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Stiffs Roundtable: Best and Worst of the Preseason

In this week's Roundtable, the Stiffs discuss the best and worst of the first two preseason games as well as something to look forward to in tonight's matchup against the Chicago Bulls

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Stiffs Roundtable is a weekly series where members of our staff share their thoughts on the latest Nuggets buzz.

After a pair of preseason games there have been good moments and teachable ones for the Denver Nuggets.  As they head into their next matchup against the Chicago Bulls, which moments stand out - and what new ones do we want to see tonight? Here's this week's Denver Stiffs Roundtable!

What player has impressed you the most through two games of pre-season basketball?

Russ Hamilton (@rscotham): King Joffrey Lauvergne. The obvious answer here is Mudiay, but Joff has carried over his impressive play from both SL and FIBA. He looks to be in Herculean shape, his stroke looks smoother than last season, and I absolutely love the fire he displays on the court. In these two games, he’s shown himself to be the best candidate to replace Nurkic during the latter’s injury recovery.

Adam Mares (Adam_Mares): It’s gotta be Joffrey Lauvergne. He’s been very impressive in the areas that we expected (hustle and rebounding) but it’s been his ability to put points on the board that has impressed so far.  If his shooting stroke is as consistent throughout the season as it has been for 2 preseason games, he’ll be a very solid rotation piece and could be the answer at center while Nurkic is out.

Gordon Gross (@GMoneyNuggs): Since everybody else went with the kingly Frenchman, I’ll take Emmanuel Mudiay.  Some of his turnovers are beastly, but he never hangs his head.  He’s always learning on the court and getting better as the game progresses. His court vision is going to be a huge boon to this team, but he’s not afraid to take shots either.  Malone is working on getting him comfortable taking shots out of timeouts or at the end of quarters, and Mudiay is obliging him - with a better stroke than he was given credit for to boot.  If you’re dreaming that Mudiay is a future All-Star, then he’s not dissuading you with his preseason flashes, even with the early turnover issues.

What player has disappointed you the most?

Hamilton: I haven’t been really disappointed in anyone (you can’t be disappointed in someone if you don’t expect them to do anything. I’m looking at you, JJ). If I have to pick one player, though, I would guess Erick Green not showing anything at all in his limited minutes is slightly disappointing.

Mares: Probably Kenneth Faried.  His effort was there in the 2nd game and it looks like he truly is committed to just doing the things that he is good at, i.e. attacking the glass and hustling on both ends of the court.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t been very effective on the defensive end of the court and in the last game, the Mavericks kept putting him in pick and rolls knowing that he’d be an easy target.  It’s only been two games and Faried missed a significant portion of training camp due to leg cramps but I was hoping we’d see a little bit more productivity out of Faried. So far, that hasn’t been the case.

Gross: Nobody has really disappointed me - even Hickson has simply lived down to my expectations for him. I’m with Russ, I’d like to see more of Erick Green, but as soon as Mike Miller gets floor time even the bare slice he’s managed to get so far will disappear.   I guess I’ll go Randy Foye, since he’s put up 6 and 3 points respectively in 36 combined minutes during the two preseason games, and that’s pretty much his only job on the court.  If he’s not gonna score, then Harris and Barton can split his minutes. Long way to go yet, though.

What are you looking for in tonight’s game against the Chicago Bulls?

Hamilton: In the first two games, Mudiay has come out looking to hit a lot of home run passes, and it has led to a lot of early turnovers. He’s settled down in both games to have very solid to really good second halves. I want to see him come out of the gate with that controlled play we’ve seen late in the first two games.

Mares: Besides my guy, Fred Hoiberg? I want to see if Danilo Gallinari continues to get the ball to start the offense. Gallo loves to be the go-to option as a playmaker and against the Mavericks, he was put in that position a lot.  He made several great plays and was on pace in the first half for a triple double.  This could be a big year for Gallo, especially if the Nuggets continue to give him a lot of freedom on offense.

Gross: Kenneth Faried versus Joakim Noah should be good entertainment.  Noah might get under Lauvergne’s skin as well if they’re matched up enough.  Really, I’d like to see us come out against a scrappy playoff team and play 4 solid quarters of basketball.  The Clippers got the jump on us, and the Mavericks weren’t anywhere near full strength.  The Bulls are a better test even without Derrick Rose - and when do they ever have Rose, really?  Their new, quick offensive sets under Hoiberg should also be more challenging for our fledging defense. Let’s see some more steps taken on both ends of the court.