiiig in!" There is of course the small pesky matter of the final pre-season game...
Who: Denver Nuggets (4-2) at Utah Jazz (2-4)
When: 7PM MDT on Thursday October 22, 2016
Where: Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City
How to watch: Prospects are slim as neither Altitude or ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain will be broadcasting the game. An internet stream or a $300 round trip ticket to Salt Lake City are likely the only options tonight.
Opposition's take: SLC Dunk
What to watch for:
1) One game to win the roster spot - With one final game in the preseason, Erick Green and Nick Johnson know that one of them is hitting the unemployment line very soon, save for an out of the blue J.J. Hickson trade (please Tim Connelly, please!). In this humble writer's opinion Green has had the stronger preseason of the two and deserves the spot. Yet as we have discussed here at Stiffs, financially speaking it makes more sense to keep Johnson as the two years remaining on his contract are guaranteed. $1.8 million is the approximate additional cost for keeping Green, not big money in the NBA world but $1.8 million is still $1.8 million. I'd say Green is going to have to be very good in order to overcome the financials, but if he lights it up tonight he'll certainly give Connelly something to think about.
2) Dress rehearsal - The Nuggets haven't played since Sunday, and even then they rested guys. In fact, virtually every regular rotation player has only played one game in the past week as all of them either sat out the Oklahoma City Thunder game or the Phoenix Suns game. With 6 days to rest before the start of the regular season, tonight is the night to get a look at what your regular rotation will be going into the season and how they perform in extended minutes with one another. Look for Danilo Gallinari, Emmanuel Mudiay, Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried to log a sizeable amount of minutes tonight. Additionally, pay attention to the position battle at the 2 between Gary Harris and Will Barton.
3) The young Jazz - Utah brings an intriguing roster into the 2015-2016 season. Their starting lineup is laden with young talent, but outside of the also young Rodney Hood and Trey Lyles there's not much to talk about from the Jazz bench. I was higher on them prior to Dante Exum tearing his ACL, which has left the keys to the offense in the hands of Trey Burke though admittedly he's been playing pretty well this preseason. With guys like Lyles, Hood, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks there's plenty of reason to be bully on the future for the Jazz. I'm looking forward to seeing the two young rosters of these divisional rivals go at one another.