Game day has officially arrived as the Denver Nuggets open the 2021-22 season tonight in Phoenix against the Suns. The Nuggets seem poised to make a title run this season, which hopefully will begin with a little payback tonight against the Suns. Phoenix eliminated Denver in four games last season in the Western Conference Semifinals, which I’m sure is still fresh on the mind of some Nuggets players.
The Nuggets did not have the best preseason as they went just 1-4 with a lone victory coming against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Denver’s final exhibition game. It was not a preseason to remember for the Nuggets as the only real positives were they stayed relatively healthy and Bones Hyland burst onto the scene.
Luckily for the Nuggets none of their games counted until tonight so they still have an opportunity to open the season on a high note. Denver has a somewhat easy schedule to start the year with Phoenix being arguably the toughest team they’ll play in the first couple weeks of the season. Downing the Suns and getting a little payback in the process could be the recipe to jumpstart this Nuggets to begin their quest for a title.
Where: Footprint Center — Phoenix, Arizona
When: 8:00 PM MST
How to Watch: ESPN
Three Things to Watch
Nikola Jokic and his quest to repeat as MVP
Even though Denver struggled in the preseason, one constant was the solid play by reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic. In the three games he played, Jokic looked better than ever and looks poised to build on what was an incredible MVP season last year. His quest to repeat as MVP starts with a matchup against Deandre Ayton, who played Jokic tougher in the postseason last year than how he performed in previous matchups. Still, I’d expect Jokic to dominate tonight and start the season off with a bang.
Can Michael Porter Jr. continue to be the Nuggets second guy with Jamal Murray out?
The Nuggets rewarded Porter with a five-year, max contract just a few weeks ago and now it’s time for him to prove that worth. There is no doubt Porter had a phenomenal end to the year last season once he became the Nuggets second guy behind Jokic after Murray went down. With Murray still out for the foreseeable future, the Nuggets are going to rely on Porter once again and that starts Wednesday night in Phoenix.
It’s time to get Bizzy! There is no doubt Hyland will be in the Nuggets rotation tonight off the bench, the only question is how many minutes will he play. Hyland burst on the scene in the preseason and has been one of the best rookies in the NBA so far through the preseason. I’d expect Hyland to get at least 15 minutes tonight and hopefully he’ll make the most of them because he certainly is a joy to watch.