COLUMNS

The Nuggets offseason has been unbelievably underwhelming

Sep 2, 2021, 10:56 AM
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)...
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

When the Nuggets were swept out of the NBA Playoffs by the Suns, the apologists were all singing the same tune. It was one big excuse for meekly exiting the postseason.

“Look at the guards,” they said. “What is Michael Malone supposed to do with that lineup?”

It was laughable, of course. It was a total free pass for Denver’s head coach.

Yes, the Nuggets were without Jamal Murray. The guard had been lost for the season with a torn ACL in April.

But they still had the league’s Most Valuable Player, Nikola Jokic. They still had one of the finalists for the NBA’s Most Improved Player, Michael Porter Jr. And everyone else was healthy, minus P.J. Dozier, a journeyman guard.

Nonetheless, Denver went down in four straight games, losing by an average of nearly 16 points. They didn’t just get beat; the Nuggets got steamrolled.

As a result, it seemed logical that changes would come during the offseason. After all, Murray won’t be back until after the All-Star break. And even then, it’ll take a while for him to get back to playing at his previous level.

So the Nuggets couldn’t stand pat. They couldn’t waste another season of Jokic’s prime. They couldn’t sit and watch their window of opportunity close.

Welp, so much for that plan.

Thus far during the offseason, Denver has been very inactive. They certainly haven’t bolstered their roster.

They drafted Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland in August, but the rookie probably won’t play much in 2021-22. Malone doesn’t put first-year players on the floor much, similar to what Zeke Nnaji experienced last season; he averaged 9.5 minutes per game.

In addition, Denver re-signed JaMychal Green, a forward who didn’t fill the void left when Jerami Grant departed for Detroit. They also re-upped with Will Barton and brought back Austin Rivers.

The only new addition was Jeff Green. The 35-year-old power forward will replace 36-year-old Paul Millsap, who signed with Brooklyn.

So when the Nuggets tip off the season on Oct. 20, against the same Suns that swept them four months earlier, things will look very much the same as the last time the two teams played. Denver’s lineup won’t have changed at all:

STARTERS
C – Nikola Jokic
PF – Aaron Gordon
SF – Michael Porter, Jr.
SG – Will Barton
PG – Monte Morris

RESERVES
PG – Facundo Campazzo
SG – Austin Rivers
PF – JaMychal Green

Millsap didn’t get off the bench that night. Maybe Green will.

Otherwise, it’ll be the same thing. Deja vu all over again.

So if that lineup wasn’t good enough to compete in June, how will it fare in October, November, December and beyond? What has possibly changed?

Get excited, Nuggets Nation. The same roster that supposedly wasn’t good enough to compete against the Suns will be back this season. Denver is keeping the band together!

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The Nuggets offseason has been unbelievably underwhelming