The Denver Nuggets preseason has been up and down. That trend continued Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns. While the Nuggets had some bright spots, they were often overshadowed by plays that made you scratch your head. Though the game was affected by technical difficulties (at least on Altitude), and though our writers weren’t able to catch the entire first half, several aspects of the game stood out. Here are a few things worth noting…
– Each Nuggets game this preseason has been a growing pain. At times, it’s almost hard to watch. But finally, after six games, it appears the Nuggets are finding some cohesion. Sure, they lost to Phoenix by nearly 20 points, but there were definitive signs of improvement. Passes were crisper, cuts were made with more zeal, actual plays were beginning to take form, and occasionally some really good defense was exhibited. This is without question the storyline of the preseason: growth. Can the Nuggets continue to evolve throughout the season? Though George Karl often started each year with a bang and remained consistently solid throughout the regular season, he also overlooked (or perhaps, shoved to the side) some of his team’s glaring issues that would later come back to bite the Nuggets in the rear end once the playoffs rolled around. Brian Shaw does not appear to be operating by those same guidelines. He wants to make sure everything is immaculate. If that means struggling in the early part of the season, he’s clearly fine with that as long as the growth is there throughout the year.
– JaVale McGee might be a microcosm of the 2013-14 Denver Nuggets. Like the Nuggets, he has tons of potential, but it’s gonna take time to reach that peak. And still, we’re already catching glimpses of what McGee could be with enough dedication, the right coaching and the proper amount focus. Against the Suns he had a few nice post moves, that had he even attempted last year would have gotten him benched. Shaw is clearly making an investment in McGee, and though it’s a dangerous one, the fact we’re already seeing signs of payoff makes it look like a wise decision. If McGee can improve consistently throughout the year there’s no telling just how good the Nuggets could be come April.
– Anthony Randolph has been impressive this preseason. He’s not the same player he was last year. This year he seems to be playing with more urgency. On Wednesday he finished with a team high 15 points in only 23 minutes of action. Randolph has never been shy about shooting, but he’s put on a show this month in terms of his overall skillset. From rebounding, to dribbling up the floor, to finishing on the break with authority, Randolph has proven he belongs in the league and perhaps in the rotation of a quality NBA team. Whether he deserves a spot in the rotation with the 2013-14 Denver Nuggets will likely be determined in practice in front of Brian Shaw.
If you were able to catch more of the game than we did, or if you’d just like to comment on all things Nuggets related, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!