Thomas Welsh was waived from his two-way contract earlier this week. Give us one Thomas Welsh moment you will remember for years to come?
Ryan Blackburn: There weren’t a ton of on-court moments, but the one that stands out in a big way is Thomas Welsh hitting his first career three. After he hit it, the bench went absolutely nuts, Will Barton called “Big Tom” his favorite player in the league, and Welsh had a massive grin on his face for one of the most important milestones in any player’s career. I’m rooting for Big Tom, especially given the positive personality he possesses. Welsh has potential as a pick and pop big man if he can continue working on his body and athleticism. The shooting touch is clearly present already.
Adam Mares: I first met Thomas in San Diego for training camp and I was blown away by just how nice he was. By day two I had already caught some buzz about what a great teammate he was and how hard he worked so I decided to talk with him about his first couple of days in the NBA. It became immediately clear why guys like Will Barton would refer to him as “my favorite player in the league.”
ESPN, NBA, and Bleacher Report all feature the Nuggets somewhere in the Top 5 of their power rankings. What does that say about expectations this season?
Blackburn: Last season, the pressure was on for the Nuggets to make the playoffs for the first time since the George Karl era. They accomplished that goal, proving that not only did they have the capacity to make the playoffs but that they had the potential to stick around for a long time. This season is all about staying power, showcasing that last season wasn’t a fluke. Denver can’t be the team that manipulates the playoff bracket for better matchups anymore. This has to be the year they begin to stake their claim as a team that nobody wants to face in the playoffs in 2020 and beyond.
Mares: That they are appropriately high. Few people consider the Nuggets as favorites but everyone seems to agree that they are in the conversation for title contention and that means that they should be graded as such. The 2019-20 season officially kicks off this team’s window to win a championship and that is the first time you’ve been able to say that about a Nuggets team in a decade.
It’s August. The NBA season doesn’t start for another two months. If you could take a two week vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Blackburn: I’m split between traveling to Europe for the first time or traveling to an island in the Caribbean for the first time. There are certainly arguments for both, as going to Italy would be a cultural treat I’ve always had interest in. However, I’m going with the Cayman Islands. Sipping a piña colada out of a pineapple on the beach while overlooking the ocean feels like the most relaxing way to spend the last few days of a summer vacation.
Mares: Kruger Park, South Africa. It’s my favorite place on Earth. Beautiful African scenery, wildlife around every corner, and hundreds of miles of open road to explore. Nothing beats a road trip through one of the most beautiful and wild places on Earth. Two weeks might be a bit long but a side trip through Swaziland, Lesotho and Cape Town should fill a few days.