We invited Brendan Vogt from the DenverStiffs.com onto the podcast to spill all the secrets about the Denver Nuggets. We learned more about the guys who play alongside ultra-talented center Nicola Jokic, and how they dealt with a significant lineup change in the middle of the playoffs. A lot of things we learned about the Nuggets--young core built around the career trajectory of their star, solid locker room culture, a coach who is in tune with the players--sound a lot like the Trail Blazers. Will their edge in experience give the Blazers the edge in this series? We’ll find out soon enough!
All of this and more on the latest podcast.
1:25 Denver is excited to be in the second round, challenging the title-or-bust mentality.
3:30 We learn more about the players not named Nikola Jokic. For Jamal Murray, consistency is his biggest challenge. Gary Harris is not the focal point of the offense but he is a strong defender and is consistent on offense. Paul Millsap fills the defensive cracks and brings maturity and leadership. Will Barton was the starter until a few games ago when he was replaced by Torrey Craig. Barton was injure early in the season and has struggled to get back to pre-injury form.
12:10 The team has a good mind set and while Barton was disappointed by being moved back to the bench, the coach Michael Malone has kept the locker room focused.
14:07 The players on the team right now are were drafted or brought in by the current front office. Like Portland, they built around the trajectory of their star. They are young.
14:43 The series will likely be defined by Portland’s back court vs Denver’s front court.
18:30 The Nuggets have had a hard time defending the pick and roll. They will likely defend Damian Lillard’s range with blitzing high up, as they don’t usually switch.
23:00 Kanter could be a problem for the Nuggets.
24:15 Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Maurice Harkless had the assignment of guarding Paul George and disrupting activity in the lanes while Aminu roamed. Because of the size of Millsap and Jokic, Aminu may draw the more complicated defensive responsibilities this series.
29:55 These teams have a lot of similarities, they are on different timelines.
33:30 Jusuf Nurkic is going to have a presence even if he isn’t there.
39:25 How much time will Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins play?
43:25 What is each of these coaches good at?
48:00 The Trail Blazers seem like they should be straightforward to game-plan for but they are not. They have developed their offense long enough that they now have lots of nuances to it that are hard to to defend.
51:00 The team with the most to prove is probably the Nuggets. There are huge expectations for them to get to the Western Conference finals. Without Nurkic, the expectations for Portland fans and national media are not as high, although expectations in the locker room are probably very high.