Maybe not as much as Fat Jack and Not Donald Sutherland….
Pictured above: Icon Jack Nicholson and what I always thought was Donald Sutherland. Turns out it’s a record producer but there they are enjoying the 2018 NBA All-Star game. What the Nuggets not participating in the festivities do is not important. What’s important is that the team gets some rest and relaxation during their nine-day respite.
What we’ve seen recently, even in their wins is a taxed, tired Nuggets team. 25-point comebacks and late-game pressure are heavy, particularly on a team that’s as young as these Nuggets are. For guys that played maybe 30 games in a college season, who knows how long it takes to adjust to an 82-game grind. Jamal is a perfect example of a young man that has no concept of pace or mortality, he goes full-throttle all the time and that makes his injury a mixed-blessing. Denver misses his production and chemistry with Jokic but he’s also forced to throttle-back a bit and that, coupled with the break may send the borderline All-Star into a higher level of production.
In the end, it matters little what we have to say out here in the world, what matters is that Nuggets management and players understand what’s being developed and what’s at stake. If this team flames out, if they get bounced in the first-round of the playoffs, there will be questions about what was done to bolster the roster.
This Nuggets team does not feel like the Carmelo Anthony–George Karl versions, though, they are built as a TEAM not a collection of special individuals. They have deteriorated dramatically on defense but still are able to bring the D when needed and that’s an improvement. There’s no precedent in Denver for this team and there’s no indication that they are unprepared for the playoffs.
Think of it this way, outside of the Golden State Warriors and given that the seal has been broken with regards to the Houston Rockets is there a team in the West that the Nuggets should truly fear in a 7-game series? I don’t believe there is and that’s with the Nuggets roster as presently constituted. The only thing that’s going to bring down the Warriors is time or injury, neither of which the Nuggets control. Another year with these guys and the addition of a playoff run and Denver could be ready to contend as soon as next season. That is unless they blow it all up for an ill-fitting diva to fill some imaginary quotient.
Somehow I don’t believe that’s the path they are on.