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 finished up the month where the sports world stopped, but it doesn’t appear that there is an obvious end in sight. Schools across the country have cancelled all classes and events through the remainder of the Spring semester. Major sporting events, such as Wimbledon, The British Open and Indianapolis 500, have all been postponed to undetermined dates.
We don’t know when we’re getting basketball or any other sport back. Baseball is in jeopardy of not having a season at all. We’re in a time of uncertainty, and, in this time, the things that has helped me most is looking back at the sports that we have had in the past. Whether that’s the Greatest Nugget of All Time Bracket or anything else that the internet has been able to come up with. That’s what has been my escape from everything.
Just like last week, we’re keeping our Film Friday series rolling. We’re not at a stopping point, and we’re just getting started. Film is a little harder to come by, but that’s not going to stop the content train. Today, it’s all about sharing the love. This Nuggets team, when Nikola Jokic first became the offensive hub for the franchise, was all about passing. That has stopped somewhat in the last couple of years, and I want to look back at why it never should have stopped.
The Next Guy is the Best Guy
When you’re open, you want to take the shot. Everyone does, and you’re not going to fool anyone by saying that you’d rather get the assist. However, when you do, that means your teammate got the bucket. The San Antonio Spurs dominated the NBA for years with ball movement, and the Golden State Warriors had more shooters than you could shake a stick at. They destroyed you by always being willing to feed the next guy.
That’s what Torrey Craig does on this play. He gets the block on the defensive end, and he could have easily risen up for his 3-point attempt. Instead, he gathers himself to feed Will Barton who has a wide-open 3-point shot. The next guy is the best guy in this situation because Barton is the better shooter, but, more importantly, he has the better shot.
Everybody Wants to be Mr. Big Shot
At the end of a close game, every guy wants to be the player that takes the big shot for the win or to close the game when you’re coming from behind. Guys will force up shots because they want that on their shoulders for better or worse. Jamal Murray has never been one to shy away from taking the big shot, but he’s gotten better the longer he’s been in the league.
In a game that the Nuggets knew was going to be their final game for the foreseeable future, they were playing like this was the end of their season. Murray drives into the paint, and he has an opportunity to take a contested floater over a center. Instead, he makes the decision to feed the ball to Jokic, who is a better matchup down in the paint. Sometimes, in order to be Mr. Big Shot, you don’t have to take the big shot.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
We all have heard the quote. It’s been used a million different ways by a million different people in a million situations. In basketball, it’s always about making sure you’re getting the best shot up possible. In the four seasons prior to this year, the Warriors led the NBA in assists because they were unselfish and always willing to move the ball. As a result, their offense was consistently one of the best in the NBA.
The Nuggets have the pieces to be a top offense, but they aren’t always making it work because the ball stops. However, when it doesn’t, it leads to open shots. Players are aggressive, and they’re able to get their shots. Millsap charges into the rim, and he has a shot at drawing a foul. Instead, he draws in the defense and feeds Barton for a wide open bucket. That’s what teamwork is all about.
The best passing teams are the ones that make runs at titles. They’re the ones with the top offenses in the NBA, and the Nuggets have the pieces to be an effective passing offense, which is what makes them so frustrating. Perhaps, during this time off, they could get back to what made them so great over the past few years. If they can’t improve their ball movement, they’ll likely get bounced out of the playoffs by some team that can shut down their isolation game.
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.