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Coach Karl’s Corner: The Nuggets are in a key eight-game stretch

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

A dozen games into the season, the Nuggets are 6-6. Here are some early thoughts:

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A Key Stretch

After a very average start for the Nuggets, the next couple weeks are an important stretch during this early part of this highly unusual pandemic season.

If they win all three games of their current homestand (which got off to a good start last night in a 114-104 win over the Warriors), they will be 8-6. From there, they have a tough, five-game road trip, including a back-to-back set against the Suns, followed by the Mavericks, Heat and Spurs.

The Mavs and Heat look like they could be special teams this year and the Suns are clearly in that discussion too. So this stretch will be telling.

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Too Much Jokic?

I continue to marvel at Nikola Jokic’s play. I’m glad to see him being called the best center in the league now and an early MVP candidate. Unfortunately, the team is relying on him to play extremely well and also play a lot of early season minutes. They are playing poorly when he’s not on the floor and probably stand around too much when he’s in the game.

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Missing Grant

I loved Jerami Grant with the Nuggets and it’s not surprising to me they are missing him badly. It’s also not surprising that Grant is playing so well in Detroit. Head coach Dwane Casey and the Pistons are expanding his role and offensive opportunities, which is what he was seeking. He looks like a star in the league now.

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The Harden Trade

The big NBA talk this week has been the James Harden trade to the Nets. I love Steve Nash and have always rooted for him. And, Harden is a great player. But, I really don’t like this trade.

It’s a tough hand for a first-year coach like Nash to deal with and it’s another sign of the NBA becoming a player-first league. I don’t see Coach Nash playing all three stars – Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – at the same time often during the games and I would be very surprised if it becomes a championship formula.