Nuggets

Nuggets Look to Rebound Against the Rebuilt Sacramento Kings
Roster turnover in the NBA can move at lightning speed, and on Friday Nuggets coach Michael Malone opened a window into just how fast it [...]
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Denver Nuggets notes: Nikola Jokic held scoreless in second half of loss to Jazz
One troubling development during the Nuggets’ collapse in a 106-96 season-opening loss at the Utah Jazz was the disappearance of standout center Nikola Jokic, who flirted with a triple-double but did not score in the second half. The Jazz often went small, with the 6-foot-7 Joe Johnson guarding the 6-10 Jokic. Malone was disappointed by three consecutive possessions in which Jockic posted up but did not score, missing a shot on the left block and committing two turnovers. But that won’t stop the Nuggets from feeding their big man down the stretch, particularly when he has the size advantage. “I have no doubt that Nikola scoring zero points in the second half will not happen many more times in this season — or his NBA career,” Malone said. LINEUP EXPERIMENTS Wednesday’s opener offered the first chance for Malone to develop a rotation in a typical game setting. It yielded mixed results. The Nuggets primarily played Mason Plumlee, Will Barton, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried and Juancho Hernangomez off the bench, though Faried and Hernangomez did not play in the second half. Malone attributed Faried’s absence to Utah’s small lineups. But the coach added Hernangomez — who did not attempt a shot in nearly six minutes — has “got to get going.” “Right now, he doesn’t have that same energy and zap that he had last year,” Malone said. Related Articles Richard Jefferson’s key role with the Nuggets? “Be the old grumpy man” Richard Jefferson signs with Denver Nuggets The Morning After: 9 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ season-opening loss at Utah Denver Nuggets “implode” in fourth quarter, fall to Utah Jazz in season opener Jameer Nelson waived by Nuggets, clearing way for Denver to sign Richard Jefferson Barton led the reserves with 32 minutes, scoring 21 of his 23 points in the first half and adding six rebounds and two assists while playing point guard, shooting guard and small forward. But he was absent for most of the third quarter, and acknowledged after the game that it was challenging to rediscover his rhythm after the extended break. That was partially due to bad luck, Malone said. He sent Barton to the scorer’s table midway through the third quarter, but play did not stop until the 3:54 mark. QUOTABLE Malone on the Nuggets’ defensive effort against the pick and roll: “We just ran into screens, died and didn’t fight through it.” [...]
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Denver Nuggets willing to let young point guards Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudiay “play through their mistakes”
Michael Malone pulled Jamal Murray aside at Thursday’s Nuggets practice to remind his young point guard of the importance of having a short memory throughout an NBA season. “You’re gonna get your (butt) kicked a lot this year,” Malone bluntly told Murray. “And you’re gonna be a lot better for it.” Malone now has no choice but to let Murray, the Nuggets’ 20-year-old starting point guard, work through inevitable growing pains during a season with playoff potential. After officially waiving veteran Jameer Nelson on Thursday, Denver has handed the keys of its potent offense to Murray and fellow youngster Emmanuel Mudiay. “At some point, you have to give them that responsibility (and) let them fail,” Malone said. Wednesday’s season-opening loss at Utah was the first step. And it yielded mixed results. Both players scored eight points, with Murray going 2-of-6 from the floor and Mudiay making 3-of-8. Murray dialed up his trademark bow-and-arrow 3-pointer celebration during a third quarter in which he scored all of his points while the Nuggets built a 15-point lead. Mudiay, who declined interview requests Friday, did not commit a turnover after averaging nearly four per game during the preseason. But Will Barton also saw significant time at point guard in Utah. Murray played less than three minutes in the fourth quarter and Mudiay saw about five minutes, as the Nuggets’ offensive execution turned stagnant while Utah seized the lead and pulled away to a 106-96 victory. “It was a lot of 1-on-1 and stuff like that,” Murray said. “We’ve got to eliminate that and get back to moving the defense.” Murray does not remember when he got official word that he would start the opener, though clues dropped last week when he was the first-teamer in Denver’s preseason finale against the Oklahoma City Thunder and for an open scrimmage at Fort Carson. Related Articles Denver Nuggets notes: Nikola Jokic held scoreless in second half of loss to Jazz Richard Jefferson’s key role with the Nuggets? “Be the old grumpy man” Richard Jefferson signs with Denver Nuggets The Morning After: 9 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ season-opening loss at Utah Denver Nuggets “implode” in fourth quarter, fall to Utah Jazz in season opener Malone acknowledges nobody “ran away with that race” for the starting spot. But the coach cited Murray’s ability to shoot and space the floor with the Nuggets’ other starters as reasons he won the job, as well as how Murray performed down the stretch last season. “He showed that he’s not scared of the moment,” Malone said of Murray. Murray insists moving back to point guard is not a massive adjustment, as he played the position until arriving at Kentucky in 2015. And since big men Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap are such savvy facilitators, Denver does not necessarily