I hate this friggin’ song…

I hate it for two reasons. First, it’s one of the rare things that is popular amongst fellow Monty Python faithful that never struck me as funny. Second, it perfectly describes my favorite grandfather’s modus operdandi. Come to think of it, the second reason could be a huge component of the first reason. Stupid song.

I remember sitting across the table from my grandpa one day after I’d finished mowing his lawn. His brow was its usually-knitted self. I asked him what was bothering him.

“Things have been uncharacteristically good of late, Michael,” he said.

I asked, “Is that a bad thing, grandpa?”

“It’s just been a while since anything went haywire around here,” he said

I pondered for a moment. It finally hit me. I said, “So, you’re worried because there hasn’t been anything to worry about of late.”

“Exactly,” said he, perfectly fine in his dichotomy.

I loved my grandpa with all my heart, but the old worrywart sonuvabee has passed one of his habits along, in that I worry far too often about far too many things. One of the things I’ve grown increasingly fretful about of late is your Denver Nuggets.

I was fortunate to join Denver Stiffs five years ago, immediately after the winningest season in Nuggets history. Though the song of the previous season had been spectacular, it had ended on a diminished chord comprising the notes of Danilo Gallinari’s knee injury, Andre Iguodala’s defection, Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri’s departure, and Coach of the Year George Karl’s dismissal. But even with all of those issues, all but one of the primary players returned the following season from a squad that had seen six players average double-digit scoring. The future still looked very bright.

It’s been a while since then. To their credit, the spiral that Denver took over the following two seasons has slowly been pressed back to respectability, via a lot of year-over-year effort and dedication from some very talented individuals. The Nuggets are back in business, as most anyone will tell you.

And then a long-gone voice grumbles in the back of my head…

“I worry about how Will Barton has played off-ball just yet.”

Shut up, Grandpa. He looked better this last game with an 11-point first quarter.

“Nikola Jokic has got me a bit concerned with this finger injury. His game is so refined, that could really be a curveball this year. He doesn’t look like himself.”

Shut up, Grandpa. He’s working through it, and he’ll be ok for the important parts. He’s proven to be tough and adaptible. He’s nursing it now to help it heal in the preseason. He knows this is the time for him to figure it out, so give him latitude. He’s earned it.

“Still a lot of inconsistency from some of the guys you need to be more consistent this season.”

Before you go naming any names, Grandpa, shut it right there. There will be some off nights still. For most of the team. Just about everyone on the roster is in the first half of their careers, and by nature then also on the upswing. By extension, that also means they’ll still be learning on the job. Even if you’re tired of hearing about their youth. The pieces are there. They’re figuring it out, and they will improve again.

“I really hate Michael Malone’s beard.”

Yeah, you hated my beard as well, grandpa. At least his grew in better than mine.

“As long as he doesn’t shave it into that douche tag you did.”

They call that a soul patch, grandpa. But it did make me look like a giant douche, agreed.

“The beginning of this season is where these guys really need to make hay. The schedule at the end looks to be brutal, and they have to get out to a hotter start to make a difference in how they finish this year. They don’t look like they’re ready to get off to a hot start yet, do they?”

Shut up, Grandpa. The Nuggets know the preseason is more about working through their pieces, seeing who’s ready, and figuring out combinations. There are tough teams scattered throughout the season, and the some of the teams you think will be pushovers will be tough, and some of the teams you have marked as tough may be in a different spot throughout the season. Take the games one at a time, and come out trying to win every one. That’s what the team is talking about as well. Get the W’s, however you can.

There’s several more, but I’ll stop chatting with a dead relative at this point to tell you that I’m certain that your Denver Nuggets have all the right pieces in all the right places to push themselves back into the playoffs this season, and they look even better than they have coming into their previous three. This is obviously the year they break back through that playoff layer, with all of the hard work of the last three years taking shape. Nothing to worry about, right?


Shut up, Grandpa.

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