Nuggets

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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Gary Harris Joins Altitude 950 After Signing an Extension
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Nuggets 2017-18 Player Preview: Malik Beasley
Last Season: Malik Beasley spent the majority of his rookie season in the-then NBA Development League (now the G-League) [...]
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Denver Nuggets briefs: Starting point guard will be Jamal Murray or Emmanuel Mudiay
Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone continues to play it coy on officially naming a starting and backup point guard. Following Sunday’s practice, Malone stoically said he was ready to make an announcement, then quipped he would tell his wife “and hopefully she doesn’t get on our Twitter account and let everybody know.” When asked again Monday, Malone said the starter has a last name that starts with “M” and ends in “Y.” Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); Related ArticlesOctober 16, 2017 Denver Nuggets prepare to face loaded Western Conference October 16, 2017 Will Barton carried off Denver Nuggets practice floor with apparent foot/ankle injury October 16, 2017 Mizell: Denver Nuggets season comes with plenty of intrigue October 15, 2017 After fighting through injuries as a rookie, Jamal Murray ready for pain-free season with Denver Nuggets October 13, 2017 7 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ open scrimmage at Fort Carson That rules out Jameer Nelson, who was the starter down the stretch last season, held that role in one preseason game and was the first point guard off the bench in the Nuggets’ preseason finale against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jamal Murray started against the Thunder and was the point guard with the first unit for Friday’s scrimmage at Fort Carson. Emmanuel Mudiay is also competing for minutes. UTAH PREP BEGINS The Nuggets are on the tail end of a week-long layoff between their final preseason game and Wednesday’s regular-season opener at Utah. That means coaches and players have started turning attentions to their first game plan. Malone said the Nuggets worked through shooting drills Monday based on how Utah’s stingy defense is expected to play, and focused on their own various defensive concepts. “(It’s still) a lot more about us than them,” Malone said. [...]
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Nuggets 2017-18 Player Preview: Trey Lyles
Last Season: Trey Lyles spent the 2016-17 season with the Utah Jazz, averaging 6.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists [...]
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Paul Millsap Ready to See Nuggets-Jazz Rivalry from Denver's Point of View
For seven seasons, Paul Millsap lived the Jazz-Nuggets rivalry from the other side of the Rocky Mountains. [...]
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Gary Harris says signing lucrative contract extension “hard to describe”
COLORADO SPRINGS — When Michael Malone was hired as the Nuggets coach in 2015, he remembers the swirling questions asking if Gary Harris was a legitimate NBA player. Harris had just sputtered through a forgettable rookie season. But Malone started Harris 76 games during his first season as coach, allowing Harris to work through his young mistakes and gain confidence. Fast forward less than three calendar years, and Harris has blossomed into one of the NBA’s standout young two-way guards. And he was officially rewarded with a lucrative contract extension Thursday, a professional moment Harris said was “hard to describe.” “I couldn’t stop smiling,” Harris said Friday night from the Nuggets’ open scrimmage at Fort Carson. “I’m glad we finally got it done. … It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders. I was focused on basketball anyway, but you still have that thought in the back of your mind about what’s going to happen. We got it taken care of.” Harris earned the reported four-year, $84 million dollar deal after a 2016-17 in which he averaged 14.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game and was Denver’s best perimeter defender. He was also part of the group of Nuggets representatives that recruited all-star Paul Millsap during free agency this past summer, and has been tasked this season with developing into one of the team’s biggest vocal leaders. Harris said he was not involved much with the negotiation process that will make him one of the top-10 highest-paid shooting guards in the NBA starting next season. The contract is also a massive raise from the $2.55 million he will make this season as part of his rookie deal signed after being drafted 19th overall out of Michigan State in 2014. Harris cited several reasons for wanting to stay in Denver, from the organizational culture to the city to his teammates. He’s part of a young core that includes center Nikola Jokic and guard Jamal Murray, giving reason for optimism about the Nuggets’ chances to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Related Articles After fighting through injuries as a rookie, Jamal Murray ready for pain-free season with Denver Nuggets 7 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ open scrimmage at Fort Carson Kickin’ it with Kiz: Will angry Nuggets fans ever let the team retire the number of Carmelo Anthony? Denver Nuggets aim to fix rebounding woes before start of regular season Kiszla: When push comes to shove, will Nuggets be tough enough to make the NBA playoffs? “We have a very talented group of young guys,” Harris said. “Everybody’s getting better each and every day. … It’s fun to come in and come to practice and compete every day.” Harris’ mood about the major life event was fairly subdued Friday. When the topic was alluded to in vague terms following the scrimmage, it took him a second to realize what was being addressed. When asked about the first thing he’ll buy with the hefty payday, he said he’s still thinking about it. But Malone is happy he believed in Harris when he first arrived as coach. And he is even more thrilled that Harris will be a Nugget for four additional seasons. “Gary Harris represents everything that we’re trying to be in terms of our Nuggets culture,” Malone said. [...]
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After fighting through injuries as a rookie, Jamal Murray ready for pain-free season with Denver Nuggets
The pain began as soon as Jamal Murray moved to get out of bed. It persisted during light pregame stretches. It reached a level Murray “couldn’t explain” when he’d slide laterally on defense or barrel through traffic for a layup. But Murray kept playing through the discomfort, because that’s the only approach he’s ever known. Two sports hernias did not stop the Denver Nuggets guard from suiting up for all 82 games as a 19-year-old rookie, during which he showed flashes of his sweet stroke and versatility that made him a 2016 lottery pick. “He didn’t say a word,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, “which kind of speaks to his mental toughness.” Following offseason surgery, Murray is likely to be Denver’s starting point guard for Wednesday’s season opener at the Utah Jazz. He’s expected to be a crucial piece of an up-and-coming Nuggets team aiming to break through a loaded Western Conference and get into the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The biggest reason for team’s belief in Murray? He’s finally healthy. “My body is the best it’s felt in a long time,” he said. “I’m looking forward to using it this season.” Training the mind The way Murray’s mind-set has been shaped by practicing meditation — he dubs it “mental Kung Fu” — and his deep-seeded competitiveness is well-documented. But a young Murray first started showing sheer physical toughness during Saturday morning wrestling matches with his father, Roger, when he “never wanted to back down.” That grit carried over to organized sports. Roger recalls a time during a youth basketball game when Jamal’s finger snapped back and popped out of its socket. He insisted on getting back in the game. Murray played through broken fingers, sprained ankles, “every injury I’ve had” to keep on the court. His father, meanwhile, would closely monitor Jamal’s health, helping his son understand which ailments he should take seriously and which ones he should ignore. Related Articles 7 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ open scrimmage at Fort Carson Gary Harris says signing lucrative contract extension “hard to describe” Kickin’ it with Kiz: Will angry Nuggets fans ever let the team retire the number of Carmelo Anthony? Denver Nuggets aim to fix rebounding woes before start of regular season Kiszla: When push comes to shove, will Nuggets be tough enough to make the NBA playoffs? “It just becomes a part of him, so it becomes easier each time,” Roger said. “It becomes normal for him to take pain and carry on or block it out or just move beyond that.” Murray knew early in his rookie NBA season that his groin area was injured, not just sore. But he was the teenager trying to prove he was worthy of the Nuggets’ high draft pick, that he belonged on the same court with the best basketball players in the world. He was not about to complain. “Sometimes Coach (Malone) would demand, ‘C’mon, Jamal. Pick it up,’ ” Murray recalled. “There’s times where I said (to myself), ‘I have to push through it and fight through it.’ “(It) took a lot out of me to be able to do this.” The pain got “continuously worse” as time passed. Malone said the Nuggets training staff notified him of Murray’s condition sometime during the second half of the season. Closely re-watch game tape, Roger suggests, and one will notice his son briefly grimace and limp when landing after a layup, before getting back on defense. Before one game about midway through the season, Roger recalls watching his son hobble upstairs and telling him he did not need to play. A few minutes later, Jamal returned and told his father “I’m ready.” “He had to dig deep for that one, because he could barely walk,” Roger said. “Then he did his thing.” Despite his health struggles, Murray averaged 9.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists while playing both shooting guard and point guard as a rookie. He learned how to come off the bench, then emerged as a late-season starter when the Nuggets made a playoff push. He got his first experience with the exhaustive travel and being the youngest guy in a locker room. Murray had surgery in April and called the recovery process “the most down part of my life.” He could not walk for a few days, yet was back in the Pepsi Center less than a week later to work his upper body on the battle ropes. But he couldn’t play for about four months, trading shooting drills and pickup games for extensive rehabilitation sessions. He went home to Kitchener, Ontario, over the summer to spend time wit [...]
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