It seems like just yesterday Jamal Murray was going en fuego from three point land while Nikola Jokic dissected defenses in the bubble in Orlando. In reality, it’s been seventy-seven days since the Denver Nuggets were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 NBA Playoffs making this the shortest offseason in franchise history. Will Denver be able to build off the momentum of their Western Conference Finals run and become title contenders? Or will the turnover in the roster and rapid schedule cause them to stagnate? Tonight we begin to find out the answers to those questions.
Their opponent has plenty of questions to answer as well. Just a few years removed from being the most dominant team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are looking to bounce back from a forgettable season marred by injuries that saw them put up the worst record in the NBA. Tonight was supposed to be the start of a comeback story for the Warriors but they have already lost star Klay Thompson for the season to an achilles injury. Still, Golden State will have the services of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, along with several solid additions to their roster. Despite being an exhibition, tonight’s game is sure to provide plenty of intrigue.
Who: Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors
When: 6:30 PM MST
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA.
How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy...unless its the romanticized 18th-century type. Altitude TV where available, League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Sneak into the Chase Center with a Chris Mullin mask. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio.
Rival blog: Golden State of Mind
Player availability: Injury reports were not submitted at time of writing. Check the NBA’s official injury report website for updates.
Key matchup: everyone vs rust(...and covid)
The first game of the preseason is always going to look a bit clunky. Throw in the fact that the Nuggets added seven new players to the roster and let’s just say I don’t expect a very smooth game. The Warriors have gone through quite a bit of turnover themselves, with newcomers Kelly Oubre Jr. and Brad Wanaker adding to the depth behind a still potent core. Golden Sate also has been dealing with some COVID-19 issues. The aforementioned Green and second overall pick James Wiseman are both out tonight after testing positive a week ago. All in all, this game has all the makings of a true blue preseason contest.
Main thing I’m watching for: MPJ and Bol
All Nuggets fans eyes are likely to be glued to two thirds of the Unicorn Brothers. Will Michael Porter Jr. start? How many minutes and where in the rotation does Bol Bol slot in? With the shortened preseason we can expect Michael Malone won’t spent too much time tinkering and will instead be using these warm up games to quickly get his team ready for when the wins and losses start to count in a week and a half. There will also be less time for players to win rotation spots. Where Bol and MPJ get their minutes and how they perform in tonight’s game will be very revealing for their rotation prospects, at least early on in the season.
Opening thought: I’m looking forward to a really fun season
The Unicorn Brothers (Jokic, MPJ, Bol) plus Jamal Murray is a fascinating idea to think about. It might not happen this season with Bol still early in his development but it’s certainly possible we get to see it. Throw in Argentinian wizard (Facundo Campazzo) and Kid Lightning (R.J. Hampton) along with a healthy Gary Harris and Will Barton and this season has the makings of being something really fun. Plus Denver still has all the fire power they need to compete for a title this year if a couple things break their way. I can’t wait for it to get started.