First things first: how excited are you about Paul Millsap joining the Nuggets? Feel free to use a former Nugget as scale - Kosta Koufos-level excitement or more Alex English?
Gordon Gross (@GMoneyNuggs): I’m gonna go with Chauncey Billups level excitement at the moment. Maybe some of that is simply the wait over the last 2 days to get something done, but Millsap was just about the final impact player on the market I expected Denver to be able to get, and snagging him really shores up so many things and provides a great veteran presence and a very under-rated talent for this team. Not having to add that fourth year to the deal really helps my opinion of it too.
Adam Mares (Adam_Mares): This is incredible. I still can’t believe it. Consider that a few hours ago I was mulling whether or not a 4 year max was worth it, and now Denver got him for 2 years plus a 3rd team option. This is perfect. Nuggets fans will love Millsap. He is the blue collar hard working guy a la Kenneth Faried, Chris Andersen, Ryan Bowen only he has all-star level talent. The only concern was his age and him getting 4 years but Denver found a perfect deal for him. This is a great day to be a Nuggets fan.
Evan Fiala (@eefiala): I feel like Malik Beasley on the bench right now. I’m freaking elated. It feels so, so good to finally have legit hope in Denver basketball again. The only thing I’m bummed about right now is that it’s barely July and I have to wait four months to see him play with Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and co. I’M PUMPED!!!
Would you rather have Millsap on this deal or one of the other available players Denver was not able to close (Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love or Paul George)?
Gross: With the other deals there would have been players going out, and the ability to sign another free agent. I’m still waiting to find out who might be coming back in that future consolidation deal to be able to judge the player pairing, but Paul Millsap might be a better fit than any of those players for what Denver needs. And I don’t think his age is an issue on the 2+1 deal.
Mares: It’s hard to compare those deals because they would’ve required trading players I really love, like Gary Harris and Juancho Hernangomez. The fact that Denver didn’t lose anybody in this deal is just amazing. I really like the core guys on this roster and they will be incredibly fun to root for.
Fiala: I think I like this deal the most because it just feels right. All those other guys are great players, but they also would have come in with some baggage and with controversy as trades would have been necessary, but then you see Millsap in a Nuggets jersey and it just makes sense. He’s not a player that requires a lot of fanfare, and I think Denver fans will come to love that about him.
The Nuggets have chosen to throw their hat in the ring and compete for playoff seeding in the incredibly-crowded West. Is that the best plan, or should they have torn it down and only played the rookie-contract guys while they build for the future?
Gross: I’ve said before that I think the Nuggets can compete now and later. They should be lining up 50-win years as they shape and reshape their roster around Jokic. There’s no law that says they have to wait 3 or 4 years to do that. Starting now is great in my book as long as it’s with the right investments, and I’m fine with Millsap helping Denver’s next playoff team. I wouldn’t mind relocating Denver to the East, though...
Mares: Of course this is the best plan. They have been climbing the standings for two seasons, now was not the time to step back. The West is as stacked as it has ever been but with some roster consolidation and maybe one more deal (George Hill, anyone?) and the sky is the limit.
Fiala: Yes. What good would it really do if guys like Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic can’t even get playoff experience? His veteran leadership, especially on defense, will be a huge difference maker as well. Tearing it down or playing the waiting game with Golden State would have been the worst move imaginable.
How happy are you with Millsap’s fit next to Denver’s future in Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic?
Gross: Millsap is a terrific defender without being the most athletic guy on the court. If anything can shape Jokic’s game and footwork over the next three years into being Gasol-like it should be playing next to Millsap. He should also help the backcourt make up for some of their defensive mistakes and work a nice pick-and-roll game with our young guards.
Mares: Near perfect. This isn’t hyperbole. It is rare to find a star with his talent that is also such a team player. Millsap can pass. He can shoot. He can post. He can defend the pick and roll like few forwards can. He hustles. He has a great attitude. He is perfect for Denver and will fit in well with the entire roster.
Fiala: What they said ^
How would you clear up the immense logjam at power forward that Denver now has with Millsap, Faried, Lyles, Lydon, Arthur and even some Wilson Chandler minutes there?
Gross: Is the wood chipper from Fargo available? I really don’t know. There’s either a significant trade or several smaller ones coming though. I think Chandler stays to split minutes at the 3 with Juancho Hernangomez and at the 4 with Millsap but after that it’s all up in the air for me.
Mares: This is the toughest obstacle still facing the Nuggets. If it were me, I would prioritize trading Faried, Darrell, Lydon, Nelson, and maybe Barton and look to add a point guard and small forward. But most of all, I hope they find the right mix of starters, becnh guys, and guys that aren’t upset if they won’t play. They already have 4 guys guaranteed to get big minutes in Millsap, Jokic, Chandler, and Harris and a handful of guys that should expect heavy minutes off of the bench in Murray, Barton, and hopefully Juancho. I’m not sure you need a bunch more talent, just consolidation to establish a pecking order.
Fiala: This is definitely where things get tricky. The only real solution is to just make it happen and hope to get a somewhat decent return while keeping the necessary depth. I’m not sure if Faried is the right guy to keep on the bench, so he will probably need to go for sure. Darrell Arthur’s days are probably over in Denver as well. Lyles could be a good backup forward to Millsap with Lydon waiting in the wings. Juancho will almost certainly get the call as well. Just cut some of the fat and things should work out.