Nikola Jokic

Nuggets GM Discusses Nurkic, Gallinari, Defense

Earlier tonight, we shared Nuggets GM Tim Connelly’s announcement that rookie guard Jamal Murray will have surgery tomorrow. Here are a few other highlights of Connelly’s radio interview with Altitude Sports 950, all tweeted by Chris Dempsey:

  • Although Jusuf Nurkic blossomed into a key player in Portland, Connelly doesn’t regret the February deal that sent him to the Trail Blazers. Portland acquired Nurkic and a first-round pick this year in exchange for Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-rounder. “We think Mason is going to be a huge piece of our core,” Connelly said.
  • Re-signing free agent forward Danilo Gallinari will be the top off-season priority. Gallinari has been with the Nuggets since 2011 when he was acquired in the Carmelo Anthony deal. Connelly also hopes to reach a new deal with Plumlee, who will be a restricted free agent, and work out an extension for third-year guard Gary Harris.
  • Another objective is to add a stronger defensive presence around breakout star Nikola Jokic.
  • Connelly believed 39 wins would be enough to grab the West’s final playoff spot. The Nuggets finished 40-42, but Portland was a game better. Connelly insists he would have been more active at the trade deadline if he had known the team would miss the postseason.
  • The organization is making progress in changing the league-wide perception about Denver as a place to play and live. Connelly said several lottery prospects in a recent draft were “begging” the Nuggets to select them because they wanted to be in the city.
  • The team needs a “pecking order” in the locker room, with a strong veteran presence to guide younger players. “Maybe our biggest struggle since I’ve been here,” Connelly said, “is we haven’t had a pecking order.” He adds that the organization has also encountered problems with “role acceptance” among players.

Nuggets Notes: Plumlee, Trades, Jokic

Denver plans on bringing Mason Plumlee back on a new contract, Christopher Dempsey of Altitude Sports writes.

“Mase brought a lot of what we thought he would bring – intensity, a vertical threat at the rim,” GM Tim Connelly said. “An athletic big. A very good passer. It’s not an easy transition going from a starter to the third or fourth big. … When we traded for him, we traded for him for the purpose of bringing him back. Barring something unforeseen or some dramatic shift, we’re pretty excited to talk to his representatives this summer and figure something out.”

Plumlee, who’s a restricted free agent, came to the Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic at this year’s deadline.

Here’s more from Denver:

  • The Nuggets are more likely to make major changes via trade since they will have only a handful of open roster spots this offseason, Dempsey adds in the same piece. Connelly believes he has a roster full of players who should be coveted on the trade market because they’ve outperformed their contracts. “I think what’s interesting about our team is we have a lot of good players,” Connelly said. “And I think relative to their contracts, most of our guys outperformed their contracts, which is a testament to our coaching and player development.”
  • Denver knows it has a rising star in Nikola Jokic, but it doesn’t want to put too much pressure on him next season, Dempsey relays in the same piece. “He’s only 22,” the GM said. “He’d be the first one to tell you it’s a team game. He’s probably the least stat-aware guy on the team. But certainly we’re playing a certain way now and having success playing that way primarily because of his unique skill set and the coaches confidence in him.”
  • Connelly explains how the team has a better sense than it has in the past on which players should be the franchise’s core members, Dempsey passes along in the same piece. “Some of these guys have cemented their place in next year’s role already,” Connelly said. “There’s a handful of guys that you know what you’re going to get, and I think coach trusts them and those are guys we are going to take a long-term approach with and feel good about growing with.”
  • Danilo Gallinari is going to take some time to decide whether or not he’ll decline his player option, USA Today relays.  “It’s not time right now to make the decision,” said Gallinari. “Right now, it’s time to digest the fact we were not able to accomplish the goal [of the playoffs] that I had, that we had, at the beginning of the season.” The franchise would also like Gallinari to stick around beyond his current deal, but it’s taking a wait-and-see approach with him.
  • The Nuggets plan to be aggressive in their attempts to lock up Gary Harris long-term, as we passed along on Wednesday.

Northwest Notes: Timberwolves, Thunder, Jokic

The Timberwolves fell short of their goal to win a playoff spot this season and team owner Glen Taylor is already thinking about how his organization can put the roster in position to do so in 2016/17, says Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. One solution? Add veterans.

[Tom Thibodeau] needs some players that will come off the bench and keep us going and not give up the lead,” the Timberwolves owner said. “I think he would say if he can get some guys with experience that would be helpful, so he can mix them in with our young guys during those substitution times. I think that will be a priority.

