The sheer abundance of valuable young assets on the Nuggets make Denver a team to watch prior to February’s trade deadline, writes Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post. Bontemps cites Nikola Jokic and the club’s backcourt full of promising guards as two of the major reasons why the franchise’s forecast is so bright.
In addition to their coveted young core, the multiple first-round picks they hold and a bevy of reliable veterans make them uniquely qualified to deal in the coming months. That bodes particularly well as rumors swirl around Hawks forward Paul Millsap. Millsap has been linked to the Nuggets this year and was nearly dealt to the Mile High City last year as well.
If nothing else, the Nuggets could look to simply free up space for the young players they feel most confident about heading forward. As head coach Mike Malone learned with Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic earlier this season, there are only so many opportunities to go around.
There’s more out of the Northwest Division:
- In the midst of a playoff push, the Jazz have little incentive to deal Gordon Hayward, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, and even if they did, the franchise is notoriously tight-lipped. “No one does things more quietly than Utah,” a league source told him. Alas, the Hayward-to-Boston narrative may, for the time being, be more “myth than reality.”
- After missing five games with an ankle sprain, Damian Lillard returned to action for the Trail Blazers. The All-Star’s return was reported by ESPN’s Chris Haynes. Portland matched up against the Lakers on Wednesday night.
- Recently released by the Pelicans, journeyman forward Reggie Williams has reunited with the Oklahoma City Blue, the D-League affiliate of the Thunder. According to The Oklahoman’s Erik Horne, Williams is expected to play on Saturday.
- Regression across the board has limited Ricky Rubio‘s value, writes Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune, and the veteran guard hasn’t provided leadership to help elevate the young Timberwolves either. Rumored to be on the move for months, Rubio is averaging career lows in points and assists per game and is shooting just .276 from beyond the arc.