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Will “The Thrill” Barton is back and better than ever

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Through seven games this season, Will Barton III is the Nuggets MVP.

NBA: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

We are just seven games into the 2019-20 Denver Nuggets season and Will Barton III is making his presence known every single night. After missing 39 games last season due to core/hip muscle surgery, Barton looks healthy, energized, and better than ever.

Tuesday night was just another indication that Barton is back to being his old self as he scored 15 points, hauled in 10 rebounds, and dished out four assists in the Nuggets 109-89 victory over the Miami Heat. Barton did all of that on an extremely efficient 5-of-10 shooting from the field, while also shooting a perfect 2-of-2 from three-point range.

“I definitely thrive on my confidence,” Barton told the media postgame. “Last year I just got hurt, I was in a good space before that injury and I feel like — you know — I’m pretty much back there.”

Through five games this season, Barton is averaging 14.2 points, seven rebounds, and two assists per game. Before the Miami game, Barton missed the last two games due to left toe inflammation and Denver went 1-1 in those games.

Barton looked healthy and like his normal self on Tuesday night and it was evident with how strong the Nuggets opened the game. Denver started the game on a 10-2 run that was energized by a Barton floater in which he also got fouled.

Barton has been making plays like that all season and they just exemplify what type of player he is when at full strength. Not only did Barton start the Miami game strong, but he also kept the Nuggets afloat in the second quarter when Nikola Jokic had to sit because of foul trouble.

In the first half, Barton finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field to go along with six rebounds and two assists. Barton was also 1-of-1 from three-point range, which really put a stamp on his first half performance.

That three also placed Barton seventh on the Nuggets all-time list in career three-pointers with the franchise. The even crazier thing about that play might be that Jamal Murray was not even intending the pass for Barton, and yet he just snatched it out of the air and drained the triple.

What Tuesday night’s game really showcased was just how much the Nuggets missed Barton’s presence in their last two games. The Nuggets offense runs smoothly with Barton on the floor, and he gives them another player that is more than willing to rebound and defend.

“Made big plays,” Michael Malone said postgame on Will Barton’s night. “He was our starting two guard to start that second half with Gary out. Put the ball in his hands let him make plays and I love the way he is rebounding the ball right now. He is a terrific rebounder for us and that gets us out and ignites our break.”

The energy that Barton brings on a nightly basis is infectious, and it feeds every player on the court. It is certainly a much different vibe with Barton this season as he finally looks to be healthy again, which was not the case last season. Even when Barton returned in the second half of the season and the playoffs, he was not “The Thrill” that Nuggets fans are accustomed to watching on a nightly basis.

Denver Nuggets v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Thrill has shown up this season in a big, big way, and Tuesday night was just another notch in that belt. Whether he was knocking down three-pointers, matching up with Jimmy Butler, or blocking shots at the rim, Barton was doing it all to help lead the Nuggets to victory.

If Barton continues to play like this, he has a chance to be one of the most impactful players on Denver’s roster this season. If we have learned anything from the Nuggets first seven games it should be this one thing: “The Thrill” is back in business.