Media day is just 3 days away and with it comes the new NBA season. We’re still a week away from the first pre-season game and four weeks away from the start of the regular season but for die-hard NBA fans, media day is the day it all begins. Media day is the day that it is finally okay to start getting excited about the upcoming season. Sure the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies get center stage, as the former continues their undefeated streak and the latter tries to hold on to a playoff spot, but Monday marks the day the Nuggets join the fray.
To help get you excited for Monday, here are 10 things to look forward to when the Denver Nuggets and the Denver media meet up at Pepsi Center.
10. The band is back
The first and most obvious reason to be excited for media day is because it’s great to just see everyone again. It’s been five long months since the Denver Nuggets have all been together in the same room and in front of the television cameras. The team isn’t annoyed of the media (yet), the media isn’t asking horrible questions (yet), and everyone is happy and optimistic.
It’s like the first day of school without the school part. Or like the first day of Bonnaroo. Everyone is happy to see everyone else and share in the excitement of whatever lies ahead. In a weird way, media day provides a nice perspective on an NBA season. During the season we often get lost in the weeds, mad about a tough loss or nervous about a tight playoff race. But media day is all about the pure joy and excitement of being a Denver Nuggets fan, free from all of the warts.
9. New faces speak for the first time
The Denver Nuggets have five new faces on the roster. Paul Millsap, Tyler Lydon, Trey Lyles, Monte Morris, and Torrey Craig. Denver Stiffs spoke with both Morris and Lydon very briefly at Las Vegas Summer League but media day will be the first chance to really get to know them in a more casual and laid back setting. I’m especially excited to talk to Torrey Craig. Craig is the feel-good story of the Nuggets this preseason, a guy that never gave up on his NBA dream and now, at age 26, he gets his chance.
8. Who gained 15 pounds of muscle?
One of the best parts of media day around the league is finding out who gained 15 pounds of muscle, added a three-point shot to their game, is in the best shape of their life, or is willing to do whatever coach wants. There are soooooo many tropes that are recycled every year that it is impossible to know which ones are true and which ones are embellished.
For some guys, off-season transformations really are easy to spot. Gary Harris came into training camp his sophomore season looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jusuf Nurkic entered camp last season looking noticeably thinner. So there’s always some truth to the many stories you hear from players about their incredible off-season work ethic. But if Mason Plumlee starts talking about how he added a crossover step-back jumper then we’ll know we’ve reached peak media day.
7. Some new threads
You might’ve heard but the Denver Nuggets got some new jerseys. Three new jerseys, to be exact, with a fourth one being revealed sometime during the season. We’ve seen a handful of photos already from the jersey reveal event and from the Nuggets social media accounts but tomorrow we’ll get to see the team modeling the new unis up close and in person, and a chance to hear what they think of them. Word is Gary Harris, a Michigan State alumnus, isn’t too keen on wearing Michigan Wolverine colors like the new Nuggets “Statement” jersey!
6. You learn things
Two seasons ago, in head coach Michael Malone’s first press conference he revealed that Nurkic was not fully recovered from his off-season knee surgery and the first signs of some trouble behind the scenes began to surface between those two. Malone seemed noticeably disappointing in the slow recovery time for Nurkic and fans were hit with the fact that Nurkic would likely miss games at the start of the season. Hopefully this year whatever news is broken is positive news.
5. We get to find out who has been dominating the pickup games
One of the questions I’m most eager to ask is how everyone has looked in the team’s pre-camp pickup games that have been going on at Pepsi Center over the last few weeks. Whenever you ask these types of questions to multiple people on the team, you tend to get a lot of overlapping answers. So just asking who has stood out will likely provide a tiny insight into who might tuns heads once real practice and preseason games begin.
4. Can I get some Jokic in my life?
Nikola Jokic remains an enigma. For a large portion of the offseason, Nuggets fans didn’t have an update on the 22-year old prodigy that might eventually vault into the discussion for greatest Nuggets player of all time. Jokic doesn’t use social media very often. He seems to hate having his picture taken. Besides a few photos of him throwing a tire around in an empty field, we didn’t really get a great look at what has been going on with Joker for the summer. That all ends on Monday as he’ll be the center of attention, answering questions about his newly acquired horse, his off-season in Serbia, and whether or not he thinks he is ready to be the leader of this team.
Funny story. Last year at media day, Jokic wasn’t the main focus. Danilo Gallinari was, as he was the team’s best player entering camp. So too was Wilson Chandler who was returning from a season missed to hip surgery. But Jokic was a bit of an after thought. I approached Jokic, who was standing alone at the top of the key on the practice court and asked if I could interview him for a few minutes. He looked at me and said “If I make this shot, I don’t have to.” Of course it was a swish. Fortunately, Joker still gave me five minutes of his time.
3. Malone will probably reveal the main focus for training camp
Spoiler alert: it’ll be defense. But more specifically, coach Malone is often very interesting and insightful with the media. Media day begins with his opening press conference and in it he is sure to talk about what changes he sees the team making on the offensive and defensive end. He’ll likely tip his hand about a few of the key things that are on his mind as the team enters this exciting year. And those talking points will likely form the basis of discussion and observation over the course of the next few weeks.
2. We are trying out some new content ideas
We love media day here at Stiffs. Every year we try to provide fans with full access to all of the stuff going on, from quotes, to photos, to live streams and more. This year we’re continuing to try new things. We’ll have three Stiffs on the ground at Pepsi Center as well as the help of our good friend, Chad Andrus. New social media coordinator, Jeremy Poley is also bringing his video equipment and expertise to help us bring new video content to the site. It should be a fun day for us to experiment.
1. What do the Denver Nuggets have in store for us this year?
This isn’t just any ol’ season. This is a HUGE season for the Denver Nuggets. After 4 years of a rebuild that has tested the patience of some Denver sports fans, the Nuggets appear to be poised to make the leap into the playoffs and to continue climbing the ladder of NBA supremacy. In so many ways this season feels like the start of a new era. There are new jerseys, new star players, and a new style of play.
To make things even better, this is a special year for the Nuggets organization. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Denver Nuggets and the team has hinted at several surprises throughout the year, likely including a celebration of the great teams and players of the last 50 years. It’s been hinted at that players like Alex English, Dan Issel, Fat Lever, and other greats of years past will be celebrating a half century of blue and gold.
Before last season, it had been awhile since Alex English was cheered on the court here in Denver. That moment was special. So too was the moment that the Nuggets raised Dikembe Mutombo’s jersey into the rafters. This season should feature many more of those moments. This appears to be the year the Nuggets connect the dots between the past, present, and future and I am incredibly excited for whatever the team has planned for us all.