Denver Nuggets: Variety a top priority in Free Agency
Have you ever walked down the breakfast aisle, only to come across the variety packs of smaller sample-size cereals boxed neatly on the shelf for your convenience? The thought of so many options can make you salivate, and the limited abundance of one particular flavor can keep you guessing when trying to determine which combination to team with your milk.
With the addition of Bruce Brown to the Denver Nuggets‘ already versatile roster, Calvin Booth has now supplied head coach, Michael Malone, with a range of choices to mix and match. With the hopes of finding the right formula to advance the Nuggets past where they fell short a season ago.
Booth picked some fruit off the Brooklyn Nets’ free agency tree as he nabbed the 6’4″ Brown at a steal of two years, $13 million, while the Nets focus on how to move on from the Kyrie Irving- Kevin Durant saga.
“Biggie Smalls” joins new additions in free agent DeAndre Jordan, first-round picks Christian Braun from Kansas and Peyton Watson from UCLA, as well as Villanova’s Collin Gillespie on a two-way deal, and recent trade acquisitions Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith from Washington. Altogether giving Denver a new look and new hope with a roster that complements generational talent, Nikola Jokic, and proven scorers, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
Barring injury, this roster is nearing completion and it will be interesting to see how Malone crunches the rotation come playoff time with both Brown and Bones Hyland offering hybrid options to integrate with the starting lineup, as well as additional assistance off the bench.
The Denver Nuggets now have support along the wings, as they can stick KCP or Biggie on the opposing team’s best guard on defense and still look forward to savvy cuts to the basket and scoring help when needed on offense. The head-spinning possibilities might be Malone’s biggest problem as he tries to figure out what works well together and what does not.
Jeff Green and Zeke Nnaji will likely have to battle it out for the eighth and final rotation spot come playoffs. While a name floated around as a possibility for Denver’s final two-way spot is Adonis Arms out of Texas Tech. The 6’5″ guard with a seven-foot wingspan is just the type of player Booth needs as he looks to add athleticism and versatility to a Nuggets roster that is already snapping and crackling with talent.
If Mile High Basketball is going to pop in 2022-23, it will take a healthy Murray and some quick learners that Booth has hand-picked to help bolster the defense and the wing spot, along with some added size and versatility.
The Denver Nuggets can no longer afford to be flaky at the guard position, wasting the talent of the back-to-back MVP while other teams in the West out-gun them. Denver must remain disciplined on defense and take advantage of the mismatches Jokic is going to cause when he’s stirring the bowl down low.
From a young G’s perspective, so far, so good as we head into the dog days of summer and look towards what should be some refreshing Summer League competition. Malone has his hands full deciding which players will work best together, but it’s looking like a good problem to have as free agency begins to simmer.
Similar to the variety pack of cereals on the shelf, Denver’s pantry is now full and the Nuggets are ready to eat.