It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to communicate my thoughts about the Denver Nuggets on the Stiffs’ page, and I’ve truly missed it. Summertime brings surprises in my industry, and after falling off the grid with work for a few weeks I’m back.
I know you missed me.
After the Nuggets’ stellar off-season performance, I’ve had a little time to think about what the new season will bring, and there are definitely some things I’m very excited to see.
Apart from the good-guys back on the court together, I’m particularly interested in seeing the changes that have been made that will hopefully bring a post-season appearance for the Nuggets after such a long drought.
Let’s dive in.
Poise under pressure
One of the characteristics of an NBA team who regularly makes it to the second and third round of the playoffs is poise. What I mean by that is the ability to lock in when things get tough and push through adversity. Typically, poise comes with experience—and not just experience with losing. This important skill is developed by repeated exposure to conquering challenges to the point where you know the path to take when things get sticky.
In my opinion, ditching the baby-blue uniforms this season has been emblematic for the Nuggets. They’ve come of age, and they can no longer rely on being young as an excuse to not get the job done. (I’m not suggesting they have, but I know that many people including myself have given them a break due to their age.)
This season, they’re now mature and experienced professionals who have the necessary exposure to take the Nuggets to the playoffs—no excuses.
Consistency at the point
Jamal Murray has done an incredible job stepping into the role as the starting point guard for the Nuggets in a very short time. He is and will be a very special player for the Nuggets organization for many years, and he finally has the help he needs off the bench. Considering that Isaiah Thomas was a star guard in the league just a couple of short seasons ago, it’s safe to say the Nuggets will not only be able to maintain when the starting unit isn’t on the court, but they may even be able to improve their position. This will hopefully prevent the first unit from having to dig out of trenches every time they step back onto the court.
Thomas has made it clear that he intends to work toward the starting role, and I look forward to a bit of healthy competition between he and Murray as the season kicks off. There’s nothing like a little internal competitive motivation to keep the team working toward wins. Regardless of who starts, and who comes off the bench, I’m just glad to see some depth stability in the Nuggets’ back court.
Now, let me first be realistic. I understand that Micheal Porter Jr is only a rookie, but I can’t be more thrilled that the Nuggets drafted a two-way player who will bring a defensive focus to the team. The Boston Celtics have quietly assembled their empire by selecting defensive-minded players, and along with the Golden State Warriors, they’ve
shown us all that just like your grandpa has said for years, defense wins championships.
The Nuggets aren’t going to be bringing home a championship any time soon, but perhaps with Paul Millsap back and healthy for the start of the season, they will set themselves up for a playoff appearance early-on through defensive focus early-on.
Time will tell how our Nuggets perform this year, but there is plenty to look forward to as the final weeks of summer draw to a close.