Things are starting to take shape...
Fortunately, it’s not whatever terrifying shape that is, but if the gold and blue above is the stuff that you see in your dreams, run like hell. If the gold and blue you’re dreaming about recently had a little deep red added to it, you’re in the right place. For your Denver Nuggets, the dream is becoming reality, and things are slowly getting a little less amorphous.
This week, the Nuggets cleared up the picture of the upcoming season a bit further, with signings and Summer League insights. A few of the moves were utterly unsurprising, like locking up Nikola Jokic for the next five seasons with the richest contract in team history at 148 million dollars. They’ve also signed Will Barton, Torrey Craig, and Michael Porter Jr. for a few seasons each as well. Heck, even second round pick Jarred Vanderbilt is inked for the next few years, though he probably won’t see much time on the court this season, if at all.
On the court, Summer League also brought a couple bits of clarity. Much of the Summer League roster is there to find lightning in a bottle, but a few players are the focus of attention, as they’re on the fringe of the 15 who start the season. Of those, Monte Morris made a compelling case for a spot on the roster as the backup point guard, averaging 17.5 points in 27.8 minutes, with a 50.5% field goal percentage and 6.25 assists over those four games. Vlatko Cancar was hot in all but the last game of the four, and caught a lot of attention from Nuggets Nation with his play. Malik Beasley got off to a bumpier beginning than anyone had hoped for a third season’s start, but still averaged a respectable 16 points in 28.6 minutes over the three games he played. The downside was the energy it took to get those points, on 38.4% shooting. Maybe the picture isn’t perfectly clear just yet, only coming into shape.
With the probability that 10 guys (plus a few covering injuries) will take most of next season’s minutes, here’s the shape of today’s Nuggets if they took the floor, as-is:
Point Guard - Jamal Murray, Morris, Barton
Shooting Guard - Gary Harris, Craig, Beasley
Small Forward - Barton, Craig, Juancho Hernangomez, Porter Jr. (if healthy)
Power Forward - Paul Millsap, Mason Plumlee, Trey Lyles, Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, Tyler Lydon, Antonio McDyess’ patellar tendon, My Cousin Vinnie, and hopefully never ever the guy leading the next list
Center - Jokic, Plumlee, Thomas Welch
It’s not too difficult to see where there may still be an extra head or three attached to the current list
I was seven the first time I saw that movie. A story for another day.
As to the part of the list that looks like such an outcropping, it will be interesting to see what the Nuggets front office still intends to do about it. The starting five appear to be set, and the picture behind them is slowly taking shape. There will either be trades or stretch provisions made at the four, or a few guys on that list will need a support group. Over a short stretch of Summer League games, Morris looked like a player who could reliably man the backup point guard role, and Craig’s return bodes well for shoring up the wings. Many feel that Denver could use another potent backcourt player, as Ryan Blackburn covered beautifully in yesterday’s mailbag.
As of today, that main 10 shapes up to be Murray, Morris, Harris, Craig, Barton, Hernangomez, Millsap, Lyles, Jokic, and Plumlee. Does that work for you, Nuggets Nation? Are you ready to go with this group, or are we still a move or two away?
Murray, Morris, Harris, Craig, Barton, Hernangomez, Millsap, Lyles, Jokic, and Plumlee. That makes me feel...
This poll is closed
Great. That should get us into the playoffs.
Good. A couple of unknown quantities in there it would be nice to feel surer about.
We need another move.
We need a couple more moves.
None of the above.