In addition to being one of Denver’s oldest and more recognizable neighborhoods, Five Points wraps around Coors Field and stretches across the RiNo (River North) district, the stomping grounds of Denver Stiff’s own Andy Feinstein. But this is not a tour of Denver neighborhoods, and these five points more a quintet of early Nuggets observations.
Point #1 - Put down the rabbit, Lenny
Be a little more careful with what you’re bringing up the court, dear Nuggets. The turnovers are an albatross the team must shed, with 50 lost possessions in the first three games. Let’s take this in baby steps, gents. You can’t score it if you can’t keep it. And it’s not as if you are out of these games, so even a slight tilt of that stat could be reaping huge rewards.
Point #2 – Rotation motation
Michael Malone is dialing it in in the early going, and the topic of late-game rotations has been on fan’s minds. With the early injury to starter Gary Harris, things have been a bit out-of-plan thus far, but that should be remedied soon. That said, there are a few wrinkles to be ironed out in the new scheme with and without Harris, so there’s no time like the present to dig in and do the work needed to gel as a squad. Some of that work is already paying off, as Malone’s desire to improve at three-point defense is off to a decent start. Nuggets opponents are hitting .254 from beyond the arc this season, tied for the second-lowest percentage in the league. Adding on, the Nuggets are middle of the pack in opponents’ overall field goal percentage as well. Yes, it’s early. But the improving defense is off to a decent start, gents.
Point #3 – We’re due, due, due
No, the Nuggets will (quite probably) not be getting sized for rings this year, but they’re in the enviable position of taking a lot of talent forward over the next several years. Writing this paragraph as I watch a different professional sports franchise break a 108-year championship drought, I simultaneously celebrated a few good friends’ joy and quickly pictured how that day will feel as a Nuggets fan. Denver is enjoying its 50th season of the Nuggets/Rockets franchise, and no one in Nuggets Nation wants to stretch this streak to Cubs-ian length. If we do, I need to change my diet and exercise cycle to get into my 100’s. One of the early stats shining rays of hope for the upcoming season and hopefully a shorter trek to "someday" is the Nuggets rebounding out of the gates, a league-leading 55 boards a game.
Point #4 – It’s five points
The win that kicked off the season was a bit of a squeaker at the end, a five-point victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Any victory on the road is a good one, but the Pelicans have yet to notch a "W" four games in. Though every game has been close, the Nuggets margin for error is perilously thin at this point, if they plan to get more wins on the board this season. While the defense has been improving, the offense needs to get to be more efficient soon. The Nuggets field goal percentage is .409 over the first three games, second-worst in the league.
Point #5 – No, seriously… it’s five points
Though the Nuggets are 1-2, they have been in all three to the very end. Another five (or six) points in those last two games would have Denver at 3-0 in this young season. Three less turnovers. Or raising that field goal average from .409 to .420. It’s very small things. And where better to have a .420 shooting percentage than in Colorado? Keep getting a little bit better, Denver Nuggets. You’re very close.
It’s just five points.