99% of the Nuggets related articles that I write are posted to DenverStiffs.com. On rare occasions, I'll write an article on another site for which i am a contributor. That was the case this morning, as I published a 3000 word deep dive on the Nuggets four young, promising players; Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic, and Jusuf Nurkic. Click here to read THE POCKET PASS: THE DENVER NUGGETS YOUTH MOVEMENT.
The article is quite long and thorough with advanced stats, video breakdowns, and an overall analysis of these players' strengths and weaknesses. I'd be remiss if I didn't share those same thoughts with the most die-hard Nuggets fans on the internet-Denver Stiffs readers. Additionally, I figured I'd add a few clips that were left on the cutting room floor.
Gary Harris and Will Barton are too small for big guards who can post up.
In the article I mentioned how Harris struggles in the post against long wings like Andrew Wiggins and Kobe Bryant. In the video below, you can see how Harris and Barton both give up length on defense. The return of Wilson Chandler will certainly help mitigate that issue but as great as Harris is defensively, his impact on the defensive end might be diminished when the Nuggets face a team with length at the shooting guard spot.
Emmanuel Mudiay gets blown by on defense
In the article I theorize that one of the over-arching weaknesses in Mudiay's game is his lack of conditioning and explosiveness. This is a great weakness to have as a 19 year old rookie since a full summer of intense training can greatly improve both. In the clip below, notice how Mudiay takes a second to relax and catch his breath on defense but that little lapse causes him to get beat to the basket. In the 2nd clip, Mudiay's feet are too slow and the opposing guard collapses the defense, creating an open corner three.
Harris has a quick trigger
Gary Harris has really improved his confidence and his willingness to take quick, open three-pointers. If he can keep up his accuracy and willingness to shoot quickly when open, he will develop a lot of gravity, pulling defenders further and further from the painted area.
Example of Harris' great cutting instincts and timing
I love the cut in the clip below. Harris holds his position out on the wing just long enough for Gallo to read the defense and once the defense has over-committed to the trap, Harris slides right into the open space for a wide open short jumper. Harris is a phenomenal cutter and makes several reads like this every single game. He doesn't always receive the pass but his timing on his cuts opens up a lot of action for the Nuggets.
Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns
Just going to leave this per 36 minute production here for you to draw your own conclusions. Jokic has only played 30+ minutes three times all season. Coach Michael Malone seems content to keep his minutes low this season. Hopefully next year Jokic will move into a consistent high 20's, low 30's minute per game player.
Andre Drummond and Jusuf Nurkic
In the article I also compared Nurkic to Drummond, a comp that is very favorable for Nurkic. Nurkic doesn't have the athleticism that Drummond has (Drummond is one of the greatest athletes for his size that I have ever seen) but Nurkic has the strength to do many of the same things that Drummond does out of pick and roll. You can see that the biggest challenge for Nurkic to have the same impact as Drummond is to improve his finishing around the rim.