need a prototypical point guard. Still, Malone said Murray is learning how to read defenses in order to identify when he should aggressively look to score with the ball in his hands and when to distribute to a teammate. Mudiay, meanwhile, needs to play with pace, take care of the ball and defend effectively, the coach said. Murray acknowledged Nelson’s departure from the Nuggets resulted in “mixed emotions.” Murray praised Nelson for his unselfishness on the court and encouraging words off of it. Yet Murray also knew the roster move meant he and Mudiay would officially get the keys to this Nuggets offense — growing pains and all. “We’re excited about the future for both of those guys,” Malone said. “We’re gonna live with their mistakes and let them play through their mistakes.” Denver Nuggets host Sacramento Kings in home opener DENVER VS. SACRAMENTO 7 p.m. Saturday, ALT, 950 AM Spotlight on De’Aaron Fox: The 19-year-old rookie point guard stole the show in his NBA debut, flashing quickness and playmaking ability en route to 14 points, five assists and four rebounds in 24 minutes during the Kings’ opener against the Houston Rockets. Nuggets coach Michael Malone raved about Fox’s “incredible motor” and “relentless” energy. In Denver, Fox will match up against the Nuggets’ young point guard tandem of Jamal Murray (a fellow Kentucky product) and Emmanuel Mudiay. Notes Kings: Veteran big man Zach Randolph was the Kings’ major free-agent signing, after he averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season with the Memphis Grizzlies. He did not play in Wednesday’s opener against the Rockets due to oral surgery but was probable to play in Friday’s contest at the Dallas Mavericks. … Third-year center Willi [...]
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Nuggets Sign Richard Jefferson
The Denver Nuggets have signed forward Richard Jefferson and waived guard Jameer Nelson, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly [...]
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Newest Nugget Richard Jefferson Ready to Contribute on and off the Court
If there is one thing Richard Jefferson understands about his NBA career more than anything else it’s this: He’s made it to his 17th seas [...]
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Richard Jefferson signs with Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets signed veteran forward Richard Jefferson on Thursday. Denver waived point guard Jameer Nelson to make room on the 15-man roster. It’s a one-year contract that will pay Jefferson $2.3 million, league sources confirmed to The Denver Post on Monday night. Excited to be here. Ready to work. Welcome to the squad, RJ!#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/DHopU1sOqI — Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) October 19, 2017 Jefferson, 37, became an unrestricted free agent Monday after he was waived by the Atlanta Hawks following a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for the Cavaliers last season while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from 3-point range. He won a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016 and also played for the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks and New Jersey Nets during his 16-year NBA career. The Nuggets opened their season Wednesday night, losing 106-97 to the Jazz in Utah. Denver will host the Sacramento Kings in its home opener at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Pepsi Center. [...]
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Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Lin out for year, and many others in NBA are ailing
MIAMI — Brooklyn’s Jeremy Lin was horrified to see what happened to Gordon Hayward, whose season almost certainly ended in a most disturbing fashion five minutes into the Celtics’ season-opener. A night later, Lin met a similar fate. Here’s some of what should be celebrated from the opening nights of the NBA season: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo had a 37-point game, Cleveland’s LeBron James was one assist away from a triple-double, Houston beat Golden State on the Warriors’ ring night and Miami’s Hassan Whiteside went for 26 points and 22 rebounds. It all seems overshadowed by injuries. No, this is not the start the NBA wanted. “It’s tough watching that happen to anybody in the NBA,” said Golden State guard Shaun Livingston, whose horrific knee injury from 2007 — so bad that doctors originally thought he could lose his leg — was compared to the grotesque nature of Hayward’s injury Tuesday night. “It’s all a brotherhood. You want to see guys succeed.” Many members of the brotherhood are ailing, none causing bigger shock waves than Hayward. San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played yet this season because of a quadriceps injury. The Warriors sent Draymond Green to get an MRI on an aching knee, which had knocked him out early in their season opener. Houston’s Chris Paul missed a game at Sacramento on Wednesday with knee pain. Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas won’t be back until January, at least, while recovering from a hip injury. And those guys, along with Hayward, are just the hurting All-Stars from last season. “There’s no doubt we’ll get him back to be better than he was before,” said Mark Bartelstein, Hayward’s agent. Lin’s injury was nowhere near as visibly horrifying as Hayward’s, but the end result was the same — a bad landing at Indiana on Wednesday left him in tears and saying, “I’m done, I’m done.” His personal diagnosis was officially confirmed Thursday morning: Lin ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee, the Nets said. “We feel awful that the injury will cost him the season,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said. Plenty of other teams are missing key players and would-be starters. Among them: Utah’s Dante Exum may miss the whole season with a dislocated left shoulder, Miami’s Rodney McGruder had surgery on a stress fracture in his leg, Phoenix’s Brandon Knight blew his knee out in the summer, San Antonio’s Tony Parker (leg) is still several weeks from returning, Indiana’s Glenn Robinson III (ankle) may miss half the season and Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker (knee) has months of rehab work left. “You worry about guys getting nicked up,” Memphis forward Brandan Wright said. “Lot of big injuries … You want to just take care of your guys.” Related Articles Gordon Hayward’s agent says his surgery “went really well” Nets’ Jeremy Lin expected to miss season with right knee injury Nike’s new NBA jerseys haven’t exactly been a ripping success Michael Jordan scores again, this time with his Jumpman logo Denver Nuggets “implode” in fourth quarter, fall to Utah Jazz in season opener Hayward had surgery Wednesday night and is likely to miss the remainder of the season, after breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle in Boston’s opener at Cleveland. Livingston had no interest in seeing the replay of Hayward’s injury. He knows the road that awaits the Boston star. “I’m not watching the video, but I’ve seen the pictures,” Livingston said. “Prayers go out to him. It’s going to be a long road back for him but if he puts his mind to it, is a man of faith, keeps good people around him … it’s going to be a long rehab for him but he’s very capable of coming back and being the same player.” AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower in Boston and Associated Press Writer Clay Bailey in Memphis, Tennessee contributed to this story [...]
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TAKE TWO: After a breakout season, what does Nikola Jokić have in store for an encore?
Among the many interests and hobbies of a young man, 22-year old Nikola Jokić is particularly fond of horse racing. [...]
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What to Watch for in the Nuggets Season Opener at Utah
Early in the week, Nuggets coach Michael Malone warned against looking past or counting out the Jazz just because they lost two key playe [...]
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Jameer Nelson waived by Nuggets, clearing way for Denver to sign Richard Jefferson
SALT LAKE CITY – Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson has been waived by the Nuggets, league sources confirmed to The Denver Post, clearing a spot on the 15-man roster for Denver to sign forward Richard Jefferson. Jefferson is not in Utah for the Nuggets’ opener against the Jazz but could join the team as early as Thursday, league sources said. Jefferson will sign a one-year, $2.3 million contract. Nelson averaged 9.2 points, 5.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds for the Nuggets last season, emerging as the starting point guard as Denver made its playoff push. He missed the bulk of training camp with a toe injury and started one preseason game. Nelson was absent from the Nuggets’ Tuesday practice in Denver and from Wednesday’s shootaround in Salt Lake City, prompting coach Michael Malone to say he had “tremendous respect” for Nelson. “His ability to mentor and help young players is something that probably people didn’t hear enough about,” Malone said. “Jameer has a great basketball mind and he has a passion for the game … Jameer had a huge impact while he was here.” Without Nelson, Denver turns its point guard duties over to youngsters Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay. Murray, who averaged 9.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while playing both guard spots as a rookie in 2016-17, started Wednesday’s opener against the Jazz. Related Articles NBA 2K18 season simulation: How the Denver Nuggets fared Denver Nuggets shootaround notes: Nikola Jokic aims to lure Rudy Gobert out of paint Lunch Special: Denver Nuggets live chat with Gina Mizell Kiszla: Is it fair to expect 47 wins from Nuggets, or turn up heat on Michael Malone if they don’t? Denver Nuggets briefs: Will Barton “ready to go” for season opener after rolling ankle Jefferson, 37, became an unrestricted free agent Monday after he was waived by the Atlanta Hawks following a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for the Cavaliers last season while shooting 44.6 from the floor and 33.3 percent from 3-point range. He won a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016, and also played for the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks and New Jersey Nets during his lengthy career. Known around the league for his engaging personality, Jefferson adds another veteran presence to a young Nuggets team aiming for its first playoff berth since 2013. Denver is also a sensible destination for Jefferson because of his friendship with Nuggets president and governor Josh Kroenke. Because the transaction is not yet official, Malone could not speak specifically about Jefferson joining the Nuggets. But Malone coached Jefferson when he was an assistant with the Golden State Warriors and called Jefferson a “consummate professional” following Tuesday’s practice. “Anytime you can be around a player that has a resume like Richard does, I think you’re better off for it,” Malone said. Footnotes Nuggets rookie forward Tyler Lydon was inactive for Wednesday’s opener against the Jazz. So were “two-way” players Torrey Craig and Monte Morris, who will spend 45 days as members of Denver’s active roster but the bulk of the season in the G-League. All three players were present in Salt Lake City … No Nuggets were listed on the injury report. [...]
