Someone else needs to step up.
Early in the season it was Juancho that carried the Nuggets past the initial time of Barton’s injury. Beasley has filled-in admirably for Harris and has been consistent.
Denver gets fantastic production from Mason Plumlee, either as the backup center or even starting power forward. Plumlee’s contribution has been critical to Denver’s success. His consistent effort is important to the team’s identity.
The Nuggets are talented and deep but not so much that they can’t use production from players that have fallen off or have struggled to recapture early/past success. The top-two names on that list are Hernangomez and reserve power forward Trey Lyles.
We will not be jumping on the Lyles hate train that’s reared it’s head on social media. We tell players all the time that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back. Maybe fans could be held to a similar standard. Lyles is a Denver Nugget and gets my unconditional support as such. He needs to find his confidence or recapture his stroke, something. There’s something fundamentally wrong with Lyles’ game right now but he’s earned the right to work through it. For those that deride his contribution, remember that the Nuggets are in second place in the ultra-competitive West, they have the best home-record in the NBA. Lyles’ struggles aren’t hurting the team.
What Trey and Juancho’s struggles are hurting are the Nuggets depth and depth is what will carry them in the playoffs. The next-man-up mentality only works if the next man up is capable. Everyone will have off games, sometimes Denver’s stars will face teams that have game planned for them and in those instances, the reserves are going to be imperative to Denver advancing. So, Beasley, Monte Morris, Lyles, Juancho and Plumlee have to find and be on their games on-demand. That may be a tall order but Denver has established themselves as a leader in the West.
That may be a position nobody anticipated but here they are and there’s no reason to relinquish it until it’s taken from them.