The Denver Nuggets appear to have got things back on track this week by playing their way through a friendly homestand. While it wasn’t always pretty, the Nuggets took care of business.
Nuggets go 3-0 at home
The Nuggets finished up a five game homestand this week. After winning the first two games last week they opened Sunday with a game against the New York Knicks. The Knicks are one of the worst teams in the NBA this season so there was little question about whether the Nuggets should keep their win streak going. The game started out looking every bit of a matchup between a lottery bound team and a playoff team but the Knicks used a big run in the second half to make a game of it. Luckily Denver was able to hold on behind Nikola Jokic.
Next up for Denver was the Orlando Magic who are definitely a better team than the Knicks but still not exactly at the same level as the Nuggets. This time it appeared that Denver was going to let one slip away when they fell down by nineteen points in the third quarter. However, they promptly went on an incredible 24-0 run to get the lead back. Orlando would push the Nuggets in the fourth quarter but Denver, who got thirty-three points from Jamal Murray and a three point Sombor Shuffle from Nikola, ultimately prevailed.
Denver wrapped up the week with a matchup against another division rival, the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nuggets caught a huge break with Karl-Anthony Towns unable to go but still had their ups and downs. Denver got out to an early lead before allowing Minnesota back in it. Jokic and Murray had big nights and the Nuggets were able to hold off some late runs from the T-Wolves to get the victory and close out their five game homestand 5-0.
G-League Roundup: P.J. Dozier continues to shine
The Nuggets have two players currently at the G-League level. Vlatko Cancar (check out this Vlatko interview about Christmas) and Bol Bol are all currently on Denver’s NBA roster while Jarred Vanderbilt was re-assigned and P.J. Dozier was transferred back to the G-League. Dozier has had a pretty dominant year down at the developmental level and that didn’t stop this week. First he came off the bench to get 24/11/7 and then got the start last night and nearly got a triple double with 21/11/9. Vando meanwhile racked up a double double in his return to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Friday.
Player of the week: Nikola Jokic
Jokic barely edges out Jamal Murray this week. Both guys had huge contributions but Murray didn’t have his best outing against the Knicks whereas Nikola has been key every single game this week. He led the team in scoring with twenty-five points against the Knicks, nearly put up a triple double against the Magic and then did put up a triple double against the Timberwolves. Jokic absolutely balled out during this homestand after finding his footing late in the Nuggets east coast road swing two weeks ago. On the homestand he averaged 24.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 9 assists.
Vox Media announces hundreds of upcoming terminations for SBNation writers
Definitely the down part of the week that definitely affects us here at the Stiffs was the announcement by Vox media that they will be terminating the contracts of hundreds of writers/editors/podcasters/content creators who either live in California or work for an SBNation team site for a California team. There are a total of twenty-five team sites dedicated to California teams on the SBNation network. For us here at Stiffs it was a dark day. We have worked with many of our colleagues at the California team sites in several different ways and to see them be so unceremoniously discarded was tough. Even tougher because we know how much the independent contractors working for SBNation are responsible creating and curating their team site (read: entirely).
For us at Stiffs, and for me personally, perhaps the very hardest part of the ordeal was the following statement by John Ness, executive director of SBNation, “This shift is part of a business and staffing strategy that we have been exploring over the past two years, but one that is also necessary in light of California’s new independent contractor law.” That sentence is extremely loaded in terms of what it could mean. While John notes the new law in California has forced SBNation’s hand, the fact is it was forced far before this. SBNation is currently the subject of a class action lawsuit by dozens of former site managers for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The heart of that lawsuit is the same as the heart of California’s new law: SBNation (and many other companies) have independent contractors performing vital business operations that should be classified as employees. The compensation provided to these contractors in many cases does not equal even federal minimum wage when considering the hours required to perform their duties. What this mean’s for us at Stiffs we aren’t sure, but Ness’ post certainly seems to leave the door open for more sweeping changes to come to the SBNation business model.
A note on our California communities: https://t.co/9OQz0YS7bm— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 16, 2019
Fun moment of the week: Nuggets host annual Special Olympics clinic
On a much more light hearted note, every year the Nuggets do a cool thing where they host a clinic for Special Olympics athletes at the Pepsi Center. They sign each of the athletes to a one day contract and have them participate in drills with the Nuggets players and coaches. It’s pretty clear this is not only a great event for the athletes but also for the members of the Nuggets organization who have a blast.
We’ve got three episodes in the Pod Corner this week. First Gordon Gross and I preview the action of the week on the Pickaxe Podcast while also diving in pretty extensively on the Los Angeles Lakers game that is being played tonight. Jena Garcia looks at some interesting statistical trends during the Nuggets win streak on the Chick ‘N Nuggets podcast and Jeremy Poley and Nick Hertzog tie it all together with their Nuggets/Star Wars mashup pod on the Dig. Make sure you are subscribing to the the Denver Stiffs podcast channel so you get episodes as soon as they are released!