Denver is no longer perfect in the 2017-18 preseason after letting the San Antonio Spurs shoot 57 percent from both the field and beyond the three-point line eventually leading to the Nuggets’ first loss of the year 122-100.
Heres’s how each player fared:
Nikola Jokic: A
The Jokic that everyone knows and loves made his reappearance against the Spurs. All of his powerful, yet quick, post moves were on full display. Jokic was whipping passes in the half court and in transition for four beautiful dimes. He even went on his own 7-0 run against the Spurs in the third quarter to tie the game at 76. Everything that was hoped to be seen from Jokic was showcased. Great showing from the Nuggets Serbian Star.
Paul Millsap: B
Millsap showed how productive he can be even if his shot is not falling against the Spurs. Yes, he shot 2-10 from the field but he was still able to contribute 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block in his 25 minutes of time on the court. That is what makes Millsap such a complete player. If he isn’t able to help scoring he will continue setting up his teammates and will get to the free-throw line like he did tonight to the tune of 9-9 from the charity stripe.
Gary Harris: A
Harris continues to impress. In his first game since agreeing to a four-year extension worth $74 million, he was able to show off his offensive versatility and his new ability to score in isolation. Harris had multiple floaters that were as savvy as they were fluid and even showed off a live-dribble pull-up jump shot from the elbow. The 23-year-old just continues to get better and better.
Plumlee’s physical play brings a different edge to the Nuggets roster and his passing acumen continues to become even better than advertised but he struggled badly on defense against the Spurs and failed to find a rhythm. It does seem that he is getting significantly more comfortable with the new defensive scheme but that really fell apart in San Antonio. Overall, it was not the best game from Plumlee.
Will Barton: B+
Barton had one of his better defensive games of the preseason while also adding an efficient scoring night on top of it. Trey Lyles, who did not see any action until garbage time against the Spurs, was talking at the Nuggets practice that Barton has been a stud in practice on defense and that finally came to fruition against the Spurs. Barton racked up three steals and two blocks against the Spurs and was disruptive all night.
There was not much to take away from Faried’s game against the Spurs. He played just 15 minutes and added nine points and only three rebounds. There was nothing that stood out and for Faried, who is in the midst of a battle for the backup power forward minutes, he needed another statement game to separate himself from Lyles.
Mudiay struggled from start to finish against the Spurs. In 19 minutes, Mudiay was only able to amass four points on 1-6 shooting to go with two assists that were canceled out by his two turnovers. Overall Mudiay was a game-worst -23 and drastically hurt his chances to earn the backup point guard role with the Nuggets.
While Mudiay actively hurt the Nuggets against the Spurs, Nelson was able to at least keep things moving offensively putting together five assists and zero turnovers to go with two rebounds and just two points. Nelson was a defensive liability but was at least a functional offensive player.
Chandler has yet to make his presence felt in the Nuggets first four preseason games. He had another game with minimal impact offensively and did not stand out on defense. If Chandler is to play 26 minutes he needs to be more productive then the two-point, three rebound, and two assist game he had in San Antonio.