Nuggets swingman Will Barton has fully recovered from the hamstring injury that forced him to miss most of the playoffs and he’s looking forward to the start of training camp, writes Eric Spyropoulous of NBA.com. Entering his 10th season, Barton is the longest-tenured player on Denver’s roster. It appeared he might be headed elsewhere when he declined a $14.7MM player option this summer, but he wound up re-signing for two years at $32MM.
“This is the best I’ve felt going into a season in two years,” Barton said. “So, I feel like I’m rejuvenated really. I got to really work on my game this offseason, I didn’t get to do that last year.”
During last year’s shortened offseason, Barton was immobilized by an injured right knee and said he had to step away from the game to avoid getting depressed. This year, he immersed himself in basketball and spent a lot of time studying opponents on film when he wasn’t in the gym.
“I’m so excited man. I haven’t been this excited in a while just to be feeling good, knowing I put the work in, knowing I got a lot of work in and got better,” Barton said. “We have a good team. Like I said, we have a lot of good guys and a lot of good talent.”
There’s more from Denver:
- The Nuggets’ status as a contender has limited the opportunities for Bol Bol, but he may be ready for a breakthrough as he heads into his third season, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Bol stands 7’3″ but has the skills of a smaller player. That can be an asset on offense, but it’s often a liability on defense as his height and thin frame make it difficult for him to guard either inside or on the perimeter. With a compressed schedule last season, Denver rarely was able to practice, which left little time to experiment with the best ways to use Bol. “Our first three years, we were developing, and young guys were given the opportunity to play, and more importantly, play through all their mistakes,” coach Michael Malone said. “Well, Bol doesn’t have that option, man. It’s all trying to be homecourt advantage in the playoffs.”
- The clock is ticking for Michael Porter Jr. to get a contract extension before the season starts, but he’s not fretting about the outcome, Singer adds in a separate story. Porter said he trusts agent Mark Bartelstein to act in his best interests. “I love basketball,” he said. “It’s not too stressful for me about the money stuff. Of course that’s part of it. I’m just trying to stay in the gym and get better.”
- The Nuggets saw enough from Aaron Gordon in his two and a half months with the team to be comfortable giving him a four-year extension, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said on a podcast with Singer and Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. Connelly said the team was particularly impressed by Gordon’s ability to adapt to a new role after being acquired at the trade deadline.