Upcoming homestand provides chance for the Nuggets to right the ship

Nov 5, 2021, 6:38 AM
DENVER, COLORADO - OCTOBER 25: Michael Porter Jr. #1 of the Denver Nuggets plays the Cleveland Cava...
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Win two, lose two. Win two, lose two. At 4-4, the Nuggets aren’t off to the start they had hoped for, but eight games into the NBA season is no time to panic. However, the next two weeks are critical for Michael Malone’s team to turn things around.

Denver plays seven of its next eight games inside the friendly confines of Ball Arena, and they need to win at least six of them. Anything less is asking for trouble when 14 of the following 19 games will be on the road until the end of December.

If Denver doesn’t step up now, things could get ugly with that December schedule. Here’s how they can do it:


Switch It Up

The Nuggets starters have been a dominant unit this season thanks mostly in part to the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. The starting five has put up ridiculous numbers despite Michael Porter Jr. and Monte Morris struggling to shoot and make plays. The combination of Jokic, Aaron Gordon and Will Barton is the key. They’re going to win the minutes they play together most nights regardless of who is on the court with them. It’s time to give some of the struggling bench veterans more run with those three. Jeff and JaMychal Green could use the easier looks they would get by playing with Jokic to see some shots fall and regain their confidence.


The Bench Breaks Out

The brutal bench combination of Facu Campazzo, both Greens, Austin Rivers, and P.J. Dozier has been a disaster. Malone gave those veterans a much-deserved opportunity to begin the season, but they don’t work together as a unit. Staggering Porter and Morris more will give the bench some scoring punch, and could also help those two players’ confidence playing more against other teams’ subs. Bench players have always played better at home than on the road in the NBA, so Denver needs to figure this out this week.


Shoot the Three

The Nuggets rank 28th in the NBA in three-point shooting at just 30%. Only dreadful Oklahoma City and Detroit are worse at making the long ball. Specifically, Michael Porter Jr. at 21.7%, JaMychal Green at 20% and Jeff Green at 17.6%. You can’t win in today’s NBA when you’re getting outscored by 30-plus points at the three-point line alone. Let Jokic help the Greens break out at home. Get Porter some different looks playing with the other bench combos and help him discover his stroke.


All Gas, No Brakes

When the Nuggets offense has stalled in the past, the answer has always been to pick up the pace. They can play faster, especially with elevation on their side, and open up the game. Bones Hyland has proven he deserves big minutes in the rotation, now let him go full throttle and attack the rim. He’s shown to be a willing passer in his minutes so far, so lets see how the team responds if he’s turned loose to pick up the pace.


Saturday’s game against the rebuilding Rockets should be a get-right game to start the home stretch. But after that, some of the beasts of the East in Miami, Atlanta, Philly, and Chicago all visit during a seven-game stretch. The Nuggets need to get right before it’s too late.


DENVER, COLORADO - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets reacts to a call whi...
Jerry Schemmel

The Nuggets responded in a big way to their head coach calling them out

After a brutal loss in Los Angeles, when they squandered a 25-point lead, Michael Malone ripped into his team, a move that seems to have worked
3 days ago
DENVER, CO - JUNE 13: Michael Porter Jr. (1) of the Denver Nuggets walks to the locker room after t...
Rachel Vigil

The Fan’s Nuggets Fast Break: Will MPJ make a return this season?'s Rachel Vigil and James Merilatt discuss a possible return for young Nuggets start Michael Porter Jr. this season and more
4 days ago
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets and Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets celebrate their w...
Jerry Schemmel

The Nuggets have the key ingredient to make a championship run

Throughout NBA history, there has been one constant about championship teams, an element that the Nuggets should have for years to come
5 days ago
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 08: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts against the New...
Jerry Schemmel

Nikola Jokic is on pace to shatter three all-time Nuggets records

The Joker is on pace to supplant Alex English and Dan Issel atop some impressive lists, but there are too marks that might be beyond his reach
10 days ago
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 08: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts against the New...
Chad Andrus

With the deck stacked against them, are the Nuggets at a breaking point?

Between injuries and COVID protocols, the Nuggets have been forced to play a lot of hodgepodge lineups, leading to disjointed basketball
10 days ago
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 05: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets handles the ball against the Utah J...
Johnny Hart

The Fan’s Nuggets Fast Break: Jokic continues to be special

On the back of reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, a depleted Nuggets roster continues to hang in there until Denver gets more healthy
11 days ago
Upcoming homestand provides chance for the Nuggets to right the ship