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Tell me if you’ve heard this one before… Q: What looks like a cartoon butthole, but leaves an even fouler stench on every sports season it touches? A: I guess I gave the punch line away in the headline. * Forgive me. My tight five needs a lot of work. In the 423 combined seasons that the NFL, NBA, NHL,…...

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Harrison Wind: Torrey Craig

Last season Torrey Craig averaged 20 minutes per game in the regular season but was bumped up to 23.6 per contest in the playoffs and ended up starting 11 of Denver's 14 postseason matchups. He entered the starting lineup for Game 4 of the Nuggets' first round series against the Spurs in place of Will Barton and never left Denver's first five throughout the remainder of the postseason. Barton's strong regular season combined with Gary Harris' All-NBA worthy defense this year gives Craig more roadblocks towards entering the starting five during the playoffs if they do get played this season -- although I still wouldn't rule it out especially if Denver finds itself in dire circumstances -- but he could still play a big role in the postseason.

Craig is averaging only 17.4 minutes per game this season, which a slight reduction from last year's average and makes sense considering Michael Porter Jr.'s presence in the rotation who Craig ceded minutes too. But check out how Craig played against the Rockets, Denver's presumptive first-round opponent if the postseason begins with the current playoff seeding in place.

Nov. 20 vs. Houston: 19 minutes (came off the bench)

Dec. 31 at Houston: 21 minutes (started for an injured Gary Harris)

Jan. 22 at Houston: 27 minutes (started for an injured Gary Harris)

Jan. 26 vs. Houston: 31 minutes (started for an injured Jamal Murray)

Even at full health, the Nuggets will need strong defenders if Denver draws a matchup against Houston (Russell Westbrook, James Harden), Dallas (Luka Doncic), Utah (Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic), Oklahoma City (Chris Paul) and the Clippers (Kawhi Leonard, Paul George) and Lakers (LeBron James). I think Michael Malone calls Craig's number often.

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“I want you to take my job,” my buddy said. My response was very eloquent: “You whaaaa?…” Let’s back up for a second. An old friend of mine had recently accepted a new gig, getting him out of a real hell-hole. He’d been working his ass off at the old place to get his young family on their feet, putting…...

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Nikola Jokic made his unofficial NBA debut back in July, 2015 at Las Vegas Summer League in front of empty stands and without fanfare. For most NBA fans, Jokic was an afterthought on the Nuggets summer league roster behind rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, end of bench players Gary Harris, Erick Green, and Joffrey Lauvergne. Jokic averaged just 8 points,…...

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Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Vlatko Cancar took part in workouts at the Nuggets' reopened practice facility this week. But workouts are currently far from normal.

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I’m standing in a forest. The trees are so tall, I can barely see any light at all. Only the trees aren’t actually trees, they’re men. Three giant men. As I gaze up at one of their somehow impossible height, I recognize that the giant in front of me is Nikola Jokic. In a huge and booming voice, he says,…...

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Adam Mares: Michael Porter Jr

This hiatus is a double-edged sword for MPJ. On the one hand, it is a bit tragic that he waited two years to get back on the basketball court only to have his return to action cut short by the pandemic.  On the other hand, the 10th man in a 9.5 man rotation on a title-contending team is a difficult spot to find yourself when you are as talented as Porter. There's so much to learn in such a short window of time with almost no chance to catch your breath once things get rolling. It's like a new test everyday but with no time in between to study.

Porter is easily one of the seven most talented players on the Denver Nuggets roster but he is far and away the most inexperienced. In his debut season, he often struggled to remember plays, even those that were called for him to be the primary focus. On the defensive end, he was slow to read his assignments, often bungling a switch or rotation.

Porter would be wise to spend his quarantine by memorizing the playbook. It isn't enough to just become familiar with each play from the small forward spot, if Porter wants a spot in the rotation when the season returns he'll have to understand each player's role on the court during each action. Defensively, daily reminders of the team's schemes, rules, and assignments through film study should sharpen his understanding.

