Denver Nuggets: 3 Unsung Heroes of the 8-1 Start

Denver Nuggets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images) /

Malik Beasley, bench cheerleader no more.

Over the last two seasons, we’ve been teased with Malik Beasley’s shooting and athletic abilities.  With Denver’s depth at the shooting guard and small forward positions, Beasley couldn’t find the floor.

Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets /

Denver Nuggets

So, we were left with Malik’s sideline celebrations of his team’s big plays and oh, what entertaining celebrations they were.  Beasley always had a dance or a shimmy or a face or something worth paying attention to and keeping the young Florida State star on our “radar”.

From that perspective, we kind of loved Malik before he ever got significant playing time.  Once that time came, though, we’ve seen a much more serious, focused version of Beasley.  We caught it in the preseason, his three-point shot was going in at an outstanding rate.  Not just that, it was going in pure, barely hitting the net and his stroke looked effortless.

What we didn’t see was that Malik has gotten stronger and is paying more attention to the defensive side.  He’s got several big blocks and steals on the season and his energy and shot have carried the Nuggets bench, at times.

We always knew Beasley was talented but his game has grown beyond just a talented backup.  Malik believes he is good enough to start on an NBA roster.  With his improvement on the defensive end, that’s not a case I’d like to argue against.  The problem for Malik in Denver is Gary Harris who is making his mark as an all-star level two-guard.

That’s one of the great things about this Nuggets team, selfless players that play to fit the concept of the team and it’s paid off with that oft-mentioned 8-1 record.

Speaking of selfless: