Thrill is also battling a hip injury.
More specifically, Will Barton has a hip/groin/core injury and had surgery six weeks ago. His timeline after surgery was 4-6 weeks and we are on the tail-end of six weeks so Barton’s return should be imminent. Some point to the Los Angeles Clippers on December 22nd as a possibility for Barton’s return.
We only got to see one game with Thrill so it’s easy to forget what his contribution looks like. For a guy that has so much energy, Barton’s gift to the Denver starters is often his calming presence. Barton has a knack for making things happen on the offensive end at the precise moment the Nuggets most need it.
Let’s take his line from the season-opener against the Clippers: 19 points on 50/60/100 splits and a (+10) rating. He hit big shots when Denver was struggling offensively. He hit all of his free throws. Those things may not seem big but they loom large for a team that relies so heavily on pace and outside shooting.
When Thrill shocks the offense, his teammates respond. It is the reason Nuggets GM Tim Connelly spent the money to retain Barton in the offseason.
Barton’s contribution goes beyond hitting big buckets, he is representative of the personality of this team. He’s brash and exciting but he’s also purposeful. He may seem out-of-control but that’s very……controlled.
Will Barton is the Denver Nuggets, and his return will be a boost, not just to the starting lineup but to the cascade effect for the bench, bolstering their play as well. This is a Denver team that has a shot at far more than we anticipated this season and Thrill is a cornerstone of that possibility. We’ve mentioned before that he’s the unnamed fourth member of the Core.
Another player that brings both on-court and locker room value is our next target: