Isaiah Thomas has been floating around the league over the last few seasons, landing in Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and now Denver. With Will Barton starting at small forward, and getting away from his sixth man role, Thomas will now fill that role. It doesn’t help on the defensive side, which is a big problem for Denver this season. Thomas averaged 15 points per game in a down shooting year last season, at 37%. Thomas has produced over 20 points per game in back to back years in Boston. Denver has already had a solid core built, but defensive presence would have been a better addition.
Jamal Murray was drafted seventh overall back in 2016, and after struggling in his rookie year, Murray picked up his game big time last season. He finished the year averaging 16 points, and shot 45% from the field. The peripheral stats are low, and that comes with the offense flowing through other members of the team, like Nikola Jokic. I would not expect Murray’s peripheral stats to pick up anytime soon, but the scoring efficiency is what Denver would need. Murray being even an average defender against his own position would be a big help as well. Keep an eye on the third year guard out of Kentucky.
Nikola Jokic got paid this offseason, making over $100 million over till 2022-23. This is a monster deal, and it has been a while since we have seen the Nuggets dish out a huge contact like this. Jokic is coming off a career high in points, averaging 18 per game, but it is about much more with him. He averaged 10 rebounds and 6 assists over last season, with 1.2 steals per game. Jokic is an efficient scorer, but his passing ability is what really sets him apart from every big. If you are asking us, Jokic is well worth the money.
The Denver Nuggets just missed the playoffs last season after a one game play-in against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nuggets did not make many moves over the offseason, trusting their roster for this season. Denver has one of the best offenses in basketball right now, but one of the worst defenses. In the Western Conference, Denver is looking to just outscore every team every night. Not having a lockdown defender is a huge problem for the Nuggets, especially with the offensive juggernauts they are facing this season. It could be what bites Denver come the end of the season.
The Nuggets are a young team, and their star center is just 23 years old. The backcourt of Gary Harris and Jamal Murray are both under the age of 25. Paul Millsap is the veteran on this team, as well as Will Barton. They have some youth off the bench like Trey Lyles, and looking forward Denver looks to be in really good shape. Keeping this core together will be important, and at the moment they have everyone tied down. Making a move seems non-optimal at this point, so you hope the Nuggets front court does not get frustrated with missing the playoffs or early exits.