Do that, and Porter will find himself in the rotation when the season returns. Fail to do so, and the Nuggets will likely enter an accelerated end of season and playoff without him.

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Brendan Vogt

I think the Nuggets are in the process of learning this lesson now, the lesson being the difference in the mentality of a good team, and a great team, as it pertains to finishing games and series. The Nuggets have a lot of dog in them — they've shown us time and time again they can fight back when up against the ropes, but we're still waiting to see them strike fear in the hearts of their opponents. We're still waiting for them to put other teams in the corner, and then down on the mat. Denver can run with just about everyone, but I don't think they scare anyone. 

Some of the best teams in recent history have built an identity around relentlessness, and an ability to put their feet on their opponent's necks. As any basketball fan knows, thanks to the unfathomable commitment of Chris Webber, the teams that comprise Golden State's dynasty made a habit of putting the final nail in the proverbial coffin during the third, not the fourth and final quarter. Putting the obvious talent-gap aside, The Nuggets don't have those predatory instincts. When they smell blood, they assume they've made the kill, and that's enough to satiate them. Those Warriors? It triggered a feeding frenzy, and they left no meat on the bone.

Denver should never have lost the Portland series, and sometimes I wonder if they were the last ones to know that. Yes, they struggled to guard Rodney Hood, but they also played a little scared. They seemed a little tentative. Up for the challenge, but not eager. There's a world in which the Nuggets entered that series licking their chops. Maybe, in that world, they win the series convincingly. 

I think the Nuggets can be great. My read is the Nuggets believe that too. But they need to know it, and we need to see that they do.

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“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” – Robert Green Ingersoll When I came to, the first thing I realized was that I was no longer wearing swim trunks. The second thing I realized was that that was not my biggest problem. As a kid growing up on the less-desirable side of L.A.,…...

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The Nuggets' practice facility will reopen May 8 when Denver's stay-at-home order expires but many Nuggets players currently aren't in town.

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Adam Mares, Harrison Wind, Brendan Vogt and Eric Wedum (D-Line) welcome back Bulls and Michael Jordan expert Patrick Finan to discuss Episodes 5 and 6 of The Last Dance. The guys talk about Jordan’s gambling (addiction), his competitiveness, the Dream Team, the price of fame and what ultimately pushed Jordan into retirement. Then, The Steps. Check out Patrick’s podcast: Movies…

Harrison Wind: Justin Holiday, Joe Harris

I've long been a fan of Joe Harris, even referring to him as "Klay Thompson on a bad team" during the 2017-18 season when the Nets won 28 games. No, Harris isn't as good of a defender as Thompson is but he's every bit the shooter. Harris is a career 42% sniper from 3-point range and is attempting 5.9 threes per game this season, a mark which would rank first on the Nuggets. He has good size at 6-foot-6 too.

Like Harris, I've always loved Holiday's game. He's taller than his brother Jrue and checks in a 6-foot-6. Holiday is also better shooter, knocking in 42% of his attempts from 3-point range this season. Holiday can play a number of positions and would be a perfect jack of all trades for the Nuggets to have off their bench. He's a lower-cost option than Harris for a team that could be a little cash strapped this summer.

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Adam Mares, Harrison Wind, Brendan Vogt and Eric Wedum (D-Line) discus the latest around the NBA’s reported hopes of continuing the season in a bubble. Is it realistic? What are the roadblocks that the league will encounter? Also, Jordan documentary talk and what’s more important for the Nuggets this summer, free agency or the draft? Then, Online With D-Line and…

Nuggets VP of Strategy & Analytics Tommy Balcetis discusses what it's been like to work with Calvin Booth and how he's similar to Arturas Karnisovas.

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Adam Mares, Harrison Wind, and Eric Wedum (D-Line) are joined by the Nuggets VP of Strategy and Analytics Tommy Balcetis to discuss how Denver’s front office is preparing for the draft during the COVID-19 pandemic, the similarities and differences between Arturas Karnisovas and Calvin Booth, his philosophy on analytics, and much more. Also, Online With D-Line and The Steps. Want…

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