The Bucks are a reminder that hope is not lost for the Nuggets
After playing well for a couple of consecutive weeks, the Denver Nuggets have hit a rough patch. But there is absolutely no need to get overly excited. The team will come back around. It just needs to get healthy. And in the meantime, play together and play defense.
These kinds of stretches in a long NBA season, happen to almost every team, almost every year. The Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA reigning champs, are a perfect example.
Last season, when they won their first championship in 50 years, they didn’t appear to be an elite team throughout the season. In fact, they finished the year with a non-title like 46-26 record.
Because of injuries, they were a good-but-not-great team during the regular season. In the second half of last year, they had two rough patches. They lost five straight games at one point in February. And then in April, trying to gear up for the postseason, they lost another five games during a two-week period. But they got healthy. And that prompted their ultimately playing with confidence and togetherness. And the result was an NBA championship.
Even this season, the Bucks have been highly inconsistent. From Oct. 27 to Nov. 7, they lost five of six. They started the season 7-8. And injuries, once again, are clearly the biggest culprit. Key players have been absent. Donte DiVincenzo, Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton all have missed big stretches.
Well, that kinda sounds like the Nuggets.
The Michael Porter Jr. injury doesn’t sound real promising. That one could hurt. If he is, in fact, out for the rest of the season, adjustments will have to be made. But his injury does not make it impossible for the Nuggets to make a championship run. The rest of the injuries appear to be temporary. And eventually, Jamal Murray will be back.
In the interim, adjustments will have to be made by the coaching staff. And other players, now playing more minutes, will need to step up. And the team needs to hold fast to its early season commitment to defense. Phil Jackson used to say that when he was missing key players and others had to step in, he would challenge those players to put defense first.
This team should get healthy again. And when they do, they should be just fine.
Hopefully, just fine like the Milwaukee Bucks were last year!