After a couple weeks off from the Stiffs Mailbag, we are back and better than ever. You guys brought the heat with this weeks questions and we tried to answer them all below. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Is Mason Plumlee the key to matching up well with the Lakers in the Playoffs?— William B Buckets Esquire (@BBaller120) January 29, 2020
The Lakers definitely present a tough matchup for the Nuggets especially in the postseason. Mason Plumlee could certainly be an option to matchup against the height of the Lakers, but I am not sure he will be able to do much in slowing down Anthony Davis.
It will be interesting to see how the Nuggets approach their matchup against the Lakers on February 12th. The first time they met earlier this season feels like an eternity ago, so this next matchup could be a great measuring stick as to where both teams are at.
It is the Nuggets final game before the all-star break and hopefully they have a few players back. If the Nuggets can get Jamal Murray and Gary Harris back for that game it would be huge. It will also be hard to see how Mason Plumlee matches up against the Lakers in that he will probably miss the game due to injury.
After getting dominated in the paint - do we just wait on Paul to return or do we make a move? Doesn’t seem like MPJ or Grant want to bang inside.— Jake West (@DurangoJake) January 29, 2020
Paul Millsap’s presence has certainly been missed in more ways than one. Not only has one of the Nuggets best defenders been out of the lineup for quite some time, but they are desperately missing his three-point shooting.
The Nuggets have struggled to score consistently from distance this season and one of their best shooters has now missed 12 straight games. Millsap is shooting a scorching 41 percent from three this season, which is the highest mark of his career.
I will get to if the Nuggets should make a move in a little, but I do think the Nuggets can still wait on Paul and be okay. There is no reason to rush him back if he is not fully healed and it feels as if he will not return to play until after the all-star break.
As for Jerami Grant and Michael Porter Jr. being able to bang inside, I think both have showed the ability to be really solid rebounds as of late. Especially Porter, who is second on the team in boards (6.2) for the month of January.
I'm curious to know how many other teams have 4 back-to-backs scheduled in one month, and how many of them had 3 in a row with 2 days rest in between each. It's no coincidence that all these injuries happened in that 3-in-a-row span.— Jamal Murray Fan (@sportsfansnacks) January 29, 2020
It is tough to go through every teams schedule, but it certainly feels like the Nuggets have it worse than a lot of other teams. This months schedule has been absolutely brutal to the Nuggets and the current back-to-back they are on — Utah and then Milwaukee — is about as difficult as it can get.
Michael Malone called it “criminal” before the Nuggets game against the Jazz and he is right. It really is hard to see the Nuggets having any sort of a chance to beat the Bucks and that has a lot to due with them playing at 8:30 THE NIGHT BEFORE against a formidable Western Conference opponent.
Luckily, the schedule gets easier in February because of the all-star break, but that still does not change what the Nuggets have had to endure the past month. On top of them having a really tough back-to-back, they have to play a 10:30 am MDT time game on Sunday in Detroit because of the Super Bowl. Just a brutal stretch of games.
What trades, if any, do you feel/think are most likely by the deadline?— Burt Macklin (@hescrafty18) January 29, 2020
It feels like it is going to be an incredibly quite trade deadline, which is kind of a shame. I am a huge fan of pandemonium and crazy trades around the league, so I am hoping what I said in the first sentence is actually wrong.
The Nuggets might trade a piece of two like Malik Beasley or Juancho Hernangomez, but that is still a little tough to see happening as of right now. Jrue Holiday has always been the guy I want Denver to target in a trade, but it feels like the Pelicans are unlikely to deal him.
That leaves not many big name targets, but one guy I have really talked myself into over the past few weeks is Davis Bertans. Not only is Bertans lighting it up in his first season with the Washington Wizards, but he has playoff experience from his time in San Antonio. Bertans would improve the Nuggets struggles from three and would provide a deadly three-point shooter off the bench. I definitely think it is a move worth exploring.
Is MPJ’s game speed just naturally slow or is it because he doesn’t trust his decision making regarding where he should be on the court?— Marketed Targeting (@Mark_Mutombo) January 29, 2020
This was something I noticed at the beginning of the year with Porter, but it has really gone away over the past month or so. At the start of the year, it felt like Porter was playing to not make a mistake, which is the complete opposite of how he has played lately.
Porter has played with a decisiveness and confidence over the past month, which has sped up his game immensely. That decision making process is something that comes over time and Porter is starting to trust his instincts and play more freely.
Now, mistakes are still going to come and that is what you expect from a rookie, but the good is certainly outweighing the bad. Porter is finally starting to find his stride and his game is only going to blossom because of it. I think the Nuggets rookie could be in for a massive breakout in the second half of the season.