By Marc Mandell
This week is a little light on number of games, but high on excitement!! Only two games until the All-Star break, and Denver has to finish strong. Their new trade acquisition should help with that too. I’m sure you’ve heard the news, so allow me to enlighten you, if you haven’t already done it yourself.
— The Vertical (@TheVertical) February 12, 2017
Nurkic was sour grapes in Denver since Jokic starting making his presence felt, and made the starting roster. It’s not so much that Nurkic was bad, just…disenfranchised. He felt he needed more minutes, his play said otherwise. Denver has been looking for a trade partner for some time now.
It seems they have found said partner in Portland. The team right behind Denver in the standings. Weird right? Yeah, I agree. Anyway, the Nuggets get Mason Plumlee. Basically the two teams traded centers. Plumlee isn’t quite the defender that Nurkic can be, but he is a better shooter and passer. Something Portland was able to exploit pretty well.
The dill in the sweets here, is that Plumlee is a free agent at the end of the year. Though only as a restricted free agent, making it more likely he will re-sign with Denver. Portland was going to have a luxury tax issue if they had kept him, and Nurkic is still on a cheap rookie deal.
Both teams got what they were looking for, more or less. Portland got a defender, and a 1st round pick, and Denver got real similar depth behind Jokic and 2nd round pick. A round that Tim Connelly has had success with. Overall, I feel pretty good about it, and I’m excited to see how it plays out here in Denver.
Now on to the Match Ups for the week of 2/12/17
GS Vs DEN 2/13/17
Yeah, KD, Curry, Thompson, Green…the lot of ’em. Look, it’s in Denver, but..it’s Golden State. I don’t expect the Nuggets to beat the Warriors, and it’s okay. Portland has to play the Hawks. Some good news there.
Durant is on a tear, and in the middle of an “up yours” tour to all the haters that have been bustin his chops to bits since he took his talents to…the greater bay area. He is playing really well, as he should be. Curry is Curry and Thompson is always in top form.
Golden State averages 118 points per game, 23-5 record on the road, 8-2 over the last 10 games, and a 46-8 overall record. It’ll be a tough night for the Nuggs.
Obviously a +.500 team. A way +.500 team.
MIN Vs DEN 2/15/17
Denver is 2-1 against the T-Wolves this season so far. 1-1 with the current line-up. The game is at home, and Minnesota is a below .500 team. This one feels good on the surface.
The Timberwolves have a solid line-up with Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng, but they really struggle on the road at 7-17 and are allowing more points than they are scoring.
Truth is, they are one of the worst teams in the league and are on a 4-6 10 game stretch. Even without Gallo and Mudiay, the Nuggets are playing decent basketball, and have a good starting line-up. Mudiay’s absence may even be helping because Nelson is shooting really well. So well in fact that he is a top 5 scorer in the 4th quarter in the NBA. Murray is coming along, leaving Mudiay time to heal, which seems to be taking more time than it should.
As a below .500 team, a home game with plenty to play for leaves me thinking that the Nuggets will split the games this week, going 1-1.
Things to watch:
- Keep your eye on Plumlee as the bench guy for Jokic
- Will Barton’s production, if he gets another start in place of Faried
- Third quarter play from the Nuggets, can they come out of half-time strong?
- Points in the paint and defensive rebounds
Thanks as always for reading and I look forward to talking with you on Facebook 360Sports Review, and on twitter @Mandell_w.