During the 2018-19 season, the Denver Nuggets had their first 20.0 points per game scorer since Carmelo Anthony in 2010-11 before he was traded to the New York Knicks. Nikola Jokic averaged 20.1 points during a sterling MVP caliber campaign, helping lead the Nuggets to 54 wins, the second best record in the West, and establishing himself as one of the premiere talents in the NBA today. Jamal Murray was no far behind him, averaging 18.2 points per game and giving the Nuggets their first tandem to score 18.0+ points per game since Anthony and Chauncey Billups in 2009-10.
Now, as the Nuggets head into the 2019-20 season with high expectations, the burden of scoring will rest primarily on Jokic and Murray, the youngest duo in the NBA with the most established success before hitting 25 years old. Both players have room to grow, and so does the rest of the Nuggets roster. Gary Harris and Will Barton are primed for a bounce back seasons after struggling through injuries in 2018-19, and rookie Michael Porter Jr. will look to establish himself in the Nuggets rotation by doing what he knows best.
There is perhaps no better visual to describe Denver’s offensive shift from 2017-18 to 2018-19 in terms to point production responsibility. During 2017-18, the Nuggets ran a more egalitarian offensive system focused on spreading around the offensive production. Nikola Jokic was the focal point, but others surrounding him contributed similar point production. Fast forward to 2018-19, and while Jokic and Murray took stronger control of the offense, Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Paul Millsap all experienced drops in production.
It is this factor that remains Denver’s second largest question mark on the offensive end, the first behind Murray’s ceiling for production and efficiency. Who will step up among the rest of Denver’s rotation and become a regular factor scoring the basketball in 2019-20? As noted, Harris and Barton are primed for recovery seasons. Harris averaged 17.5 points in 2017-18 and could certainly return to that level going forward. Barton averaged 14.6 points per game from 2015-16 to 2017-18 before succumbing to injuries in 2018-19. He could bounce back too. Paul Millsap will likely take a reduced role this season factoring in the trends of the rest of Denver’s roster, Millsap’s age, and the addition of a starting caliber power forward in Jerami Grant.
Then there’s the Michael Porter Jr. factor, one of the most talented scorers to enter the NBA Draft in the last decade. Nobody knows what his ultimate role will be in Denver’s offense, but he will have a role. Could he be an impactful scorer in his rookie season? Nothing is off the table.
Other options include Malik Beasley, now in a contract year unless he and the Nuggets agree to a rookie extension. Monte Morris could surprise with his development, but I certainly wouldn’t expect it from primarily a backup point guard. Denver could always acquire this third scorer in a trade, but it seems silly to speculate on options outside the roster.
That leads to the question of the week: who will be Denver’s top 3 scorers during the 2019-20 season?
Who will be the third scorer behind Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in 2019-20?
This poll is closed
Michael Porter Jr.