Jeff Green

Northwest Notes: Edwards, Gay, Green, Watson

As the Timberwolves deal with injuries and disappointing box scores alike, it has become clear that 21-year-old shooting guard Anthony Edwards should be the one to lead them, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

“All leaders have one thing in common,” head coach Chris Finch said. “People follow them.”

Krawczynski notes that Edwards is not without flaw, citing the swingman’s at-times questionable shot profile and occasional defensive gaffes. But over the past 10 contests, Edwards has emerged as the Wolves’ most reliable healthy player, averaging 28.1 PPG on 54.7% field goal shooting, 8.0 RPG, 5.6 APG, and 1.5 SPG.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Although veteran Jazz power forward Rudy Gay has been putting up modest numbers for Utah, he has been a huge contributor beyond the traditional stats. The 6’8″ forward is helping the club achieve a net rating of +12.9 when he’s on the court, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Todd notes that Gay has a strong connection with first-year Jazz head coach Will Hardy, who counts on the veteran’s leadership to help the team’s younger players.
  • The fractured left hand of Nuggets reserve power forward Jeff Green has been improving, reports Harrison Wind of DNR Sports (Twitter link). According nto Wind, Green has been wearing a protective glove on the hand in recent pregame shootarounds. Wind adds that Green is expected to have his hand reassessed in two weeks.
  • According to Wind (via Twitter), rookie Nuggets shooting guard Peyton Watson will miss the next few weeks with a strained left adductor. Denver has liked what it has seen out of Watson while he’s spent time with the team’s G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold, per Wind.

Jeff Green Out At Least Four Weeks With Fractured Hand, Sprained Finger

Nuggets power forward Jeff Green has sprained his left finger and fractured his left hand, the team announced today (Twitter link). Green will have his hand reassessed in four weeks.

The injury occurred during the fourth quarter of Friday night’s 120-107 victory over the Trail Blazers,

Green has remained a helpful bench big for the 20-11 Nuggets, the top seed in the Western Conference. The 6’8″ forward is averaging 7.5 PPG on 52.7% shooting in 19.3 MPG. He is also logging 2.8 RPG and 1.1 APG through his first 24 games for Denver.

The 36-year-old is currently on the second year of a two-season, $9MM deal he inked with Denver in 2021. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Mike Singer of The Denver Post tweets that he expects third-year power forward Zeke Nnaji to see additional minutes backing up starting power forward Aaron Gordon with Green shelved.

Western Notes: Gordon, Green, Porter Jr., Davis

The Rockets are more inclined to deal Eric Gordon than at any point over the past two seasons, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports.

The Rockets, who have had preliminary talks regarding Gordon with numerous teams, have more interest in acquiring a young player or a future first-round pick for Gordon than a late first in next year’s draft, according to Iko, since they already two first-rounders in the next draft — their own and Milwaukee’s pick.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Josh Green won’t return until next month from his elbow injury, he told Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “Doing as much treatment and working on it as much as I can, but we’re going to revisit it in another couple weeks with the training staff,” the Mavericks guard said. The 2020 first-rounder hasn’t played since Dec. 9. The Mavericks would be very hesitant to trade Green, according to Tim Cato of The Athletic, with a front office source telling him that he’s considered the team’s third-most important player after Luka Dončić and Spencer Dinwiddie.
  • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., who has missed a dozen games due to a heel injury, has been upgraded to doubtful for Tuesday’s game against Memphis, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jeff Green are all listed as questionable.
  • Anthony Davis‘ foot injury is a grim development for the Lakers, who are already floundering under the .500 mark. First-year coach Darvin Ham is trying to take a positive approach, hoping Davis’ absence will benefit the team in the long run, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of the period of discovery,” Ham said. “When you’re missing a huge piece like A.D., it allows you to mix and match and I think people are getting caught up in him not being there but I’m looking at another opportunity to see what we have and what combinations we can throw out there so upon his return, we can have several, several different bullets in the chamber that we can use.”

Nuggets Notes: Hyland, Defense, Braun, Green

Everything was back to normal for Nuggets guard Bones Hyland Tuesday night after he was benched over the weekend for a lack of effort, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Hyland returned to his usual role, sparking Denver’s second unit with 20 points, including five three-pointers, and handing out five assists in 30 minutes of action.

