Nuggets practice facility to be made available for players

Progress is being made on the NBA player workout front. On an individual level, that is. Not on a team level just yet. Here’s the Denver Post reporting:

Beginning Friday, the Nuggets’ practice facility will be available to players for voluntary individual workouts, a league source confirmed, but it’s unclear how many players will take advantage. A significant portion of the players aren’t currently in Denver.

If they do choose to take advantage – the first tentative step toward a potential return-to-play – there will be rigorous rules in place at the Pepsi Center practice court. No more than four players will be permitted at the facility at any time, and for any individual workout, only one team staff member can work with the player.

The fate of the currently-suspended NBA season will probably be known in the coming weeks. There’s no deadline for the NBA to make a decision, but conventional wisdom suggests more will be known sometime in May.

Michael Porter Jr. showed nice flashes of talent for Nuggets this season

At 43-22, good for third best in the Western conference, the Denver Nuggets were one of the best teams in the league this season. Here’s the Denver Post on a talented young member of the squad’s supporting cast, Michael Porter Jr:

On Oct. 31 in New Orleans, Porter scored a team-high 15 points in his professional debut, but it came during an embarrassing pummeling to the Pelicans. It was unsettling because his personal triumph came amid a painful loss. To his credit, he struck the right tone.

For the next two months, he was a part of the revolving door at small forward, splitting time with Craig and Hernangomez. None of them found much rhythm, and Porter wasn’t getting the consistent minutes that would allow him to maintain confidence on offense or develop as a defender. Finally, in late December, he had his breakout game (19 points, 8-of-10 shooting) in his first start vs. the Kings. Two games later, at Indiana, he had the highlight of his season.

Porter hung a career-high 25 points against the Pacers and served as the catalyst for a significant road win. The degree of difficulty on some of the shots he hit that night validated some of the rumors that had trickled out of the Nuggets’ practice court.

Porter played sparingly, averaging 7.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per game, but he shot well: 49.5% from the field and 42.2% from three-point range. There’s every reason to believe he’ll keep improving.

The NBA season remains on hold due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Member of Denver Nuggets tests positive for coronavirus

The Denver Nuggets today released a statement that on Thursday, March 19th, a member of the organization tested positive for COVID-19. The person was tested after experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 on March 16th and is currently under the care of team medical staff and in self-isolation.

It’s not known if the person is a player or not.

The testing was undertaken following guidance from state public health officials and team physicians.

The Nuggets say they “will continue to work in coordination with team physicians, public health officials and infectious disease experts, while focusing on the health and safety of everyone in our community.”

There are now seven NBA players that have tested positive for coronavirus, not including this member of the Nuggets, who may or may not be a player.

Nuggets sign Troy Daniels, who played for Lakers earlier this season

The Denver Nuggets signed guard Troy Daniels today.

Daniels, 6-4, 205, is a seven-year NBA veteran who has appeared in 41 games for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, averaging 4.2 points and 1.1 rebounds, shooting 39.2% from the field and 35.7% from three in 11.1 minutes per game.

Daniels has played in 333 career games (20 starts) for Houston, Minnesota, Charlotte, Memphis, Phoenix and Los Angeles, holding career averages of 6.6 points and 1.3 rebounds on 40.1% shooting from the field and 39.7% from three-point range.

The 28-year-old went undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft after spending four seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Daniels will wear #30 for the Nuggets.

Nuggets sign coach Mike Malone to contract extension

The Denver Nuggets and Head Coach Michael Malone have agreed to a contract extension, Vice Chairman of KSE Josh Kroenke and President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced Tuesday.

According to ESPN, Malone’s extension runs through the 2022-23 NBA season.

