What to watch for in the Denver Nuggets opening night clash: The health of the stars
Just how comfortable will Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray look when they take the court for the first time?
We saw the two returning stars play in the preseason, both making baskets for the first time in a long time, but how will they look against a prepared regular season defense? How will they hold up during long road trips? And what does that mean for the ceiling of this Nuggets roster?
Jamal Murray is expected to play on opening night after missing the past few preseason games with a sore hamstring according to Mike Singer, The Denver Post. He should be fully healed from his torn ACL that he suffered in April 2021, but there will be a short readjustment period for the guard as he ramps up into game shape.
It doesn’t help that Murray is usually a player that uses the regular season to round into fitness as well.
Michael Porter Jr., on the other hand, has looked athletic, explosive, and locked in for the short amount of minutes he has played. In the 19.3 minutes he played in each preseason contest, MPJ hit 50 percent of his shots from the floor and 48 percent of his 3-point attempts, scoring with ease.
The offense was always going to be there. He has proven to be an elite scorer even while nursing an injury but it’s his defense that took a hit down the end of the Phoenix Suns playoff series in 2021. Will he have enough energy to score like we’ve grown accustomed to while filling his role on the other end of the ball?
The acquisition of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will definitely help, he’ll have a solid defender next to him most of the time, but any defensive and health improvements for MPJ will go a long way in the Denver Nuggets’ playoff viability.