Denver Nuggets 106, Philadelphia 76ers 98
Brooklyn Nets 116, Denver Nuggets 111
Washington Wizards 92, Denver Nuggets 85
Denver Nuggets 121, Orlando Magic 113
ESPN (Marc Stein)
Last week: 23
Is rebounding overrated? The 9-15 Nuggets are making that case as the league's No. 1 team on the boards, hauling in 54 percent of available rebounds. Denver last led the league in rebounding in 1992-93, when Dikembe Mutombo was the interior anchor in the Mile High air. Speaking of famous former Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony will be back in Denver come Saturday looking for his first win at the Pepsi Center as a visitor. Since being traded to New York in 2011, Melo's Knicks are 0-4 in Denver, with Anthony having played in three of those games.
Sport’s Illustrated (John Schuhmann)
Last week: 22
The Nuggets are not that good, but this whole bottom tier of teams has been so downright awful lately that this part of the exercise is more a matter of preference. There are a few Nuggets positives: they lead the entire league in rebounds and rebound percentage, nabbing 54.1% of available boards and working both ends of the glass exceptionally well. There are young guys with a chance to be pretty good—Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay were solid prospects, neither is of legal drinking age. Wilson Chandler has bounced back fully from injury, and Nikola Jokic has looked more like last year’s player (13 points/9.1 boards/3.9 assists in his last seven should assuage some early concerns).
Obviously, little of this has translated into wins. They turn the ball over a lot and don’t force many turnovers themselves, which has a lot to do with the youth of the backcourt, but also speaks to the personnel—there’s not a name on the roster you’d really label as “defensive-minded.” Maybe Gary Harris. They’re also 3–7 at home. Maybe it’s the altitude. Much of the Nuggets commotion (if you can call it that) has stemmed more from an overloaded roster than anything else. Armchair GMs have been trading Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried for two years, and you can add Chandler to that mix. But the presence of the sorts of guys you could conceivably plug into and improve Contender X does not a contender make.
But those sorts of guy can contribute to perception. If they’re sort of on the verge of should-be eight-seed territory, is it okay for Denver to wind back up picking in the (currently good-looking) lottery? The answer is yes: literally every key player will be back on the books next season save for Gallinari, who has a player option. Should the team be playing better? That’s more debatable. But the point is this: with a host of manageable contracts and vets to eventually trade, the Nuggets do have some flexibility to cushion the patience they’ll need to sift through the development of all these first-rounders. The difference between bottoming all the way out and being patient with mediocrity isn’t as rigid as critics think. Did the Sixers going full-tank ruin the way we think about every rebuilding team for the next decade? Really, no two processes are alike.
NBA (Jeremy Woo)
Last week: 26
The Nuggets have had an interesting road trip to say the least. They had a brutal start (trailing by 29 at one point) in Brooklyn on Wednesday and a brutal finish (four points and nine turnovers in their final 21 possessions) in Washington on Thursday. Kenneth Faried was DNP-CD'd in that Washington loss, but came back to score 19 points and grab 10 rebounds off the bench in Saturday's win in Orlando. With one more game left on the trip, they're a plus-55 with Jameer Nelson on the floor and a minus-49 with Emmanuel Mudiay on the floor through the first five games.
CBS Sports (Matt Moore)
Last week: 24
This road trip vs. the dregs of the Eastern Conference represented an opportunity for Denver to find itself, bond, and get it together. Instead the Nuggets faced frustratingly mixed results. A new starting lineup is in place, but the results are mixed. It's not bad enough to force major changes, not good enough to feel like momentum is building. They are, as seemingly always, stuck in purgatory.
The Denver Nuggets have too many players
An in-depth look at each position on the team
Jameer Nelson is the leader the Denver Nuggets need
The veteran PG has become one of the Nuggets most important players
The Denver Nuggets are blowing their best opportunity to contend
Winning isn’t just about being good; it’s about capitalizing on opportunities when they present themselves.
Emmanuel Mudiay should have a smaller role with the Nuggets
Mudiay’s lack of development at this point is concerning
The Denver Nuggets have an Emmanuel Mudiay problem
The sophomore point guard is struggling this season
NBA Rookie Ladder
Jamal Murray sits in fourth place
Zach Lowe: 10 things I like and don’t like
Lowe likes that Jamal Murray wants the ball
Ankle issues behind him, Will Barton once again flying high
Barton rebounding from ankle injury