Denver finds silver lining

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 2: Trey Lyles /

Denver has found other sources of productivity.

Denver’s playoff hopes were renewed this year with the arrival of four-time all-star Paul Millsap. Millsap along with rising star Nikola Jokic presented a front court that could rival any in the NBA. The Nuggets team rostered other young talent, but those two held essentially all of Denver’s stardom.


Maybe not. Denver has now gone 4-3 without either of their stars. Will Barton and Jamal Murray have stepped up in Millsap and Jokic’s absence. However, two players have stepped into the rotation in their absence, and have been crucial to keeping the Nuggets afloat.

Trey Lyles

Trey Lyles is beginning to make Denver look a little better for trading  Donovan Mitchell on draft night. Coming off back-to-back 20-point games, Lyles is providing offense to the Nuggets second unit.

He’s not just scoring though, he’s scoring efficiently. He had a career night on Sunday, scoring 25 points in 26 minutes. He also shot 5-7 from deep and scored 15 clutch points in the 4th quarter.

Tuesday night in Detroit he shot a perfect 7-7 from the field for 20 points in just 27 minutes. With Denver’s star power forward out for up three months, Lyles has the opportunity to prove his value and cement his role in Denver’s rotation.

Malik Beasley

It was widely assumed that Juancho Hernangomez would jump into the rotation in Millsap and Jokic’s absence. Surprisingly, Beasley was given the chance instead. Malone credited his decision to Beasley’s defense.

Malone’s top priority this season has been defense so there’s no question as to why he’s loving Malik. Beasley has looked like he might be Denver’s best perimeter defender. Malik has been the perfect spark off the bench.

Prior to the injuries, Malik didn’t appear to be anywhere near Denver’s rotation. Now he’s consistently one of Denver’s first players in off the bench.

Silver Lining

Obviously, Jokic and Millsap’s injuries are big hits to the Nuggets as a whole. Denver would have likely won a few more games with their stars than without. However, Denver has found silver lining in these young players stepping up.

Giving these two the chance to develop and fit into Denver’s system could be big for Denver later this season. These unfortunate Nuggets injuries, as terrible as they are, may help the Nuggets be better down the road.