Hyland played just five minutes Sunday in New Orleans, being pulled from the game as Jose Alvarado was lighting up Denver’s reserves on the way to a career-high 38 points. Nuggets coach Michael Malone talked to Hyland about the benching at Tuesday’s shootaround, according to Singer, and came away encouraged that his young guard understands what’s expected of him.

“As I told him this morning, ‘Offensively, we need your scoring, but it’s required to give forth the same effort on both ends of the floor,’” Malone said after Tuesday’s game. “… I felt he competed, I felt he fought, he contested, he tried to be physical with guys. That’s all I’m ever asking for, from Bones or for anybody.”

There’s more from Denver:

  • Team defense continues to be a concern for the Nuggets, who rank 26th in the league on that end of the court, per Harrison Wind of DNVR. Denver allowed the Mavericks to shoot 50% from the floor and 47.2% from beyond the arc Tuesday night in a one-point loss. “We’re losing games that we’re supposed to be winning,” Hyland said. “We know we’re not giving a sense of urgency to defend and go out there and compete every night. The locker room’s definitely frustrated.”
  • Malone is hoping to carve out a greater role for first-round pick Christian Braun, Singer tweets. “I gotta get him minutes,” Malone told reporters Tuesday. “… He’s a part of our future.” Braun has played in 22 of the team’s first 24 games, but is averaging just 12.9 minutes per night.
  • Jeff Green returned Tuesday after missing seven games with a knee contusion, but he’s been able to make a contribution even when he’s not playing, according to Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. “His voice, he has the respect of the entire locker room. I think when he uses his voice and he steps up, I think it’s critical to our success, and it’s critical to our young players,” Malone said. “If it’s me all the time, that’s cool. We’re only going to be a good team. When our players and our veterans take ownership and leadership, I think that allows you the potential to go much further, much farther and much deeper.”

Nuggets Notes: Porter, Brown, Bench

Michael Porter Jr. wasn’t able to practice Sunday because of lingering pain from a left heel contusion and it sounds like he’ll miss Monday’s game against the Rockets, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Porter hasn’t played since Nov. 22, but Nuggets coach Michael Malone said the injury occurred before then and called it “something that’s kind of been building.”

“Right now it’s just real painful for Michael, so he’ll come back and he’ll play when he feels like he’s able to go out there and do his job effectively,” Malone said.

Porter has managed to play in 16 of Denver’s first 19 games after being limited to nine games last season with a back injury. Bruce Brown has filled the opening in the starting lineup over the past week, which has boosted the team’s defense. Singer notes that Jeff Green would have been considered to replace Porter as a starter, but he’s been dealing with a knee contusion and won’t be available for tonight’s game either.

There’s more from Denver:

  • Brown may be playing too well for the Nuggets to be able to re-sign him after the season, Singer states in a mailbag column. If Brown turns down his $6.8MM player option for 2023/24, Denver would only have his Non-Bird rights and would be limited to offering him a 120% raise in the first year of a new contract, which would be about $7.75MM. Singer suggests that Brown might be able to double his current salary of $6.479MM in free agency.
  • The reserve unit has been an issue for the first quarter of the season as the Nuggets’ bench has the third worst plus-minus rating of any group in the league, Singer adds. Brown and Bones Hyland have regular roles and Singer believes Green’s spot is secure because of his veteran status, but Malone has been juggling the other players to try to find an effective combination. Neither Davon Reed or Christian Braun has seized the backup small forward role, and Malone has recently been using Zeke Nnaji and Vlatko Cancar ahead of DeAndre Jordan. Singer speculates that Nnaji or Cancar could eventually be dealt for another guard.
  • Draft-and-stash player Ismael Kamagate is interested in joining the Nuggets next season, as we relayed on Sunday. The 21-year-old center was traded twice after being selected with the 46th pick in this year’s draft, and he said Denver has been sending representatives to watch him play.

Northwest Notes: Prince, Nuggets Injuries, Watson, Grant

Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince said he’s relieved that a grand jury in Texas did not charge him with possession of a controlled substance stemming from a May 19 arrest, according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“To me, I wasn’t in the wrong in the first place,” Prince said. “The situation that happened was very unfortunate. Things happen, for whatever reasons they happen. I’m past it now, though.”

Police in Arlington, Texas said after the arrest that they found guns and a vape pen with THC oil in Prince’s car when they stopped him for an expired registration. Possession of marijuana is illegal in Texas, and it also violates state law “to carry a gun while engaging in a criminal offense.”

