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Stiffs Mailbag: What to make of this Nuggets team and what happened on Christmas day?

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The Nuggets did not have the best showing on Christmas, but still have won seven of their last eight games.

New Orleans Pelicans v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

It was not the jolliest Christmas for the Denver Nuggets as the New Orleans Pelicans came into Pepsi Center and snapped their seven game winning streak. Losses like that happen, but they are starting to occur more frequently with Denver this season.

This is still a very good Nuggets basketball team, but they have to find a way to combat lethargy against sub .500 teams at home. It is tough to pinpoint a game this season when the Nuggets offense and defense were on the same page, which was the case on Christmas night.

Against the Pelicans, Denver struggled at times offensively, defensively, and especially on the glass. That resulted in a tough loss, which left a lot of people searching for answers. Well, we tried to help with that in the latest edition of the Denver Stiffs Mailbag. Enjoy!


The inconsistencies with this Nuggets team have been frustrating at times this season. Just two days ago, they were riding high on a seven game winning streak before losing to a Pelicans team that has struggled most of the season.

It really boils down to the Nuggets not playing complementary basketball and still looking like they are not all on the same page. That reason alone is something you could point to as to why they have blown so many big leads to start the year.

Blown might be a dramatic word considering the Nuggets win most of the games they blow leads in, but that still cannot happen. If this Nuggets team wants to reach their goal this season — a championship — they have to find a way to put games away and not let what happened on Christmas night happen again.

A consolidation trade is not a bad idea and it might clear up some roster confusion. You never know which of Torrey Craig, Michael Porter Jr., Malik Beasley, or Juancho Hernangomez are going to play on a nightly basis and a trade could help clear that up.

It is tough for the Nuggets bench to get into rhythm because of all the moving parts and the only way to fix that might be making a trade. If the Nuggets do make a trade, I would expect one of the players mentioned above to be involved.

Denver would be wise to seek out more shooting and possibly another defender. I still think Jrue Holiday and/or JJ Redick are perfect additions for this Nuggets team. Just look at what they did to the Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Not bad at all. Jamal Murray is a max-contract type of player and he is going to be an all-star in two years. Murray might have a rough shooting night from time to time, but he has played with more consistency to start the season and is truly forming that dynamic one-two punch with Nikola Jokic.

Murray has really grown as a passer and defender this season and if that continues moving forward, his scoring is only going to follow suit. We have already seen Murray hit some really clutch shots this season, and one tough game does not change that.

It really might just boil down to the Pelicans being a really tough matchup for the Nuggets. Michael Malone said after the game that Denver has to find a way to stop Brandon Ingram and through two games, that has not been the case.

When you look at the Nuggets and Pelicans, it reminds me of the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. It always seems like, no matter what the teams records are, that the Patriots always struggle when they face the Dolphins.

In conclusion: the Nuggets are the Patriots and the Pelicans are the Dolphins. Sorry Broncos fans, I know that must hurt to see. But hey, go Drew Lock, amirite?

This question goes hand in hand with a potential consolidation trade. In order for Michael Porter Jr. to see the floor more, there is going to have to be a trade made, plain and simple. Right now, Porter has been the worst among the regular rotation players, so playing him more minutes than others would be disingenuous.

Porter should still be getting minutes moving forward, but it will be tough for him to get them consistently if the roster stays the same. It will be key for Porter to just take advantage of those minutes when they do come, which should give him more opportunities.

It was not the best rebounding game for Jerami Grant on Wednesday night, and that raised a lot of questions as to why he closed the game instead of Paul Millsap. What Grant gives the Nuggets that Millsap does not is his presence as a cutter and driver, which pairs extremely well next to Nikola Jokic.

His future with this team is still to be determined if you ask me. Grant is at his best when playing next to Jokic, but if you take Millsap out of the starting lineup, you are losing one of that unit’s best defenders and shooters.

There is no reason Grant should start moving forward, which means he is going to have to continue and carry the bench unit. Mason Plumlee is the main rebounder on the Nuggets second unit, but Grant needs to right behind him in that department.

Grant could be the Nuggets long-term solution at power forward, but now might be a little premature to make this decision. He has certainly flashed at times this season and if Grant can continue to knock down three-pointers, hopefully his value will become a lot clearer.

I do not think the Clippers are giving up Patrick Beverley anytime soon, but I wish they were. He would be just what the Nuggets need and would give them an edge they do not currently have.

The attitude and energy Beverley brings on a nightly basis is contagious, which makes it’s a bummer that Denver will — most likely — not be able to acquire him.