The Timberwolves have plenty of money heading into the offseason, especially as the injured Nikola Pekovic‘s salary gets covered by insurance. That budget, coupled with Minnesota’s genuine emergence as a squad capable of contending in the near future (as opposed to a hypothetically spooky one), could bode well for the franchise’s pursuit of establish talent this offseason.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • It’s been an interesting year for the Thunder, one that started with devastation when Kevin Durant decided to leave via free agency. One thing the franchise has to be proud of, Erik Horne of the Oklahoman writes, is how they’ve responded to the heartbreak with a historic season. “We’re going to continue to advance, and we’ve always taken the approach of things are more new beginnings than endings, and there’s a new beginning here for the Thunder,” general manager Sam Presti said. “We have to embrace that, and we have to lean into that.”
  • The Nuggets aren’t concerned that Nikola Jokic has gone through a bit of a slump from the outside, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes. “He’s shown that he can make that shot, and he’s a skilled player,” head coach Michael Malone said. “To his point, you don’t want any of your bigs to become reliant upon the shot. He’s one of your best finishers around the basket. … If he’s open from the 3-point line, sure. Feel the game, feel the situation, but we like putting him at the post and at the elbows, and his versatility is what makes him such a special player.
  • Jokic is making a case for the Most Improved Player of the Year award, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post says. Nuggets head coach Michael Malone is well aware of how impressive his young center has been. “The numbers that Nikola Jokic are putting up are just a joke,” he said.

Nuggets Notes: Mudiay, Hibbert, Roberson

The Nuggets like what they see out of Emmanuel Mudiay since he’s re-entered the rotation, Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post writes. “He’s worked very hard since he’s been taken out of that rotation. He has a lot of confidence and he should. He’s played good basketball for us at times,” coach Mike Malone said. Mudiay, who was the No.7 overall pick in the 2015 draft, was rumored to be available at the trade deadline.

In a separate piece, Kosmider answers numerous questions about the Nuggets’ future. Here are the highlights from that piece:

  • Kosmider explains why the Nuggets traded for Roy Hibbert. Denver was under the salary floor and Hibbert’s $5MM deal moved the team closer to it. The scribe adds that if the franchise somehow makes the playoffs, Hibbert could be useful in certain situations.
  • The Nuggets’ biggest needs are perimeter defense and rim protection, Kosmider writes. The scribe believes Andre Roberson, who will be a restricted free agent, could be a player to watch.
  • While Portland appears to have won the Jusuf NurkicMason Plumlee swap, it doesn’t mean the Nuggets made a bad trade, Kosmider argues. Nurkic wouldn’t have started with Nikola Jokic on the team and he wouldn’t have been happy coming off the bench. Plumlee is more a facilitator and he’s better suited to run with the second unit.
  • Denver won’t move veterans for the sake of opening up playing time for its younger players, Kosmider cautions. The Nuggets will enter next season expecting to make the playoffs, though they are expected to listen to offers on their older players this summer.

Northwest Notes: Plumlee, Turner, Donovan, Faried

Jusuf Nurkic has been on a tear since his trade to Portland, but Mason Plumlee‘s teammates are happy to have him in Denver. While Plumlee and the Nuggets are still in the “getting-to-know-you phase,” as Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post puts it, Mason has grown more comfortable with each passing game.

“I was telling Mike (Miller) on the bench that this is collectively the best passing team I’ve played on,” Plumlee said. “It’s exciting. There is energy in the ball. I feel like the way guys play on this team is contagious.”

The Nuggets maintain a 2.5 game lead on the eighth seed; between his stints with the Nets and Trail Blazers, Plumlee has a combined 27 games of playoff experience. Plumlee’s style of play has already earned the respect of standout center Nikola Jokic.

“He just wants to win,” Jokic said. “He wants to do the stuff that some other players don’t want to do.”

More from around the Northwest:

  • After missing five weeks with a fracture in his right hand, Evan Turner is expected to make his return to the lineup tomorrow against the Hawks. According to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, Turner returned to practice Friday after hour-long workouts on Wednesday and Thursday. A seventh-year veteran, Turner’s “brand of playmaking and solid perimeter defense” should provide a boost to the Trail Blazers‘ postseason push. “I’m done talking about the injury and worrying about it, because it’s already over with,” Turner said. “Knock on wood.”
  • Now two years into his NBA coaching career, Billy Donovan‘s name still surfaces when a college coaching job opens up. According to Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman, the Indiana Hoosiers were speculated to have interest in hiring Donovan; a rumor the OKC coach shot down. “I am totally happy here,” Donovan said. “I love it here. I love the guys I work with every day. I love our staff, the organization. As far as I’m concerned, my commitment is totally here and doing the best job I can while I’m here.”
  • Kenneth Faried is eager to return to form after suffering a debilitating back injury, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes. “The Manimal” missed 14 out of 17 games due to the injury, scoring 12 points over 18 minutes in his return to the court last night. “It was some of the worst pain I ever felt,” Faried said. “I’m just happy to be able to walk and jump and do the normal things like sit down normally. I’m glad to be able to do a light sprint or a jog and not have to worry about my back flaring up. I’m happy to be able to do those little things. You never know what can happen, and you take those for granted until something like that happens.”

Northwest Notes: Mudiay, Jokic, Oladipo

It wasn’t long ago when Emmanuel Mudiay was being touted as a key component of the Nuggets franchise. One year later, his future with the organization is uncertain, says Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post.

Over the course of the 2016/17 campaign, the second-year guard has seen his role in Denver shrink. In the eight games since the All-Star break, Mudiay has seen action just three times. It’s a precipitous drop for a 21-year-old once taken with the No. 7 pick in the NBA draft but an understandable one considering the stable of young talent on the Nuggets roster.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division.

  • The Timberwolves are running out of times to sneak into the Western Conference playoff picture, Jerry Zgoda of the StarTribune writes. With just 17 games left in the season, the Wolves will have to leapfrog three teams and make up 3.5 games in the standings.
  • After missing a pair of games with a flu, Nikola Jokic returned to action for the Nuggets. “I can still feel it in my chest, and my throat is a little sore when I start coughing,” Jokic told Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post. “It feels really good to be back.”
  • Though he missed six games resting his back, the time off helped Victor Oladipo in more ways than one, Brett Dawson of the Oklahoman writes. “It was amazing for my wrist, actually,” Oladipo said. “I’m not one to complain. It wasn’t 100 percent, but that rest kind of helped it out a little bit. It’s a lot better now.”

Northwest Notes: Nurkic, Plumlee, Jazz

The deal that landed Mason Plumlee may not be the last one the Nuggets make this month, suggests Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. The reporter relays that his sources believe Denver could still move names like Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and even second-year point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

After years of stock piling assets, the Nuggets have emerged as a playoff contender in 2016/17. Leading the charge for the franchise has been sophomore center Nikola Jokic. With Jokic at the helm and the club finally focused on building around him, the the team is in a position to deal some valuable building blocks in an effort to fortify their new core.

Kyler suggests that the emergence of Juan Hernangomez, too, could expedite a formal regime change in Denver. The Nuggets currently sit eighth in the Western Conference.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Newly acquired Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic spoke with the media about his new home. “I think it’s the perfect place for me,” he told the media. “They need me, and I need them.” The 22-year-old also mentioned that he didn’t mind whether head coach Terry Stotts slotted him into the starting lineup or brought him off the bench.
  • The Nuggets don’t anticipate having any issues working Mason Plumlee into their rotation, writes Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post. Head coach Mike Malone expects to seamlessly integrate the new big man, adding that Plumlee’s playmaking abilities should help the team’s offense continue to flow well when Nikola Jokic is on the bench.
  • The Trail Blazers will send $2.85MM to the Nuggets as part of the Nurkic/Plumlee swap, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. That, Pincus says, explains why Denver included a first-round pick in their outgoing package. For more details of the trade, consider Mark Deeks of Give Me Sport‘s break down of the deal.
  • A Utah-based analytics firm will sponsor Jazz jerseys in 2017/18, but rather than plug the company’s own logo, they’ll promote that of a charitable organization generating funds for cancer research. The 5 For The Fight patch will be on Jazz jerseys for at least the first year of the organization’s three-year commitment with the team, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

Northwest Notes: Stephenson, Turner, Blazers

Newly acquired Timberwolves guard Lance Stephenson squared off against his former team Friday and Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had nothing but positive things to say about the 26-year-old journeyman, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

We had no problem whatsoever with him,” Gentry said regarding New Orleans’ decision to waive the then-15th man on their roster after a groin injury in November. “As a matter of fact, he probably raised our energy level as much as anyone. I think he’ll be fine. He’s playing for a great [Timberwolves] coach who loves energy and toughness and stuff like that.”

The Pelicans faced criticism at the time for parting ways with Stephenson as he recovered from the long-term injury but did so to free up space on their roster for Archie Goodwin (who has since been waived). Now Stephenson is back at full strength and on a 10-day contract looking to stick in Minnesota with a Timberwolves roster led by head coach Tom Thibodeau.

