The Stiffs Mailbag is here and you guys brought the heat with these questions. From Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray’s start the season all the way to second unit talk. We discussed a lot of items in this weeks mailbag, so let’s dive in and take a look!
Should it be okay for Jamaal and Jokic to disappear for stretches of a game? At this point in their careers (and how much $ they are making), should we expect more? I was at the game last night, and both of them had stretches where they were barely noticeable on the court.— Matt Sparks (@SparksMatt) October 30, 2019
It is still early in the season, but at this point in their careers, Jokic and Murray should be contributing a lot more consistently. Murray has usually started the year slow, but for Jokic it has been the opposite. Jokic has often started the season strong, so what’s going on to start this year is all the more alarming.
Jokic is coming off performances of just nine, 10, and 13 points, which is not a stat you want to see from your best offensive player. Now, Jokic did have a triple-double in the Dallas game, but it was not one that had a major impact on the outcome.
For Murray, he is not scoring as efficiently as you would want, but he does have games of 14, 14, 19, 18, and 27 points, which is certainly something you can not look over. Murray is shooting just 41 percent from the field and 30 percent from three, which are numbers that certainly have to increase as the season to roll on.
So to answer your question, yes and no. The. Nuggets go as Jokic and Murray go and right now, neither of them are doing that consistently. It will be important for Jokic to bounce back moving forward and for Murray to continue to try and find that consistent efficiency on a nightly basis. If Jokic and Murray can do that, the Nuggets are going to win a lot of games.
Is Gary Harris the (way too) early MVP of this team?— Marketed Targeting (@Mark_Mutombo) October 30, 2019
I would agree with that Gary Harris has been solid to start the season. Not only is Harris averaging 12.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game, but he is complimenting that with his play defensively. Harris has essentially shut down every player he has guarded this season and is elevating the rest of the Nuggets defense when he is on the floor, with the outlier being Thursday night against the Pelicans.
It should also be mentioned that Will Barton III has also had a tremendous start to the season and could easily be the Nuggets MVP through five games. Barton is averaging 14 points and 6.5 rebounds per game so far this season and really seems to have his explosiveness back, which could be huge in the Nuggets success moving forward.
How many fair weather fans or people that don't 'get it', will be critical today about the loss? Blame the coach for not playing guys 4 games in?? I'm seeing a lot on Nuggets Nation fan page & I'm smh!— Seansky18 (@Seansky17) October 30, 2019
Things are almost never good with a fan base when there is a loss. A team could be 30-0 and finally lose a game, and there would almost always be something that comes into question. I think the key thing to remember is this season is still incredibly young and losses are going to happen.
It is pretty much impossible to put together a perfect NBA season and losses are just a part of it. Sports are so unpredictable, yet it’s hard not to overreact whenever something is not going your way. I am here to calm your nerves, Nuggets Nation. Losses are going to come and when they do, take them with a grain of salt and hope for the best going forward.
Monte Morris (DefRating 108.8, Net -12.4)— Nikola Brkušanin (@brkus_) October 30, 2019
Malik Beasly (DefRating 114.8, Net -11.5)
Mason Plumlee (DefRating 112.9, Net -12.1)
Nikola Jokic (DefRating 97.6, Net +9.9)
This is over first 4 games. If we take past playoffs also, why do people say that Denver has good bench?
Denver has a good bench because when you compare it to almost any team around the NBA, the Nuggets bench is truly elite. They have a backup center in Mason Plumlee that would start on some NBA teams, and the exact same thing can be said for Malik Beasley, Monte Morris, Jerami Grant, Torrey Craig, and Michael Porter Jr.
The key for the Nuggets bench to be successful is they have to take advantage of the limited minutes they are given, and that is not something they did well in the Mavericks or Pelicans games. When you look across the board, the Nuggets bench is a mismatch on a nightly basis, but not when they don’t take advantage of it properly.
There is also a lot of untapped potential on the Nuggets bench in Porter Jr., Juancho Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt, PJ Dozier, Vlatko Cancar, and even Bol Bol. Very few teams around the league can compete with that depth, which is why Denver’s bench is classified as being so strong.
Is Jokic any more out of shape than he's ever been, or is this mini-slump just a brain thing?— Curtis (@RebrandNuggets) October 31, 2019
I would say it is just a mini-slump because Nikola Jokic has been pretty consistent throughout his entire career. Jokic certainly has not started the year on a great note, but the Nuggets have played just five games and there is still a ton of season left.
Jokic is also coming off a summer in with he played a pivotal role on Serbia’s World Cup team. Not using that as an excuse, but Jokic was playing in some very intense games just weeks before Nuggets training camp began.
With all the training that went into playing in a World Cup, we could be seeing the after effects here early in the season. Sometimes you just need a break and Jokic did not get one this offseason, and one is not coming anytime soon.