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Budweiser Season Opener Watch Party
Join us at the Celtic on Market on Wednesday, October 18 for the official Denver Nuggets watch party presented by Budweiser. [...]
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Denver Nuggets briefs: Will Barton “ready to go” for season opener after rolling ankle
Michael Malone’s eyes widened when he saw — and heard — Will Barton fall to the ground in pain while playing 1-on-1 following the Denver Nuggets’ Monday practice. But Malone’s mood quickly flipped to relief when the coach went down to the locker room and saw Barton joking around with teammates. Turns out Barton simply rolled his ankle. He practiced fully Tuesday and is “ready to go” for Wednesday’s season opener at Utah. “It was a little scary when it first happened, but I’m fine,” Barton said. Barton, who averaged 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game last season, will be one of Denver’s first players off the bench in 2017-18. No Jameer, No Jefferson: Two players who were not at Tuesday’s Nuggets practice: Jameer Nelson and Richard Jefferson. Jefferson is close to signing a one-year contract with the Nuggets, league sources confirmed to The Denver Post Monday night. And it was reported by ESPN that Nelson would likely be waived to make room for Jefferson on the 15-man roster. Because the transaction is not yet official, Malone could not speak specifically about Jefferson joining the Nuggets. But Malone coached Jefferson when he was an assistant with the Golden State Warriors and called Jefferson a “consummate professional.” “Anytime you can be around a player that has a resume like Richard does, I think you’re better off for it,” Malone said. “I wish Richard the best of luck wherever he lands.” Malone added he has “tremendous respect” for Nelson, who emerged as the Nuggets’ starting point guard during last season’s playoff push. “His ability to mentor and help young players is something that probably people didn’t hear enough about,” Malone said. Lyles returns to Utah: Trey Lyles has never been inside the visitors’ locker room at Vivint Smart Arena in Salt Lake City. Related Articles Nuggets 2017-18 roster analysis: How each piece fits in Denver’s NBA playoff puzzle Can formidable inside duo of Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap propel Denver Nuggets back to playoffs? Sources: Richard Jefferson close to signing 1-year contract with Denver Nuggets Denver Nuggets briefs: Starting point guard will be Jamal Murray or Emmanuel Mudiay Denver Nuggets prepare to face loaded Western Conference But thanks to a scheduling coincidence, Lyles’ first game as a Denver Nugget will be against his old team, the Utah Jazz. “It’s an exciting moment for me,” Lyles said. “Just to be able to go out there and to play against former teammates and guys that I was with for two years.” Lyles was set to meet with Nuggets coaches Monday to provide insight on Utah’s play calls, personnel and playing style. Lyles expects the Jazz to remain “really functional” as one of the NBA’s top defenses, but to look “a lot different” on offense after star Gordon Hayward left Utah to sign with the Boston Celtics. Lyles is competing with Kenneth Faried for the Nuggets’ backup minutes at power forward after joining Denver in a draft-night trade. QUOTABLE Barton on the season opener: “It’s like Christmas almost. Everybody goes to sleep early the night before, getting ready to wake up and get those presents.” DENVER AT UTAH, 7 p.m. Wednesday, ALT, 950 AM Rick Bowmer, Associated Press fileIn this Oct. 2, 2017, file photo, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, left, dunks on Sydney Kings center Isaac Humphries (0) during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. Spotlight on Rudy Gobert Denver’s new inside tandem of Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap will get a stiff test right off the bat, as Gobert is now the face of the Jazz after Gordon Hayward signed with the Boston Celtics as a free agent. Gobert averaged a double-double last season (14 points, 12.8 rebounds per game) and will be asked to become an even greater offensive threat in 2017-18. The 7-footer also averaged 2.6 blocks per game, anchoring a Utah team that led the NBA in scoring defense (96.8 points allowed per game) last season and ranked second in opponent field-goal percentage (44.3) and third in defensive rating (102.7). [...]
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Gordon Hayward suffers broken left ankle on opening night in Celtics debut
CLEVELAND — Boston Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward had to be carted off of the court in the season opener with a broken left ankle. Hayward went up for an alley-oop pass midway through the first quarter and fell to the court awkwardly after a small collision with Cleveland’s LeBron James. A hush fell over the Cavaliers arena as Hayward lay on the floor with his leg bent severely. Several Celtics teammates huddled near the bench in prayer. Hayward had his leg wrapped in an air cast as he exited the arena. New Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, who threw the pass, and veteran Marcus Smart were among those visibly distraught at the injury. Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million max contract in July to make the Celtics the chief competition for the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. pray for gordon hayward 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/yvEFC9egAq — Grind of Athletes (@GrindOfAthletes) October 18, 2017 [...]
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