The Nuggets embark on a three game home stand starting tomorrow night against Cleveland Cavaliers followed by matchups against the Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte Hornets. Simple question ... will and should Denver end the home stand 3-0?
Gage Bridgford (@GbridgfordNFL): If either of Kawhi Leonard or Paul George miss that game, I’d expect Denver to go 3-0. The other two teams on that home stand are not the best competition. Leonard and George are both the big wings that have given the Nuggets trouble this year. I’m going to say they go 3-0 regardless because I like what the offense has been doing of late.
Ryan Blackburn: (@NBABlackburn): The Cavaliers game is the definition of a trap game with the Clippers looming on a back-to-back. Denver SHOULD win all three for sure, but I’m going to hedge and say they go 2-1 and lose one of these next two. Whether it be a scoring explosion from one or both of Leonard/George or the overlooking of a bad Cleveland team, I bet Denver goes 2-1 in their next three.
Daniel Lewis (@minutemandan): Should they finish 3-0? I think they have a pretty good shot to do that. Will they? Probably not. The Clippers are a really good team, and they are a tough matchup for the Nuggets, especially if Jokic isn’t knocking down 3-point shots. The Hornets don’t nearly have the talent to match up with Denver, and the Cavaliers are a team in disarray.
Jeremy Poley (@JeremyPoley): I’m drinking the blue and gold kool-aid: 3-0. Jokic is on his best streak. There’s backups hungrier than ever to keep us at bay if the starters don’t show up for the Cavs or Hornets trap games. And it’s likely that Paul George is out for a Clippers on a “bad” (6-5 in their last 11) streak.
Brandon Ewing (@B_Skip1717): The Nuggets should definitely go 3-0 and I believe they will. Denver should blow past the Cavaliers and handle a Clippers team that is going through a rough stretch, but the team I would be most worried about is the Hornets. Charlotte is a sneaky good squad and Devonte’ Graham could walk into Pepsi Center, drop 40-points, and I would not be surprised one bit.
What should the Nuggets do with Malik Beasley?
Bridgford: Malik Beasley is a talented player, and he’s regressed this year. However, I think some of that has to do with having inconsistent minutes which has prevented him from ever getting into a rhythm. They’re unlikely to re-sign him at the end of the year, so I would attempt to make a move now that puts him in a better position while getting them a desirable piece back.
Blackburn: There needs to be an honest conversation between management and the coaching staff on this exact topic. Malik Beasley is a helpful player in the playoffs. His ability to space the floor on the wing and athleticism getting to the rim could win Denver a playoff game in a tight situation. The question is whether he will be in the rotation. Last season, he was an unquestioned rotation piece with how he was playing. If Malone doesn’t believe he will be in the rotation come playoff time, then Denver should do their due diligence on the trade market. Beasley is a coveted piece for a number of teams.
Lewis: I think they should finish out the season with him. The Nuggets have leverage in any contract negotiation because he will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, and they can choose to match any offer that Beasley receives. They are going to need him if Gary Harris gets injured, and they may need him regardless if Harris continues to struggle to shoot throughout the season. They can always sign and trade Beasley next season, I don’t see the rush to move him before the trade deadline. Beasley is vital to this season for the team’s depth. be better this
Poley: I can’t remember the last time that a Nuggets player had as much value in other teams’ eyes as he does in our Nuggets fanbase’s eyes. After years of our ridiculous fan trade packages along the lines of “Gallinari and two scoops of Sweet Action, straight up!”, we’ve found ourselves in the midst of a 6-month stretch of non-stop national media-talk about Beasley being coveted by any team looking for offense. Pull the trigger on something! In all due respect, he’s a blast to watch and deserves minutes on a team that has some to spare.
Ewing: Like what Gage mentioned above, Malik Beasley is a very talented player and his regression this year could have a lot to do with his minutes. Beasley is averaging seven minutes less per game this season and that is where the drop off in production has been. To me, Beasley is still the most talented three-point shooter on this Nuggets roster and should be on this team going forward.
Who is your #1 target for the Nuggets to acquire via trade? The deadline is just over a couple weeks away!
Bridgford: I love the idea of Davis Bertans from the Washington Wizards, but my main target is Robert Covington from the Minnesota Timberwolves. He gives the team more size on the wing to defend guys like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard which are the types of players that have been giving them trouble on a regular basis this season.
Blackburn: I realize it’s a cop-out, but I don’t have a top trade target anymore. We’ve seen Torrey Craig and Jerami Grant face off against big wings in limited minutes and look pretty good. We’ve seen the potential of Michael Porter Jr. as a scorer off the bench. We’ve seen how great this starting unit is together (5th highest five-man Net Rating among lineups to exceed 200 minutes at +12.1 points per 100 possessions) and breaking that unit up causes short and long term issues. Robert Covington or Jrue Holiday would be good additions, as would a stretch big, but they have to be for the right price. Otherwise, there’s little point to tinker with a roster like Denver’s.
Lewis: Robert Covington or Derrick Rose. Gage talked about Covington, so I’ll talk about Rose instead. He’s had a great season, and he gives Denver a player off the bench that can consistently get to the rim. He’s can play with Monte Morris, and he gives the Nuggets another guard that can come off the bench.
Poley: It’s been Robert Covington all the way. He’s the perfect realistic solution for the only thing that stands in our way of a championship (LA SF’s). And, to boot, since Grant has failed to earn any long-term potential as a starting PF, RoCo’s (cheap!) 3-year contract gives us some wiggle room at PF if we wind up losing Paul Millsap or if we retain him and his performance slides (or gets injured).
Ewing: I was thinking about this yesterday and Dan mentioned him above, so I’m going to piggy back and say Derrick Rose. Jrue Holiday or JJ Redick have been two guys I have really wanted the Nuggets to acquire for awhile, but I highly doubt the Pelicans move either of those players. That leaves Rose, who I think could provide a huge spark off the Nuggets bench and be just the player they are looking for to give them a spark.
Nikola Jokic made another game winning shot on Wednesday night in Dallas. Of all the game winners Jokic has made throughout his career, which one is your favorite?
Bridgford: His game-winner over Philadelphia this season has my top spot. It was a great game against a great team, and that capped it off. It also sealed that duel with Joel Embiid who remains one of the best centers in the NBA. When you see your guy go out and take down a team of that caliber early in the year, it sets the tone for months to come.
Blackburn: We discussed this on The Denver Stiffs Show yesterday and came away with the game-winner against Joel Embiid and Philadelphia. From going toe to toe with another top center and winning the battle to causing a number of Philly fans to go off the wall and petition for Denver sports to be banned, it was gratifying to see Jokic lead the fourth quarter comeback and cap it off with a winning shot.
Lewis: His game-winning shot in overtime against the Timberwolves. That was an incredible shot, over Karl-Anthony Towns, and against a division rival that this Nuggets team should always be motivated to beat.
Poley: Count me in for the game-winner over Embiid. Every beautiful extra pound of my body leaped up out of the symbolic defeat Jokic took over anybody’s stupid predilection towards overvaluing athleticism.
Ewing: Jokic’s game winner against the Mavericks last season was my favorite. Just the way the shot went in and the crowd reaction was something to behold. It was also a nationally televised game and really propelled Jokic into the best season of his career. Magical.