The Nuggets have to do what the Nuggets do.
At Media Day, Nuggets coach Michael Malone discussed a shift in Denver’s defensive philosophy. Gone is the idea of being a Memphis-style lock-down defensive crew.
In its place is a fast, athletic team that wants to defend the three-point shot but ultimately this team’s best defense is to outscore their opponent. It’s a model that’s worked well in Golden State at times, though their defense has improved immensely year-over-year. Nobody has really been able to contend or even hang with a Stephen Curry barrage.
Enter the Nuggets, a team built with that same demoralizing offensive deluge in mind.
Consider that everyone on the Denver roster can handle the ball. Almost everyone can shoot 30% or better from the three-point line. Any one of the starting five can bring the ball up, all can hit a three. All of the reserves minus Mason Plumlee can do the same.
This is exactly the reason that a phenomenal talent like Jimmy Butler doesn’t fit in Denver. It’s been maddening fending off the “what should the Nuggets trade for Butler” crowd. The answer is nothing, we couldn’t make use of Butler’s talents and his presence would be difficult to integrate with what the Nuggets are doing, particularly offensively. It’s impossible to explain to a crowd that continues to see Denver as the also-ran and so desperately wants validation from a “star”.
That future is bright and this roster is already stacked.