Prosecutors also dropped the gun charges after the grand jury’s decision, according to a TMZ report.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets will likely be without several key players again when they host Detroit on Tuesday, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. Jeff Green is out with a right knee contusion, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are doubtful due to health and safety protocols, while Aaron Gordon (non-COVID illness) and Ish Smith (right calf strain) are listed as questionable.
  • Rookie Peyton Watson has appeared in just five Nuggets games and is currently playing for their G League affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Watson, a late-first round pick, is trying to be patient while developing his skills, Singer writes in a separate story. “They know I want it right now and that I’m super, super motivated to take it,” Watson said. “You’ve got to wait your turn. We’re the No. 2 team in the West.”
  • Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant learned during his first season with the Pistons what it was like being the top scorer for his team. He told current teammate Damian Lillard that he gained a greater appreciation for players with that status, Grant revealed on an interview with The Athletic’s Shams Charania (video link). “I told him I got a lot more respect for people who are the No. 1 option because it’s a lot more difficult than just putting up the numbers,” Grant said.

Nuggets Notes: Green, Jordan, Malone, Brown

Nuggets forward Jeff Green made a concerted push to convince longtime friend DeAndre Jordan to join him in Denver as a free agent this summer. Mike Singer of The Denver Post examines the frontcourt reserves’ friendship and breaks down Green’s pitch.

“I said, ‘Just come be with your bestie,’ and it worked,” Green told Singer, who writes that the conversation took place over a FaceTime chat. “At this point of our careers, it’s all about winning,” Green said.

The duo had previously linked up as members of the Clippers and Nets. Their families vacation together, per Singer.

“Two guys who really just enjoy life, that like to have a good time, we have a mutual respect for one another as far as the whole journey of what it takes to be an NBA player,” Green said. “He’s a gentle giant, very soft. Tries to have a hard exterior, but he’s very soft.”

Across his 10 games with the Nuggets as the primary reserve behind two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic, Jordan is averaging 5.6 PPG and 5.1 RPG in 13.1 MPG. Green, who has been with Denver since the 2021/22 season, is averaging 7.9 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 19.9 MPG.

There’s more out of Denver:

  • Eighth-year Nuggets head coach Michael Malone has all the attributes of a championship-caliber leader, writes Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. Malone has found a way to balance an intense and demanding side with kindness and respect for his players, along with clever strategizing and some creative flexibility when it comes to maximizing the talent on his team’s roster. Over the years, Kiszla adds, that roster has come to reflect the dogged personality of its head coach to an extent.
  • Versatile Nuggets backup guard/forward Bruce Brown is acting as Denver’s reserve point guard with Bones Hyland in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, writes Singer in a separate article. “When you’re manning that second unit … you also gotta use your voice and get us organized to make sure all five guys are operating as one,” Malone said. Added Brown: “I think with our second unit, we just gotta run, we gotta push the ball, but we gotta get stops.”
  • In a new piece this morning, Luke Adams examines the biggest current trade exceptions in the league. The Nuggets possess one of them, an exception worth $9,125,000 that will expire if it’s not used by July 6, 2023.

Nuggets Notes: Porter, Brown, Hyland, Green

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. wasn’t part of the Nuggets‘ crunch-time lineup during Monday’s win over San Antonio, playing just 11 seconds in the final eight minutes of the game, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscription required). However, after Denver pulled out a 115-109 win, Porter was focused on celebrating his teammates rather than bemoaning his lack of fourth-quarter playing time.

“Even if I’m not on the floor at the end of the game, we got a lot of good players, so I’m not gonna be selfish. Even though I want to be on the floor, it’s whatever coach thinks gives us the best chance to win. I would’ve rather been sitting on the bench and cheering my teammates on and win the game, than me be in the game and we lose,” Porter said, before adding with a smile: “Even though I don’t think we would’ve lost.”

Porter scored 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting on Monday and is on a maximum-salary contract, so he could have griped about being benched down the stretch. But with the Nuggets opting for defense over offense in the fourth quarter, head coach Michael Malone was pleased with how Porter handled the decision.

“That’s a big part of our culture,” Malone said. “Being selfless. Get over yourself, it’s not about you. It’s about the team. … Our players understand, you gotta sacrifice. If you want to be a great team, we all gotta check our egos at the door.”

