You always know what you’re going to get from Will Barton. Heart. Hustle. Aggression. Competitiveness. Buckets. And always a great quote. “Thrill” is gifted with an ability to articulate things he’s seeing on the basketball court. Sometimes that is specific match-ups or keys to a game, other times that’s just giving the pulse of a team.
Tonight, after Gary Harris sat out giving Barton his first start of the season, Barton had a lot of great and insightful things to say about the state of the Denver Nuggets.
On Portland being a “homecoming.”
“Nothing anymore. That phase is over with...I don’t look at it that way anymore.”
On Jamal Murray’s defensive intensity affecting his shot
“I just feel like you’re going to play better if that is your approach. That’s been my approach this season too, just trying to come in and lock up on defense because the offense is going to take care of itself. You go out there worrying about defense showing that you are unselfish and caring about the team. So I feel like Jamal (Murray) is exerting a lot of energy on defense but I feel like that’s a good thing. But he’s young, he’ll be good. He’ll figure out how to, you know...’I’m exerting a lot of energy let me get my legs into this shot a little bit more than I would if I was 100% fresh.’ I like where his head is at, he’s going to be good.”
On Nikola Jokic’s tap pass
“I just know his game. I’ve been his teammate for awhile now. I know he’s always looking, even when he’s not looking. He sees you, he has a great feel for where everyone is and however he has to make the pass he’s going to make it.”
On if he gets tired and where his mindset is at right now
“I wasn’t tired at all. I’m just...my mindset is on a whole other level right now, man. I’m so excited to play basketball and I’m just so excited about this team. I just really think we can be good. I’m just focused on winning, winning, winning, so I don’t get tired. Like I said I’m in a whole other space and a whole other place right now and I’m just with it. Whatever it’s going to take I’m with it.”
On when he knew this team was going to be good
“I knew at the end of last year. And then once we signed Paul I was like ‘Yeah it’s really on now.’ We got a guy who’s used to winning. I feel like that was all we needed. That one piece that was going to calm us down and you could play through him, he’s unselfish, I mean, he just brings a lot to the table. Early in the season he’s just always talking to us. ‘Hey we’re going to win this game. Hey let’s do this, let’s do that.’ I mean, he’s just vital. And then with the talent we got and everyone growing up coming back with another year under their belt...we’re talented man.”
I knew it would come together. Like I said, we integrated Paul (Millsap). Wilson (Chandler) starting at a new position. Jamal is a new starter. So it’s going to take time and I feel like we’re starting to figure it out.
On whether or not he likes replacing Gary Harris in the starting lineup
“I try not to look at it that way. I want Gary back as soon as possible. He’s a vital piece to our team. What he brings defensively, the way he gets up and down the open court, the way he makes shots and he always makes the right play. So I want him back out there. I love playing with him and you always want your core to stay together. However long he’s out I’ll be ready to step up for him and have his back.”
Listen to the full audio below and go out and pick up your Barton jersey now!