We are back for another week of the Denver Stiffs mailbag and this there is a lot to discuss about this Nuggets team. You guys brought the heat with the questions, so let’s get started!
What has been the biggest drag on Nuggs chemistry this year?: Adding a new player? Free agency this summer? Jokic seeming disinterested?— JPowski (@Joeski_Powpow) November 13, 2019
It is tough to put a finger on it, but this Nuggets team is not playing as free and loose like they were last season. Denver is struggling to score the basketball but has played well enough defensively for most of the season to overcome it.
If the Nuggets want to get back to playing like one of the best teams in the Western Conference, it has to start on the offensive end of the court. I don’t think adding any new players or free agency has anything to do with it and I truly think the Nuggets just have to find their identity for this year’s team.
Even though the Nuggets have a lot of the same players back, every year is different and we are seeing that through 11 games. The Nuggets still have done some really good things this year, and they are 8-3, which is really tough to complain about.
Does Joker really Love basketball? He has appeared disinterested at times— Amal Gumbs (@HomesbyAmal) November 13, 2019
Nikola Jokic has not had the best start to the season, but there is no reason to suggest he does not love basketball based on that start. Jokic had an incredibly busy summer after competing with Serbia in the World Cup and we could be witnessing the ramifications of that to start the season.
Jokic is still putting up solid numbers and has looked like his normal self in Denver’s last two games. The narrative that he does not love basketball or is disinterested is just not true and it is something he has squashed with his recent play.
why do they make me so sad?— (((the quid pro bro))) (@TheSunnyDe) November 13, 2019
why do I always buy in to this team?
It is the same for every fan with the team they root for. The same happens to me with every single Tennessee Titans game. Either the game is over and I think the Titans are a possible playoff team or I want them to fire head coach Mike Vrabel immediately.
The moral of that story is that fandom makes us sad, but it can also make us incredibly happy. You buy into this Nuggets team every year because you should, they are your favorite team and everyone wants their favorite team to be successful and win a championship.
Denver is 8-3 and still one of the best teams in the Western Conference, so there should be nothing to worry about and just enjoy the ride.
MPJ is the most talented scorer on the team, is the team going to have to underachieve for him to be treated as such?— Ryan (@MichaelsenRyan) November 13, 2019
Michael Porter Jr. is going to start getting more chances, and it will be important for him to take advantage of those chances when they come. We already saw Porter get some early minutes in the last two games, but he has struggled on defense in each of those performances.
Porter’s defense is still a work in progress and there’s no doubt how much of a talent he is offensively. In order for Porter to stay on the floor moving forward, he is going to have to make shots when on the floor because that is his greatest contribution.
Michael Malone talked pregame ahead of the Nets game about how he is going to give Porter chances and that he has to let him grow from his mistakes. That is big because it implies the Nuggets are doing everything in their power to give him a chance. Now, it is Porter’s responsibility to take advantage of it.
Is the ball too sticky with Monte? Seems like tons of 2-man game with Mason and 3 guys standing around. Trying to figure out why the 2nd unit is so stagnant.— Harlow Robinson (@HarlowRobinson) November 13, 2019
There are certainly some concerns with the Nuggets second unit, but I would not say it is because Monte Morris is holding onto the ball too much. Sure, Morris and Mason Plumlee do run a lot of 2-man game and that can sometimes leave the other players on the floor isolated, but that often times is the Nuggets best offense with their bench unit. Denver’s second unit doesn’t feature many dribble creators; Monte Morris may be the only one.
The Nuggets bench unit had arguably their best stint of the season in last night’s game against Brooklyn and Morris was at the forefront of that. Morris did not have a great shooting game (4-of-11 from the field) but he did play with tremendous energy that was echoed by every player on the floor.
That sign of life against Brooklyn was huge for this Nuggets second unit moving forward. If they can build on that performance, it will only give them more and more confidence. Also, the energy that Juancho Hernangomez brought in the Nets game was infectious and it might earn him more minutes in the games to come.