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post makes the case that the Nuggets should move Bruce Brown into their starting five in place of Porter, noting that Brown has developed chemistry with Nikola Jokic and would improve the group defensively. Porter, meanwhile, would get a chance to be the go-to scoring option on the second unit, according to Kiszla, who argues that the young forward has the potential to be “the best sixth man on the planet.”
  • Porter already makes the most sense as the starter to stagger with the second unit, according to Singer of The Denver Post, who observes that the forward meshes well with reserve guard Bones Hyland, with the two players sharing offensive responsibilities and Porter’s reliable outside shooting giving Hyland more room to attack defenses off the dribble.
  • After exercising his player option this past summer to remain in Denver, forward Jeff Green has emerged as a respected veteran voice in the locker room, Singer writes for The Denver Post. “I speak up with what I see,” Green said. “I make sure it’s heard, and guys take it how they want to take it.”

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Lillard, Edwards, Holmgren

Veterans Jeff Green, DeAndre Jordan, Ish Smith and Bruce Brown are providing the Nuggets with energy and a level of comfort during training camp, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscription required). Back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic is laid back, which allows the more boisterous personalities of Green and Jordan to stand out, Singer notes.

Brown said he feels more at home in Denver than he did during last season’s drama-filled campaign with a big market club in Brooklyn.

I’m more laid back, chill,” Brown said. “I like to be in the house with my dog and my people. Obviously, New York gets a lot of attention, a lot of media attention. That wasn’t for me, but I love my time with those guys.”

According to Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter links), Brown has been playing point guard with the second unit, while Zeke Nnaji has been the backup center. That’s a bit of a change for both players — Brown is a swiss army knife type who has played multiple positions, but mostly on the wing, while Nnaji primarily played power forward in the past. Nnaji has performed well in camp thus far, Wind adds.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Damian Lillard is just 531 points shy of surpassing Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler to become the Trail Blazers‘ all-time leading scorer. Lillard says it’s an accomplishment he doesn’t take lightly. “This feat would mean a lot to me,” Lillard told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “Just the respect I have for the organization and for Clyde and how great of a player he was. I think it shows just how productive I’ve been throughout my career. It would truly be an honor.”
  • Timberwolves wing Anthony Edwards is hoping to make big strides on the defensive end in 2022/23, saying that because he’ll be guarding top players more often, he’ll be “salty” to not make an All-Defensive team, as Wolves reporter Dane Moore relays (via Twitter). The former No. 1 overall pick will play a huge part in Minnesota’s standing in the West this season.
  • This year’s No. 2 overall pick, Chet Holmgren, will miss the entire season for the Thunder with a foot injury, but he’s still learning about the NBA while recovering, according to Cliff Brunt of The Associated Press. “What I’m trying to do right now is just kind of soak up all the knowledge of how things are done around here, how they’re going to be done going forward,” Holmgren said. “So when I’m ready to get get back in there, I can just kind of seamlessly plug myself in.”

Northwest Notes: Green, Jazz, Wallace

Nuggets forward Jeff Green put together a voluntary minicamp for himself and some of his Denver teammates this week in Miami, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). Davon Reed, Zeke Nnaji, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson and Jack White joined Green for the workouts. Wind adds that additional players hoped to join them but were unable to carve out the time in their schedules.

The Nuggets are preparing for an exciting 2022/23 NBA season, with reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic set to be rejoined by point guard Jamal Murray, who missed all of 2021/22 due to a left ACL tear, and small forward Michael Porter Jr., who appeared in just nine games before back surgery waylaid him for the rest of the year. The team’s starting lineup will be rounded out by power forward Aaron Gordon and newly-acquired 3-and-D specialist Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Nuggets role players like Green, Reed, and Nanji, plus the three rookies joining them in Miami this week, could prove to be important contributors during what Denver hopes will be an extended postseason run.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • After the Jazz appeared to signal the beginning of a rebuild with their trade of All-Star center Rudy Gobert for a package comprising young players, movable veterans and draft compensation, they seem set for a lackluster 2022/23 season. Brandon Judd of the Deseret News notes that Kendra Andrews, Andrew Lopez and Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) projects the club to finish with a 26-56 record next season.
  • Former Nuggets scouting coordinator Jon Wallace is departing his post in Denver to join the Timberwolves as both Minnesota’s director of player personnel and the general manager of the club’s NBAGL affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, reports Mike Singer of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Wallace tweets that Wallace was especially valued with the Nuggets for his impact on their guards. Wallace is joining a revamped Minnesota front office led by Tim Connelly, himself the former Denver team president.
  • In case you missed it, Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor recently sat for a long-ranging discussion about the new-look team’s personnel and expectations.