If you’re not familiar with Film Fridays, each Friday, I’ll be looking at some recent Denver Nuggets’ games, lineups or something else from a film aspect to try and bring you a piece of content that you’re not getting somewhere else. Feel free to give any feedback positive or negative in the comments or find me on Twitter.
The Denver Nuggets weren’t expected to compete for championships until a couple of years down the road, but they have arrived. They’re competing now, and they’re going to be expected to punch with the top teams in each conference. Jamal Murray was one of the best players in basketball during the playoffs, and Nikola Jokic has maintained his high level of play over the last few years.
This team went from the future is coming to the future is now, and they have to maximize their opportunity while it’s here for a couple of reasons. One of them is the fact that it’s going to get expensive to maintain this group. They already had to trade away Malik Beasley because they knew they weren’t going to be able to pay him. Jerami Grant is going to cost most of the money they have available to retain him.
Today, we’re going to be looking at a couple of pieces that are key for their future starting next season. Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol are the types of players that can open up a team’s potential. They’re offensive weapons that are nearly impossible to defend, and they have the ability to help take this team to a different level.
Michael Porter Jr. Is Not Just A Sideshow
Throughout his rookie season, Porter was never utilized to his fullest potential on a consistent basis for one reason. He wasn’t perfect on defense. He put in the effort, but he just wasn’t locked in on that end. However, on the offensive end, there wasn’t much you could do against him. He had the size to get his shot off over any defender thrown his way, and he was a monster on the offensive glass with an average of 2.6 per 36 minutes. Despite his offensive skills, he was viewed as this carnival attraction off the bench, but he’s much more than that.
Porter can bully smaller defenders when he gets inside the 3-point line, and it puts the defense in a bind. When that happens, they have to either switch a big onto him, send a double-team or risk letting him shoot. He needs to work on his passing because he’s really trigger happy right now. That makes sense when you factor in how good of a shooter he is. In 2020-21, this team needs to devote more sets to setting him up on the floor. He was used as a spot-up guy way too much last season, and he’s much more than that.
It’s plays like this that make me think about what he can be. This is the lack of fear that you see from guys that are at the top of this league, along with volume shooters like J.R. Smith. He’s being guarded by LeBron James with the clock winding down. Despite falling away from the basket on this highly contested shot, he rises up and knocks it down.
MPJ is special! Ready right now! 6’10 small forward with a ratchet & a handle! Stop playing with him! Can’t be on a leash with that type ability! It’s time! Gotta let him be him! Shorty different!— Will Barton (@WillTheThrillB5) August 5, 2020
He’s not just some secondary option. He is a primary option. His teammates know it. The fans know it, and it’s time for the coaching staff to realize it. If we enter next season with Porter as anything other than a starter getting a heavy workload on a nightly basis, they’re doing it wrong, and it will need to be changed in a hurry.
Bol Bol Can Play Some Ball
Similar to MPJ, Bol Bol isn’t just a sideshow attraction. Now, he’s not ready to be a starter as Porter is, but he is ready to be a rotational player next year because of the different features he brings to the offense. Bol can handle the ball well for his size, and, like Porter, you’re not going to block his shot. His height and high release point allow him to get his shot off over anyone. This shot from the free-throw line was impressive because he didn’t need to get set to hit it. He rose up off of one foot and knocked down the shot.
Is there anything more frustrating than getting a switch with a center on you, and he annihilates your shot? That’s what Bol is going to bring every day. His length is a problem for even centers to handle, and he can help match up with stretch fours without sacrificing size. Denver could trot out a lineup featuring Murray, Porter, Grant, Bol and Jokic, and they would be nearly unable to defend with all of their length.
For those of you that are still here, remember to leave your feedback in the comments or over on my Twitter, and have a fantastic film-filled Friday.