The Denver Nuggets return to Ball Arena on Sunday night for a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. This game is a little more special than the rest as Aaron Gordon will finally make his Nuggets debut after Denver acquired him before the trade deadline on Thursday morning.
It will also mark the return of JaVale McGee, who last appeared in a Nuggets jersey back on February 10, 2015. A lot has changed since then as the Nuggets are true title contenders with the additions of Gordon and McGee to a lineup already stacked with talent.
Denver has won 10 of their last 13 games and currently sits at fifth in the Western Conference with a 27-18 record. We’ll see if the Nuggets can keep it rolling on Sunday night against Atlanta as they welcome Gordon to Denver and McGee back to the Mile High City.
Who: Denver Nuggets (27-18, 12-9 home) vs Atlanta Hawks (23-22, 12-13 away)
When: 7:00 p.m. MST
Where: Ball Arena
How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up on Zoom. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio. NBA TV will also televise the game.
Rival Blog: Peachtree Hoops
Injury Report: Monte Morris - out (quadriceps), Greg Whittington - out (knee), Lou Williams - out (just got traded), Kris Dunn - out (ankle), De’Andre Hunter - knee (questionable)
Three Things to Watch
How does Aaron Gordon look in the starting lineup?
I would be incredibly surprised if Gordon does not start, so the most important thing to watch is how the starting unit plays. The Nuggets will — most likely — deploy a starting lineup that features Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., and Nikola Jokic, which is incredibly exciting.
Michael Malone said the other day the plan is to not ease Gordon and McGee in and they will play when they're ready. It’s looking like today will be that day and even though McGee is going to play a massive role on this team moving forward, Gordon is definitely the player to watch on Sunday night.
How does McGee look off the bench?
We touched on it above and as important as Gordon is, McGee is pretty valuable to the bench unit as well. The Nuggets haven't really had a backup center all season long, so it will be nice to have McGee spell Nikola Jokic from time to time throughout the game. McGee is a shot blocker who knows his role, so it will be fun to see how he plays with the bench unit.
How many highlights will Gordon and Jokic produce in their first game together?
Tonight is just the start of things to come, so hopefully we get a Gordon throw down in his first game with the Nuggets. It’s bound to happen eventually, so why not just get it out of the way in their first game together? I can picture it now, Jokic lobs it up from center court and Gordon rocks the rim at Ball Arena.
Prediction: Nuggets win and Gordon plays awesome.