In two games with the Timberwolves so far, Stephenson has posted 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game. He’ll make $72K with Minnesota over the duration of his 10-day contract, in addition to the $1.2MM he’s owed by the Pelicans.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The news that Trail Blazers swingman Evan Turner will miss 5-6 weeks comes just as the offseason acquisition was starting to find a rhythm in Portland, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Turner’s absence could thrust Allen Crabbe and Moe Harkless into a bigger role defensively where Turner had been checking the opposing team’s most potent perimeter threat. In the same column, Richman also discusses the progress that Al-Farouq Aminu has made on the offensive end since being relegated to the bench.
  • With a 23-31 record, the Trail Blazers remain very much in the hunt for the final Western Conference playoff berth (Denver sits in the eight-seed at 24-29) but TNT analyst Kenny Smith is skeptical that they have enough resources. “I don’t think they have a lot of talent, honestly. I think that’s the problem,” Smith said. Molly Blue of The Oregonian relayed both Smith’s and Charles Barkley‘s reservations about the guard-heavy roster.
  • When budding Nuggets star Nikola Jokic dropped 40 points on the Knicks Friday, he became just the second Denver player to do so in Madison Square Garden, writes Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. The last? David Thompson in 1978,

Nuggets Notes: Barton, Trade Assets, Jokic

Will Barton‘s per-minute production this season has dipped significantly when he hasn’t received regular and significant minutes, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post details. Barton has always said he’s the kind of player who gets better the more time he spends on the court, and his numbers have backed that up, so the Nuggets will have to find a way to take advantage of that while finding sufficient minutes for their other rotation players, writes Dempsey.

“It’s a balance of trying to find ways to get him more minutes,” head coach Mike Malone said of Barton. “And it’s not an easy one because Jameer [Nelson] has played well, Gary [Harris] has played well, [Danilo Gallinari] has played well, Jamal Murray – a guy that we believe is a big part of our future – I have to play him. I have to find ways so that when he comes back next year, his rookie season has not been a waste. So, therein lies the challenge of getting Will Barton more minutes when we are fully healthy. But that is something that we constantly talk about and are trying to figure out.”

Malone didn’t even mention Wilson Chandler, who would reportedly like to have a more defined role in the Nuggets’ rotation. The team’s problem of having too many solid players and not enough minutes to go around extends to the frontcourt, where the club has struggled to find consistent minutes for someone like Jusuf Nurkic.

A trade could help the Nuggets narrow down their rotation, and one of our additional items out of Denver relates to that subject. Let’s dive in…

  • Rival executives believe the Nuggets’ front office wants to be active at the trade deadline, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. As Kennedy outlines, few NBA teams have the combination of veterans, young players, future draft picks, and cap room that Denver possesses, which makes the Nuggets an interesting team to keep an eye on as the deadline approaches.
  • We have a full breakdown of the Nuggets’ cap situation for 2016/17 right here, including salary details on the team’s latest 10-day signings.
  • In a fascinating piece for Sports Illustrated, Lee Jenkins takes a closer look at the unusual path Nikola Jokic has taken over the last several years, from a second-round pick to a core piece for Denver’s long-term future.

Northwest Notes: Jokic, Sanders, Grant

The Nuggets have a stockpile of young, promising assets but make no mistake, Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post writes, Nikola Jokic is their budding star. The second-year big man was shifted into the final spot of the team’s pregame starting lineup routine several weeks ago and hasn’t been able to duck out of the spotlight since.

While Jokic’s traditional numbers have improved dramatically since the Nuggets formally slid him back ahead of Jusuf Nurkic on the depth chart, his impact on the team’s overall offensive rating is significant, too. In 11 January contests, Jokic averaged 23.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. When he’s on the court, Dempsey explains, the team’s offensive rating is 11 points higher.

Of course now that the Nuggets have pinpointed Jokic as the foundation on which they’ll build their future not everybody in the locker room is pleased with where things are headed. In his own piece for the Denver Post, Mark Kiszla writes that certain players are pouting now that things haven’t worked out in their favor.

Nurkic, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are three players who Kiszla suggests need to think long and hard about whether they want to be in Denver long-term. He adds that their attitudes are not conducive to winning, which a Nuggets team in the hunt for a playoff spot ought to take into consideration as the February 23 trade deadline approaches.

That’s not all out of the Northwest Division:

  • While the Jazz have gotten their fair share of attention as an emerging Western Conference threat, one player that hasn’t gotten the recognition he probably deserves is Joe Johnson. “It’s almost like we forget about Joe — or you guys do — until he does something great,” head coach Quin Snyder tells Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. The 35-year-old was brought board with a two-year deal to provide experience on a young roster.  Utah currently sits fourth in the West with a 32-19 record.
  • The Trail Blazers have no interest in adding big man Larry Sanders, tweets Jason Quick of CSN Northwest. The team is too close to the tax line to take on any addition salary. Sanders, who seeks to return to the league after abruptly retiring in 2015, is making his rounds working out with various franchises in need of a big man.
  • Retired forward Harvey Grant sees similarities between his first few years in the league and his son’s. Jerami Grant is in his third NBA season but just his first with the Thunder. “He reminds me so much of me,” the elder Grant told Brett Dawson of the Oklahoman. “It took me about three years to really get where I wanted to get, and once I scratched that surface, I just took off.
dziennika egzotyczny pieścić medycyny centrum medyczne zdrowie Denver