What to watch for in the Denver Nuggets opening night clash: How much does Michael Malone trust in the younger players?
Michael Malone typically leans on more established veterans. It’s a trait that has helped him slowly develop younger players but it also frustrates some Denver Nuggets fans who think there may be better opportunities elsewhere.
This past season, Malone played Facundo Campazzo as the primary backup point guard behind Monte Morris before eventually siding with the younger, explosive Bones Hyland and excising the Argentinian from his rotation entirely.
Entering the 2022-23 season, Malone looks to be playing the recently-acquired DeAndre Jordan over the unproven Zeke Nnaji. This is purely based on preseason minute loads but it’d also follow suit for Malone’s track record.
This is concerning since the Nuggets really don’t know what they have in Nnaji. After riding the bench for his first two seasons on the roster, this may be his first true opportunity to grab a rotation spot but it might happen later in the season, not on opening night.
Another rotation battle between veterans and younger players is between Jeff Green, Davon Reed, and the rookies, Peyton Watson and Christian Braun. The Watson selection seemed like more of a long-term play but Braun received a hefty preseason load, suggesting Malone might want to look deeper into his bench for production.
If we see trust in the younger players earlier in the season, it’d be a welcome sight for the Denver Nuggets fans wanting to see what they can do.