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.
We’ve wrapped one week without the NBA or sports of any kind due to COVID-19 spreading across the globe. Despite that, we’re not stopping the Film Friday series. If you’re like me, you need something to help you escape a world without sports, and that’s quickly what this series is becoming for me.
Today, we’re just looking some of my favorite dunks since the turn of the calendar to 2020. It’s not going to be a Top-10 list or anything like that. Instead, we’re just going to watch Denver dunk over their opponents from the past few months. To keep with the theme, I will be doing some film breakdown on each clip, but we’re also trying to keep things light and fun today. This is like when coach said you’re just doing a shoot around for a couple of hours the night after a win.
Jamal Goes Up As The NBA Goes Down
On the night the NBA stopped, we were watching a surreal game that will live on in NBA lore forever. News was coming out that the NBA would be suspending play indefinitely, and Denver and the Dallas Mavericks were playing what would be the final minutes for the foreseeable future. Early in the game, we saw Paul Millsap get the ball on a rebound, and a fun sequence would occur.
It starts with a single dribble to a submarine style pass up to Will Barton. Barton’s surveying the floor looking for a cutter or shooter, and he sees Jamal Murray slicing wide open to the rim. Murray, who will likely be making another appearance or two in this article, proceeds to slam the ball home with authority. On a night that will be remembered for what happened off the floor, this was something memorable on the floor.
“Jokic is Fat & Slow” - A Talking Head.... Probably
Nikola Jokic could go on to have a Hall of Fame career that saw him chisel out his body like LeBron James, and the narrative surrounding him would still be that he’s fat and slow. He can’t play defense or move quickly enough, and he’s only tough to defend because he plays in an awkward way other NBA players aren’t used to defending. To that, I tell everyone to watch this guy run the floor better than just about any center in the league.
Jokic posts up Nerlens Noel, who has a reputation of being an elite defender around the rim, and he just starts bullying him. He’s going into closeout mode of a close game. He calls for the ball and spins towards the basket where no one is going to be getting in his way. Dunks by bigs aren’t always the most exciting thing to watch, as evidenced by the fact that Aaron Gordon has been robbed twice in the dunk contest, but I enjoyed watching Jokic just waltz towards the rim.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball
This phrase originates from baseball, but Barton shows it should stick to any sport. He takes advantage of the rookie, who has his back turned to double Jokic, and he’s walking in for the easy dunk after an inbounds pass off of Cody Martin’s back. This is the type of play you see in blowouts or summer league. Instead, you’re seeing it in the fourth quarter of a close game.
Will Barton throws the ball off the defenders' back, resulting in an easy dunk for your Heads Up Play of the Day! pic.twitter.com/ekhKXIhHYP— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 6, 2020
Barton is a heads up player, and he’s always trying to find a way to get himself a bucket. He does that on this one, and he creates a laughable highlight in the process. Unfortunately for Martin, it’s more than likely that this play will be on his not-so-highlight reel for the remainder of his career.
Michael Porter Jr. Announces His Presence
Does Michael Malone need to play Michael Porter Jr. more? Absolutely. When he has games like he did against the Indiana Pacers, does it make even less sense for him to be riding the bench? Also, absolutely. January 2nd, 2020 on the road against the Pacers is when Porter fully flashed a taste of what he could do to the rest of the NBA.
Porter ran up 25 points, and two of them came when he dunked on the Pacers elite defensive center Myles Turner. With his size, it takes him just a couple of steps to be up by the rim faster than the defense is able to rotate. That’s the type of offensive skill he brings that’s hard for teams to account for when they don’t see it very often.
Gary Harris Slashes for Two
It’s been a semi-forgettable season for Gary Harris on the offensive end of the floor, but he still has the athleticism to produce highlight-reel dunks. Back in January, he was licking his chops when Kevin Huerter was guarding him on the wing. A simple pivot to his right, and he had a free run to the rim. The Nuggets don’t produce the fancy dunks you see from other teams which is why you don’t often see them in those scenarios.
Harris is the pinnacle of what you can expect to see from any Nuggets’ game. He’s going to play safe and fundamental basketball on both ends of the floor, and he capitalizes on lapses by his opponent. It wasn’t the flashiest dunk, but I’m sure Malone still replays that dunk on a daily basis to start his day off right.
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.