The Denver Nuggets have a relatively young team considering that they are title contenders. Usually, NBA title contenders have a lot of veterans with a few youthful players on the roster. This is not the case for the Nuggets.
Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon are both 28 years old, Jamal Murray is 26, and Michael Porter Jr. is 25. Denver’s main core four players are all under 30 years old, and will not be for a while. The oldest member of Denver’s starting lineup is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is only 30 years old. He still has plenty of more years ahead of him.
The bench, though, has a lot of youth. After Jeff Green and Bruce Brown left in free agency, that left a lot of room for the young players to get playing time. Christian Braun, Zeke Nnaji, Julian Strawther, and others are all still on rookie contracts and have a lot of time until they hit their prime.
Outside of those few young bench pieces, the other bench members are veterans. Yes, they may not be in their prime anymore, but having a locker room presence is always welcomed on the team, and the Denver Nuggets have multiple of those.
Who is the Denver Nuggets’ best bench veteran?
The first notable veteran is guard Reggie Jackson. Jackson is 33 years old and might not be in the NBA much longer. He’s the current backup point guard for Denver, and he played fine in his first game this season. Jackson has been a very good backup for many seasons and will do so with Denver this season, too.
In the playoffs he probably won’t be playing a lot, if he is still on the roster come April. He’s a candidate to be traded this trade deadline, as he has a team-friendly deal. He’s making $5 million this season, with a player option for next year, as well.
He’s out of his prime, but he still is a capable basketball player and can give the Denver Nuggets quality minutes when Jamal Murray is off the court.
Another player is center DeAndre Jordan. He is no longer the rim-running and incredible defender he used to be. He’s not as mobile as he was back in his prime for the Los Angeles Clippers, but he does play a vital role on the roster.
Jordan can still block shots here and there and can set some good screens when needed. After he left the Clippers, he’s been a journeyman, playing for five different teams in six consecutive seasons.
His veteran leadership is priceless, though. NBA veterans are always needed to set a good tone in the locker room, and Jordan does a great job as the team’s veteran leader and role model. He probably will retire in a few seasons, or even after this season, but the championship ring that he won last year was a long time coming for one of the NBA’s best centers in the past decade.
The last player is Justin Holiday, a 3-and-D forward. Holiday is 34 years old and signed a veteran minimum contract this past offseason.
Holiday has also been a journeyman, playing on nine different teams throughout his career, and if he plays a singular minute for the Nuggets, that will have him playing for another team, bringing that up to 10 teams.
He probably won’t play a lot of minutes this season, as the Nuggets are deep when it comes to the forward position. He’s a solid defender, so maybe if Denver needs perimeter defense at some point in the game, and Aaron Gordon or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are not available, he could play.
Who is the Denver Nuggets’ best veteran, though? That’s hard to say, as each player gives Denver a specific value that the other players do not.
In terms of overall talent, Reggie Jackson is the best player. In terms of leadership, DeAndre Jordan is the answer.
Either way, all of these players might not be long-term pieces for the Denver Nuggets, but they still each have a role to play on the team.