3 obvious moves Michael Malone must make for the Nuggets to repeat as champions

Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors
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1. Play Aaron Gordon at backup center

This may be the most important playoff adjustment at all. We’ve seen Malone push this button before, including in last year’s playoffs and it needs to happen again. The Nuggets still don’t have a viable backup center for Nikola Jokic.

So far this season Denver has relied on a combo of Zeke Nnaji and DeAndre Jordan to play center off the bench, and those minutes have not gone particularly well. Nnaji is just too small and doesn’t stretch the floor. He’s not a guy they can rely on during a playoff game.

Jordan is just old and washed up at this point. He’s lost a step athletically and his game has not developed along with the modern NBA. Much like with Nnaji, Jordan cannot play during the playoffs.

Playing small-ball with Gordon at the 5 is by far the Nuggets’ best option for the minutes with Jokic on the bench. He has the combination of size, strength, and athleticism to hold his own down low. He’s a very crafty and intelligent player as well and can find ways to get it done even against bigger players.

He can also act as a screener and rim runner, while also being able to space the floor. Since Jokic operates so much from the high post, Gordon is able to act almost like a center on offense anyway, so he really doesn’t even need to change much.

He’s played just 9% of his minutes at center this season, under three minutes per game. That must go up once the playoffs start, and he has to play center for every second that Jokic is off the floor.