Malone is coming off a season in which he led the Nuggets to a 54-28 record, their second-best overall record in franchise history, en route to the #2 seed in the Western Conference. The Nuggets also advanced to the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2008-09. Since Malone took over prior to the 2015-16 season, the Nuggets have improved on their win total by a total of 24 wins (+3 after first season, +7 after second, +6 after third and +8 after fourth), making Denver the only team in the NBA to increase their win total in each of the last four seasons. The Nuggets previously agreed to a contract extension with Coach Malone on Oct. 17, 2018.

According to the Denver Post, “as the Nuggets deal with their first year of real expectations, Malone has been noticeably more measured on the sidelines this season. He knows that his demeanor will be reflected in how his team plays, and it’s one area of tangible growth. On Monday, when the Nuggets showed composure in their riveting comeback win over the Suns, Malone tried to embody how he wanted his team to conduct itself.”

“This season and team has been about continuity, with Coach Malone being the first piece of that,” stated Josh Kroenke. “We are thrilled to continue to have him lead this promising young roster and are excited about what the future holds. Coach Malone has been pivotal in this organization’s success and will continue to be so.”

“We have been very fortunate to have Coach Malone lead our resurgence. His tireless work ethic and passion are clearly reflected in the continued improvement of our roster,” said Tim Connelly. “We are all extremely excited for him to continue to lead our team as we try to build a championship level organization.”

Through 357 games as Denver’s head coach, Malone has compiled a record of 194-163 (.543), ranking him fourth in franchise history in wins among head coaches.

“I would like to thank Josh, Stan and the entire Kroenke family, along with Tim Connelly and the front office, for continuing to believe and trust in me as their head coach,” Malone said. “None of this would be possible without the hard work, dedication and trust from our players as well as the entire coaching staff. I’d also like to thank the amazing fans in Denver who have helped make Pepsi Center one of the toughest places to play in the NBA once again. I look forward to continuing our ultimate goal of winning NBA Championships.”

LeBron James misses first game of season, Lakers lose to Nuggets

LeBron James finally missed a game this season, as the Lakers fell to the Nuggets Sunday. Here’s the Denver Post reporting:

The Nuggets strode into the Staples Center and rocked the Lakers 128-104 on Sunday night, improving to 20-8 and stretching their winning streak to six. They’ll go for seven on Monday night in Phoenix against the Suns.

Though James was ruled out with a rib injury — the first game he has missed all season — the Nuggets put together a fantastic collective effort that might have won them the game had he been healthy.

Paul Millsap scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, but his dogged effort on Lakers superstar Anthony Davis was arguably more valuable. Though Davis finished with 32 points, Millsap chased him around the court and hounded him as the Lakers fought fruitlessly to get back into the game.

And the OC Register:

Unlike his trademark unibrow, Anthony Davis does his best work in a pair.

That’s not to say that the 26-year-old’s 32-point, 11-rebound, four-block game on Sunday night didn’t make him look like a star. But the performance came without a win, which has become the ultimate bottom line in a Lakers (24-6) season with renewed championship aspirations.

It was telling that even as Davis checked back in to start the fourth quarter, the visiting Denver Nuggets (20-8) kept on pulling away. In a 128-104 loss — the Lakers’ third straight and the largest margin of defeat this season — it was clear that Davis sorely lacked his running mate, LeBron James.

The Lakers have gotten national attention all season — quite justifiably — but the Nuggets deserve big praise as well. They’re 20-8 this season and their win Sunday was their sixth straight victory.

They’re being led in scoring this season by Jamal Murray (17.5 ppg), Nikola Jokic (17.3 ppg), Will Barton (14.6 ppg), Paul Millsap (13.0 ppg) and Gary Harris (11.3 ppg). But defense is why the Nuggets are having an excellent year. They’re second best in the league in that department, only behind the Bucks.

 

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Nets stay hot, beat Nuggets 105-102

We’ll be writing about this ourselves later tonight, but for right now, here’s the Denver Post reporting:

Brooklyn guard Spencer Dinwiddie bullied his way to the rack twice in the final minute as the Nets hung on to beat the Nuggets 105-102. The loss dropped Denver to 14-7 and 1-2 on this road trip with a matchup at Philadelphia on Tuesday.

