Which players on the Nuggets roster will be a part of their regular rotation, and what will their roles be?
PG Jamal Murray
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF Michael Porter
PF Aaron Gordon
C Nikola Jokic
DEEP BENCH – VETERANS
DEEP BENCH – DEVELOPING YOUTH
LIKELY TO BE WAIVED
With Murray and Porter, returning from injury, the lineup is set. The real question with regards to the backups is whether veterans Jeff Green, Ish Smith, and DeAndre Jordan can be productive. Jordan has already show significant signs of decline. Don’t be surprised to see younger vets like Davon Reed and Vlatko Cancar take on bigger roles. The team may even turn to young players like Zeke Nnaji and Christian Braun if they continue to impress in practices and scrimmages. The Nuggets have already shown that they’re willing to go younger if they feel those players are ready to help them win, as they did with Bones Hyland last year.
There’s no real backup center besides the aforementioned Jordan, so the team will most often play small when Jokic sits. Don’t be surprised to see them make a move near the deadline to upgrade at this spot.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
All eyes will be on Murray and Porter as they return from their injuries. Will they be back at full strength? If they are temporarily on minutes restrictions or skipping the tail end of back-to-backs, who will pick up the slack. Porter is the biggest concern because of his lengthy injury history and overall medical red flags. The team will be cautious, as the ultimate goal is to be sure that everyone is full speed ahead come playoff time.
Bruce Brown was a fantastic pickup. He is effective at moving without the ball, which is essential when playing next to Jokic. He also provides some toughness on defense, so there won’t be a huge drop-off on the wing in that regard when KCP and/pr Gordon comes out. Brown is only 26; the Nuggets have a young team overall with 13 of 17 players age 27 or younger. Not all of the young talent will be able to find a spot in the rotation once Murray and Porter are back to full strength, so if one of them does start to receive regular minutes that would be an indication that they are killing it behind closed doors.