Denver Nuggets: 3 Observations for the New Year

Denver Nuggets (Photo by Oscar Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets (Photo by Oscar Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /


Look, we don’t know that anything has changed significantly since the departure of strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess.  What we do know and what has not been said out-loud that we are aware of is that Nuggets star Gary Harris gets injured.  A lot.

Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets /

Denver Nuggets

The string of core injuries that has struck the Nuggets makes us believe that maybe a Yoga coach is in order.  Core strength and flexibility are always important but with the Nuggets currently nursing a who’s-who of players with core injuries, it’s worth asking the question about conditioning.  Nobody has that spotlight on him more intensely currently than Gary Harris.

We know he’s a fantastic clutch performer.  We know he’s a top-tier defender.  We see him settle in and establish himself as one of the premier two-guards in the business.  Then, we see him fall to injury and start the whole process over.  It’s like we catch glimpses of Gary’s greatness just in time to miss it while he’s out.

There are guys who just get hurt, some to the point of tragedy.  Look at Derrick Rose for a good example of someone that was an MVP-level player, taken down by injury.  Even in his current resurgence, he’s a shadow of his MVP self.  Injuries drain years off of a career and we’re not too far from wondering what could be with Harris.

If he’s not chronic, if a conditioning tweak can keep Harris on the floor, he is, as mentioned, a premier two-guard.  He holds his own with all of the big names in the West, names like Klay Thompson, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and CJ McCollum.  Harris has played each well over the last two seasons, though Harden does seem to have his way with Denver no matter who lines up against him.  The game-winner in Oklahoma City last year was a big moment for the young guard, a coming-out party that’s been derailed by a string of nagging injuries.

It’s uncertain whether Harris can do anything about his body. He appears to be in supreme condition.  If there is something that can be done, it’s imperative because if the Nuggets have any design on moving their bar past that Western Conference Finals peg, it’s going to involve Harris.  There are too many good two-guards for Denver to concede the position.  Considering the health of Isaiah Thomas, perhaps a Monte Morris-Jamal Murray starting backcourt with an IT-Harris followup would benefit the team.  It’d be a huge concession from Harris but Murray, the ironman may provide more value to the starting unit just by virtue of availability.  Ideas that are worth kicking around before considering outrageous trade scenarios that are all-too-popular among secondary Denver media.

The last Core member is perhaps the Nuggets most volatile: