The Denver Nuggets have had their fair share of struggles so far this season, with a new head coach, a bottom-tier defense and numerous injuries to key players. We were joined this episode by Justin Faudree, a lifelong Denver Nuggets fan and periodic contributor to ESPN TrueHoop’s Roundball Mining. He takes us through all the reasons why this team has gotten off to such a poor start this season, with only one win so far against a winning team. Despite that, he is still optimistic for the future and believes that with a young core of Mudiay, Jokic and Nurkic, there are good times ahead.
Choice cuts are highlighted below:
4:45-5:40: “[Will Barton’s] been the team’s most consistent player. He’s basically taken mostly the entire offensive burden, especially when Gallinari went out with injury and Mudiay has missed 14 straight games… For what he’s had to carry and do everything so efficiently, it’s crazy, especially for someone who basically came out of nowhere for the most part.”
7:25-8:25: A possible silver lining for Emmanuel Mudiay’s ankle injury: “[Mudiay] might benefit from taking a step back and taking some time to observe the game because he’s the kind of guy who will do that. He’s a very, very hard worker. He takes his job very seriously even at 19. And he has, off the court, the right kind of attitude in order to overcome his problems, I’m sure. So, when he gets back from injury, we’ll be able to see more what he processed and if he was able to gain anything from that, and I’m betting that he did.”
15:15-17:00: Regarding the Nuggets’ continued defensive woes: “I think Mike Malone has actually improved the defense to some extent this year with his scheme even though it might not show in the stats. I think there is a serious problem that is actually being remedied at this point in that they really have not emphasized defense in the players that they’ve drafted and traded for. But I think it’s changing now in the last two or three years, getting players like Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic and even Joffrey Lauvergne… So hopefully that turns around especially with Mike Malone coaching.”
18:05-20:15: “The history of the organization is that they are always willing to trade players and I think that that has been a huge problem in why they are where they are. They have had very little continuity over the last decade for the most part, even going back to Carmelo and Andre Miller. They’ve had a history of being injured for over a decade. They’ve had a history of trading major pieces. They’ve had a history of just so much turnover in every aspect of the organization, from front office and general manager to the roster… They just have no dedication to letting a team build and coalesce. In my opinion, they need to relax with that and let this team grow together. I think that making any rash decisions before the deadline would be wrong.”
27:15-27:45: Optimism for the future: “Denver fans should be more excited and enthusiastic about this team than they have been in years. They have a lot of good young players and I think they’re going to give them a chance to grow together. With players like Jokic and Nurkic and hopefully Mudiay, I think that they are going to be very good very soon.”
Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod