Northwest Notes: Barton, Niang, Nuggets

Nuggets guard Will Barton understands it may take awhile for players to get back into game shape due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the 29-year-old is still mentally prepared to return to the hardwood, Alex Labidou of writes.

Barton discussed a number of topics with Katy Winge of Altitude, including returning to Denver’s practice facility, his thoughts on The Last Dance and more.

“You can try to do as much as you can, but without getting on the court and playing 5-on-5, nothing can prepare for game shape,” he told Winge, as relayed by Labidou.

Many practice facilities around the NBA are beginning to open with strict restrictions and protocols in place, allowing some players to return to a court for the first time in roughly two months.

In addition to Zoom calls and virtual training sessions, players have resorted to watching game film and weekly episodes of The Last Dance, and Barton is no exception.

“I don’t miss an episode… Mike [Jordan] was insane and I mean that in the best way possible,” Barton said. “Just how driven he was, his mindset mentally he was just different. We all know how gifted he was, how talented he was. But to get a live look into a mindset, what made him tick, is amazing.”

Here are some other notes out of the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz forward Georges Niang gave insight into his first workout at Utah’s practice facility, which was recently reopened amidst the coronavirus pandemic, as relayed by Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. “The guy that is on our training staff has to be in full [personal protective equipment] — whether that’s a mask, gloves; I know he’s carrying around a spray bottle and a towel,” Niang said. “So, basically every step that I take or wherever I go, that place is getting sprayed down.”
  • Nick Kosmider of The Athletic examines what the Nuggets must do in order to compete for a championship, listing seven questions to answer if the playoffs take place. Denver has a deep roster headlined by the likes of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, but the franchise has failed to achieve postseason success in recent years.
  • Harrison Wind of provides a peek into the Nuggets‘ first week of workouts back at the practice facility. Denver formally opened its facility last week, becoming one of the first teams to do so.
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