“They dominated the paint 66-22,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone. “That third quarter was a joke. … Seemed like it was layup lines out there. We took away the 3-point line, but there was no resistance at the rim.”

The loss spoiled a strong 3-point shooting night from Jerami Grant, who poured in five of Denver’s 18 makes. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 45 points, but Brooklyn’s relentless inside attack undermined their productivity.

The Nets have looked like a blatantly better team with Spencer Dinwiddie running the show lately. Kyrie Irving isn’t set to return just yet, but once he does, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson will have some interesting decisions to make.

Bol Bol quickly blocking shots in the G League

 

 

 

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Denver Nuggets rookie Bol Bol is signed to a two-way contract, which means he’ll be spending most of the 2019-20 season playing in the G League. The Nuggets, of course, get to decide whether or not to also let him get some actual NBA experience. But first, he must prove himself at a lower pro level, while wearing a Windy City Bulls uniform:

According to the Denver Post, “his defensive acumen, boosted by his timing and size, is already apparent. After logging four blocks in his G League debut last Friday, he’s averaging 2.7 per game in just over 17 minutes through three games. As a result of surgery on his left foot that limited him to nine games at Oregon, Bol is on a minutes restriction in the range of 15 to 20 per game. Any lingering effects from his injury weren’t noticeable over his first three games.”

Bol Bol’s full G League stats through three games are 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 17.3 minutes per outing.

The Nuggets through Thursday are 10-3 this season, which ties them for the fourth best record in the league.

Nuggets sign Brandon Goodwin, waive DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell

The Denver Nuggets have signed guard Brandon Goodwin to a two-way contract and have waived guard/forward DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell.

Goodwin, 6-2, 180, was previously signed by Denver on Nov. 29 with the injury hardship relief exception granted by the NBA. He has yet to appear in an NBA game, but has played in 10 games this season for the Memphis Hustle of the NBA G League and averaged 23.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.70 steals on 52.0% shooting.

The Norcross, GA native went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft after spending his first two years of college at the University of Central Florida and his final two seasons at Florida Gulf Coast University. Goodwin was named the 2018 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, was an AP All-American Honorable Mention in 2018 and named Atlantic Sun First Team All-Conference in both 2017 and 2018.

Akoon-Purcell, 6-5, 200, was a member of the Denver Nuggets 2018 Las Vegas Summer League Entry and signed a two-way contract with the Nuggets heading into this season. He appeared in seven games with Denver, averaging 1.0 points in 3.1 minutes per game. He has appeared in two games for the Delaware Blue Coats of the NBA G League, averaging 24.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.00 steals in 29.0 minutes per game.

Nikola Jokic`s passing ability big for Nuggets

 

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The Nuggets are 17-7, which is the second best record in the entire league, and they’re truly doing it as a team, with incredibly balanced scoring. One thing that sets them apart is their best passer and play-maker is center Nikola Jokic, who is averaging 7.8 assists per game this season to go with his 16.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per outing. He’s having a fantastic, All-Star level season. Here’s the Denver Post reporting:

Jokic’s 9.9 assists per game in Denver’s seven-game winning streak are tied with Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry for second-most in the NBA during that span. The next nine players on the list are all point guards.

His ability to control a game with his passing isn’t new, but it has been the catalyst for the Nuggets’ longest winning streak since the 2013-’14 season.

Jokic, who averaged 6.1 assists last season and ranks eighth alongside only point guards with his 7.8 dimes so far this season, has been an anomaly since he joined the league.

“I think last 15 games, we’re No. 1 in the league in assists per game at over 30,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “That’s when we’re at our best when we have player movement, ball movement, guys cutting and getting high percentage looks. I think that’s what allows Nikola to be the player that he is. He may not be shooting the best percentages in the world, but he can still contribute and dominate a game with his playmaking, his rebounding and other areas.”

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