Make the playoffs.
Remember that making the playoffs was the goal of fans and the organization coming off of the season-ending loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves last year. It was an “or else” ultimatum to Michael Malone and his staff, from a fan perspective.
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After the excitement of landing Michael Porter Jr. in the draft, the free-agent signings of Barton, Jokic and Isaiah Thomas and a spirited Summer League, we started to inch those expectations up. Before camp the Organization was still on the make the playoffs train. The difference was that now they joined with fans in proclaiming it an immutable goal.
Preseason brought wins over the Lakers that were more gratifying than they should have been and a feeling that this Nuggets squad was going to be really hard to deal with.
Running off nine wins in the first ten games hasn’t helped keep expectations in-line with where this Nuggets team truly is. We’ve had the likes of Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller declare them the second best team in the West. Power rankings consistently have Denver in the top-five.
There is so much happening so fast that it’s hard not to get caught up in the hype and from that perspective, the current three-game losing streak is an understandable cause for evaluation. As long as that evaluation is reasoned, fair. To blame Murray’s status as a “true” point guard ignores Jokic’s unacceptable turnover numbers. To criticize Harris’ shot would overlook the fact that Jamal has made only 18 three-point shots on the season.
Ideally, Jokic would be a 20-12-10 guy, that’s the space that gets the most out of the rest of the starters. It’s a balance that he displayed brilliantly down the stretch of last season. That would also give kick to Jamal and Gary’s games while waiting for Barton’s return.
See? Here we go again. Make the playoffs, let’s work toward that, if the other stuff is true, it will shine through in an 82-game season.
Another thing that’s encouraging about this season’s Nuggets?