Wins: @LA Lakers (97-88); vs. San Antonio (98-94).
Losses: @LA Lakers (90-88); @OKC (109-81); @LA Clippers (118-111 OT); vs. Phoenix (98-79); @Chicago (94-89)
A. Miller/N. Robinson
R. Foye/E. Fournier
A. Randolph/J. Hamilton
J. Hickson/K. Faried
J. McGee/D. Arthur
Key injuries: T. Lawson, D. Gallinari, W. Chandler
It’s a testament to just how deep the Nuggets are that they can walk into opening night missing 3 starters potentially and still look like a deep team on paper. New coach Brian Shaw has emphasized using the bigs in his attempt to organize the offense. You would think given their best big is Javale McGee that maybe they should look elsewhere, but McGee has responded so far at times with impressive albeit inconsistent performances. Without Ty Lawson, the mighty-mite heart of the offense, the Nuggets will likely look to the
walking corpse ageless Andre Miller to power the team with the always caffeinated eclectic Nate Robinson off the bench. On defense this is a long and athletic frontcourt (6’11 at SF, 6’10 at PF, 7’1 at C) but lack real girth outside of Mozgov on the bench.
3 Players to Watch:
Javale McGee: The Nuggets made a sizeable effort to feature McGee in the preseason with results varying from dynamic to disastrous. He’s always had the physical tools to be a monster player, but his basketball IQ has always made him a Shaqtin’ a Fool superstar. Against the Kings, expect to see him featured early and often. Question is, which McGee will show up Wednesday night? And how will he defend Demarcus Cousins, who (contrary to the belief of "analysts" everywhere) is actually more bothered by girth than length? Last 5 games: 10.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.8 bpg, 0.2 spg on 38.0 FG%/0.0 3PT%/65.2 FT% in 24.4 mpg
Anthony Randolph: years removed from his memorable Summer League performance, he might have finally found a home in Denver. Granted that Randolph is the MVP of all games that count for nothing, his preseason has been eye-opening nonetheless. He’s a wiry 6’11 gazelle with some guard skills, which could spell trouble for whichever pylon the Kings start at SF. With pretty much their entire projected SF rotation lost to injury, the Nuggets will need Randolph to produce. Last five games: 11 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.4 bpg, 1.4 spg on 46.9 FG%/14.3 3PT%/50.0 FT% in 22.6 mpg
Evan Fournier: The second year guard from France has been pretty impressive this preseason. He might just be the best shooter on a team starved for some spacing. Also, he’s pretty decisively outperformed Randy Foye so far and might just become the starter sooner rather than later. Depends on how comfortable Shaw will be starting younger players as opposed to veterans and how quickly the 20 year old picks up Shaw’s defensive schemes. Last 5 games: 9.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.0 bpg, 1.2 spg on 46.2 FG%/36.4 3PT%/60.0 FT% in 20.4 mpg