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Preview: Denver Nuggets visit the Golden State Warriors in first preseason game

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We’re back!

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

We’re back, Nuggets Nation!

Denver Nuggets basketball is finally back. Tonight, the Nuggets are in Oakland to take on the reigning NBA champion, Golden State Warriors. For the Nuggets, it’s the first game since April 12th and the first game for a team that has made a few really important changes. Gone is Danilo Gallinari, the team’s leading scorer and face of the franchise for the last six years. In is Paul Millsap, the four-time all-star and defensive specialist.

For the Warriors, this is the first time back in front of the bay area fans since last June’s parade. Two years ago the Nuggets played at Oracle arena for the Warriors’ first home preseason game since winning the championship and the atmosphere was more like a playoff game than a preseason game. Tomorrow night will likely carry much less drama but for Nuggets fans, it signals the end of a long basketball drought.

The only problem is...you might not be able to watch it.

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets (0-0) at Golden State Warriors (0-0)
Where: Oracle arena, Oakland ,CA
When: 6:30 PM MT
How to watch: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Rival blog: Golden State of Mind

5 predictions for the game

Emmanuel Mudiay will shine

Word out of camp all week has been that Emmanuel Muiday is playing the best basketball of his career. He’s slimmed down and is in the best shape of his life and not just in the way that every player is (allegedly) in the best shape of their life during camp. Mudiay really does look noticeably different from last season. Hopefully the encouraging week translates into an impressive performance against one of the best point guards in the NBA.

Both teams will looks sluggish and sloppy

This will be the first season that I am not surprised by how sloppy preseason basketball is. Heck, the first two weeks of the regular season are usually pretty rugged. With just four days of practice under their belt, don’t expect either team to have crossed every t and dotted every lower-case j. There will likely be a lot of missed shots, missed cues, and a lot of sloppy basketball. That’s okay. We still have a lot to glean from the game.

Kenneth Faried will play limited minutes

Faried’s role on the team has been a hot topic this week as he has made it clear that he sees himself as a starter in this league and on this team. With the addition of Paul Millsap, it’s clear to everyone else that Faried will be coming off of the bench. The question is, in what role? At practice on Wednesday, head coach Michael Malone said that the backup power forward battle will be more about fit than talent and then went on to say that Trey Lyles really fits nicely with Mason Plumlee. So does that leave Faried out of the main rotation?

People will ask “who is #3?”

The answer is Torrey Craig, the former Australian NBL league MVP and the standout player at Las Vegas Summer League. Three months ago the Nuggets roster appeared crowded without room for relatively unknown players like Craig. But Craig balled out in Vegas. He looked like a stopper on defense, a hustler on both ends of the court, and a guy that at worst is not a liability on offense and at best is a reliable knockdown shooter, cutter, and finisher. He’s already earned rave reviews from Malone. Keep your eye out for him.

Nuggets fans will freak out

If the Nuggets play well, Nuggets fans will start deciding whether to have our championship parade down Broadway or down Speer. If Mudiay plays well fans will start casting their MVP ballots. And if Millsap and Jokic click, fans might start drawing up a Nuggets tattoo. If the Nuggets struggle, fans will start to question if Malone is the right guy, if Mudiay is a bust, or if Jokic is headed toward a third-year slump.

Its okay! Every die-hard is excited for this game and excited for this season. But tomorrow night’s game means almost nothing. It’s a glorified practiced that isn’t even televised here in Denver. Some shady backpage of the internet sites might have pirated streams, there’s Altitude radio, and of course, there’s twitter. But this game is more of a false start than a grand opening.

Still, it’s Nuggets basketball. Jokic will be out there. So will Jamal Murray. That’s good enough for me.