The Denver Nuggets opened up the regular season with a bang by going 2-0 on the week and remaining on pace for an 82-0 season. Good odds down in Vegas on that if you like living dangerously. The Nuggets also stayed healthy throughout their first week which is probably the best thing to happen given they weren’t afforded the same luxury last season. All in all a big week for highlights, podcasts and fun.
Nuggets open season 2-0
Denver opened the season on the road in Portland against the Trail Blazers and avenged some of the demons from last year’s playoffs. Despite getting three fouls in the first four minutes of the game and sitting for the rest of the first half, Nikola Jokic dominated the fourth quarter and carried the Nuggets to a win.
Denver followed up with the home opener on Friday. First of all hats off to the arena production team. The Nuggets busted out the LED wristbands again which are a really cool concept but they also upped the holograph projection game, adding some vertical shades to project on as well as the court. Just a really great presentation all around.
Pretty sweet effects for the intro tonight pic.twitter.com/b2KPZVSO3J— Denver Stiffs (@denverstiffs) October 26, 2019
The game itself didn’t go probably as all Nuggets fans had planned, with the team shooting an abysmal percentage from the floor in the first half and spotting the Suns a double digit lead at times, but the Nuggets proved to have what it took to get the win by eventually outlasting the Suns in overtime behind a massive Torrey Craig block.
Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez go without extensions
The deadline for NBA teams to extend players wrapping up their rookie deals this season was October 21st. The Nuggets had three players under those circumstances coming into the year as a result of their 2017 three first round pick draft. They took care of Jamal Murray the very first moment they could back in July but Beasley and Hernangomez found themselves without extensions as the deadline passed last Monday. This means both players will become restricted free agents at season’s end. Restricted free agency means the Nuggets can match any offer either player gets in the open market, and they also can exceed the salary cap to re-sign them unlike other potential suitors. However, there will be economic challenges to retaining everyone and Tim Connelly will be taxed (pun intended) with some tough decisions.
Sources: Denver's Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez are not expected to reach agreements by 6 p.m. ET deadline. All sides showed effort in talks, and Nuggets were aggressive in making offers to find deals. Both talented young players are headed for RFA.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 21, 2019
Altitude to be streamed in local bars and restaurants
As the Altitude TV vs Big Three battle rages for what feels like the millionth week, the fans got some mixed news this week. No, there is not really any progress to report on the actual negotiations between Altitude TV and Comcast, Direct TV and Dish. Those three television broadcasters remain without the only network that carries the Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche in their lineup. However, President of Altitude Sports Matt Hutchings used the opportunity to update Nuggets fans during the home opener broadcast, which was simulcast on KTVD My 20 in Denver. It appears that the network ready to invest in an even greater broadcast experience for an improved product, but so far neither side is willing to budge on the price.
There was some good news to report however. Altitude has struck a deal with some of the local bars and restaurants to be able to legally stream the games. However, Matt Schubert from the Denver Post reported that the deal only lasts through the Nuggets game against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. Otherwise he reports that Altitude and the Big Three “remain in a standoff.”
Player of the Week: Nikola Jokic
Despite missing all but four minutes of the first half in the opener, Jokic wins player of the week going away. He still managed to put up 20 points and 13 rebounds on the Blazers and was the deciding factor in the victory. He followed it up with his first triple double of the season against the Suns, tallying 23 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists. He also had his first highlight reel pass of the season in overtime, finding Gary Harris in the corner with a no look beauty that has Devin Booker still looking for his shorts.
Fun moment of the week: Jokic watches 5 hours of Pokemon
We really truly are lucky that we get Jokic to root for. There couldn’t be a more unique, fun loving, totally not about building my brand superstar in the NBA than Joker. Last weekend the team had some time off before the season started in earnest. What did Jokic do? Well, let’s just say he’s a big fan of Pokemon.
We welcomed back The Dig fully this week with their first regular episode which you’ll be getting every Wednesday in addition to their mini series Breaking Basketball. A fun listen throughout the week starting with the Pickaxe Podcast previewing the season opener all the way through the Denver Stiffs Show reacting to the Nuggets win over Phoenix on Friday night.