There's Something To Be Said About This Nuggets Team…It's A Group Of Honey Badgers
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
In my article the other day, after Trae Young cooked and danced all over the Nuggets, I called them "the worst 7-3 team in hoops history". That was an overreaction to say the least. After a gritty, grimy, win against the Nets last night, the Nuggies moved to 8-3. In those 8 wins, Malone himself has reiterated the fact they've played one good game all year. For a team that's played one good game, they're tied for 2nd in the most competitive Western Conference in years. That alone should be terrifying to the rest of the NBA. An NBA team that is positive they can play better, is winning at a .727% clip.
The win last night proved something about this Nuggets team that didn't seem evident last year. For the first time since the Chauncy-Melo days, the Nuggets are aware that they're a bad group of MFers. Down 12 at half, I amongst many others, were ready to pull the fire alarm on this Nuggets team. They had a home game against a very beatable Nets team, coming off a big loss to a developing Hawks team. Even though its VERY EARLY, this felt like a must win game, and the Nuggets failed to show up on both sides of the floor for the 1st half.
Never question Michael G. Malone (G stands for greatest; I couldn't actually find his middle name) and his halftime speeches. You can't control when the offense shows up and when it doesn't. You can create good looks and take good shots, but some nights the shots just don't fall. The sign of a great team is when you elevate your defense because the shots aren't falling on the other end. The Nuggets not only elevated their defense, they held the Nets to 32 in the whole 2nd half. I can promise one thing: You can have the worst offense in the league and be a dominant team in the NBA if you hold teams to under 50 a half.
Straight out of half(excluding the legitimate first Nets possesion out of half), the Nuggets just had that 'we the big dog' mentality. They weren't going to let a lack of defense be why they lost. Nikola Jokic didn't seem to find his game until late in the 4th quarter and Jamal Murray was still struggling to find his shot; A guaranteed recipe for disaster of the 2018-19 Nuggets squad. This 19-20 team is different though. It reminds me of the tail years of those famous Timmy D-Tony P Spurs teams. To beat them, you gotta stop all 12 of them, not just the stars. 6-2 when trailing at half isn't a normal team.
Behind the leadership of 77 year old Paul Milsap (uncalled for from Joker), the Nuggets came with the next man up mentality. Juancho Hernangomez, whose struggled to find minutes all year, gave the Nuggets a quality 19:00. Mason Plumlee filled right in when Malone pulled Joker for poor play. Big Game Tae also threw in 19 minutes, in which he was dishin' and dimin' all over. For the first time in 2019 season, the Nuggets bench was the reason they won. They contributed 34 points and three of them finished with a +5 or better!
The Nuggets offense has yet to find themselves all year and I get that. We as fans all need to calm down and just give it some time. We know this Nuggets team is one of the most talented bunches in the NBA and is guided by one of the best coaches in the league. The offense will come as Malone figures out better rotations and players build up chemistry. Jerami Grant wasn't a perfect puzzle piece like we all imagined, but you don't find gold without shaking the sand. Jerami Grant has a definitive role on this team and is slowly discovering exactly what that is. MPJ is still getting used to pace and physicality of NBA play, but we've all seen that pull up jumper. How many of us wouldn't sleep with it if we could? You can't teach smooth and MPJ is full of it, not all rookies are Ja Morant and dominate from first tip. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic is one of the most lethal duos in the NBA and it will only be so long until they both bust out of slumps. The defense is for real and when this Nuggets team finds the offense, I truly believe there won't be a more dominant team in the NBA.
CC:King James, the Klaw, and Greak Freak. We coming.
I only added that Joker clip because it deserves to be shared on every website in the country.