So far during this scrimmage preseason, the Denver Nuggets have leaned all the way in on Nikola Jokic as their starting point guard. Their doughy, goofy, 7’0 dude who has always been considered a center is playing point guard.
If you want the mold broken, the Denver Nuggets are breaking the mold.
We’re in an era where we’re seeing players who are unheralded. We’ve never seen a player like LeBron. We’ve never seen a player like Giannis. We’ve never seen a player like Steph. And we’ve never seen a player like Jokic.
There have been only five players 7’0 or taller to average five assists per game over the course of a season: Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Vlade Divac, Tom Boerwinkle, and Nikola Jokic.
There has been somewhere in the range of 375 players under 7’0 to average five assists per game over the course of a season.
Whether because of his physique, style, or productivity, Jokic has always been a novel player. Mike Malone experimenting with him actually playing point guard only adds to that novelty.
Will it work? Who knows. But it’ll be fun as hell to watch.
Denver is the best NBA city (just because it’s in Colorado)
My theory is that cities are all the same, for the most part. Sometimes, you’ll find a unicorn. It’s not always for the good, but at least it’s different. New Orleans, for example. There’s only one New Orleans. That I’ve seen at least.
Good neighborhoods? Sure. The only cities that don’t have them are shitty cities that aren’t worth visiting. Even Dallas can pull that off.
What makes a truly unique city is that which is unrepeatable. I think about visiting a communist bunker in Prague. A few climber havens I’ve been to, these places that are basically communes of climbers. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, randomly, but don’t tell anyone I told you or else they’ll all come kill me.
To be honest, Denver is a mediocre city. It’s fine. There are some cool neighborhoods. It’s very dog friendly. It’s young, hip.
What makes Denver and Boulder worth the New York City style of rents we pay are the mountains. Mountains are really great. You can climb up them. Or you can just chill and drink beer and look at them. Either way is cool.
Brendan Malone was an assistant coach for the Pistons twice, during the Bad Boys years in 1988-1995 and again under Stan Van Gundy from 2014-2016. His son, of course, is Nuggets coach Mike Malone.
A loose tie, to be sure, but hey, the Pistons have sucked for an awful long time. They’re not likely to have too many ties with contenders.
The Nuggets went 43-22 with a 22 year old starter, a 24 year old starter, and two 25 year old starters. They also have a prospect who has shown star potential and just turned 22 in Michael Porter Jr. There’s also Bol Bol, a 7’2 20 year old who has been playing small forward at times in this mid-season preseason.
This team is really good and they’re going to stay really good. There’s just so much talent, versatility, flexibility, and just flat out weirdness with this team.
I really like Jamal Murray. The dude has averaged 18/4.8 the past two years and he only just turned 23, he works his ass off, and he’s a very solid human being. He’s an easy guy to root for. But I’m going to talk more instead about Michael Porter Jr.
The Clippers had two picks with the opportunity to pick MPJ. They passed. The Knicks took Kevin Knox. The Cavs took Colin Sexton. The Suns, who took DeAndre Ayton with their first pick, would look better with Porter.
He fell in the draft because of injury. But this dude is really good. The 2018 Draft is going to go down as the Luka Draft, to be sure. But after that, it’ll be Trae Young and Michael Porter Jr.
Super long athletic dudes who can shoot and post a 39/42/76 shooting line as a rookie tend to find some success.
They can actually win
I know that as Pistons fans, the idea of expecting to win is quite foreign. I mean, even considering the possibility is weird. Our standards have gotten pretty low for our team.
But we don’t have to have that same mentality for picking a bubble team to cheer for. We can actually pick a team that has a chance to win. It’s ok.
And plus, it’s actually a great year for picking a potential winner too. The field is more open than it has been in years. You could argue that the Bucks are the lazy bandwagon pick, but you could also say the same for the Lakers or Clippers.
It’s a rather open field. And the Nuggets could weird their way to a win. Which would just be super fun to ride that ridiculousness with them.