Mining for Victory
By Chase C.
It is the start of the 2021-2022 NBA season, which means the start of another exciting Nuggets season throughout the state of Colorado. There is a lot to look forward to this year, and a lot to be worried about. There are a couple of key things this team needs to look out for to be successful. From the outside, this squad looks solid. The first player that jumps into people's minds is reigning MVP Nikola Jokić, who is the first center to win the MVP award since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000. He is truly a once-in-a-generation talent. The first of fans' worries is the Joker's partner in crime, Jamal Murray. Unfortunately, last April, while driving to the basket, he fell and tore his ACL. There have been 16 games played so far, and there is no sign of his return. No worries for fans, though, as when Jamal Murray is healing and ready to step on the court again, defenses will be in for one as Murry and Jokic in the pick and roll is the best the game has seen since the likes of Stockton and Malone. Besides that, both of these guys can get open and make a play. They are dangerous scorers even when they are not on the court together. Fortunately, the Nuggets can get by on offence and defence without their star point guard, as there is much more talent out there, such as Michael Porter Jr, who has stepped up big this season playing small forward. He has been a reliable, number-two scoring option and pairs nicely with Jokic. Unfortunately, about a week ago, Porter Jr. hurt his back on a fastbreak. When reporters asked about his return, head coach Mike Malone said that Porter Jr. is out for the “foreseeable future.” This is another devastating blow to fans as the head office has taken a major hit in solving ability. We hope to see his return soon, but all we can do for now is hope another player wants to step up. The Nuggets roster is one of depth, and we have much talent elsewhere on the floor. Take for example Aaron Gordan, a star on the Orlando Magic and recently acquired by the Nuggets in free agency. Gordon has been an amazing defender by taking pressure off the rest of the team and has led to many highlight plays with his incredible dunking ability. Unfortunately, as good as all this sounds, the number one concern for Nuggets fans right now is the bench and not blowing leads. Once our bench comes onto the court, things tend to fall apart. It seems nobody can step up and make a play to score. This leads to cold streaks and the other team getting a hot-hand. When asking my uncle, a lifelong Nuggets fan, about his concerns, he says, “Without many starters on the floor, our guys look like headless chickens, running around until forced by the shot clock to take a low percentage shot.” Unfortunately, if this continues, many teams will exploit it, and have our team looking like a pee-wee team. The season is still young, and if injuries can stay out of our way, our squad has a good chance of hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy for the first time in franchise history. Our coaching staff is amazing and we have many young guys who love to get out there and play ball. With those two things, any team is bound to win.