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Scouting the Denver Nuggets - Pregame Primer

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Utah Jazz take on the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets aren't expected to make much noise this season, while the Utah Jazz are 'supposed' to be 2nd best in the division. These two regional rivals share a mountain range, but perception of the two franchises and their immediate trajectories aren't so close. Looking at the stats, though, I can't help but notice that the Nuggets aren't horrible. At the very least in the preseason they are 4-2, while the Jazz are 2-4. As a result, it's not a bad idea to investigate just who we are playing tonight. Mike Malone's club could be the greater known in the Jazz/Nuggets equation right now. And while our guys are trying to find themselves, going up against a team that is already written off should be a real measuring stick.

Utah is supposed to be better than Denver this season. If that's the case it would be nice to start with a win. But before the game tips off (tonight at 7 PM MT, on radio, not on TV) let's look at their team.

Nuggets 2015-2016 Preseason Stats:

As far as I can tell the Nuggets still have 17 guys on their roster, but I'm not going to bother showing you the stats of some of those guys. The only dude here who can complain is Nick Johnson, who has played in 5 of the 6 Denver games and is averaging 16.1 mpg through it all. Anyway, here are the 15 guys I expect to make the team . . . placed in "Amar order" which is my hypothetical idea of what's going to happen from the start of the season.

Player Pos G MPG PPG FG% 3PT% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG
1 Emmanuel Mudiay 1 2 5 29.1
15.0 37.0% 37.5% 75.0%
3.0 5.4 1.0 0.4
2 Randy Foye 2
3 18.2
4.3 38.5% 37.5% --
1.3 0.7 0.7 0.3
3 Danilo Gallinari 3 4 4 24.8
12.2 40.5% 11.8% 89.5%
4.0 2.5 1.0 0.0
4 Kenneth Faried 4
5 20.9
10.8 53.8% -- 57.1%
8.0 0.6 1.0 1.2
5 Jusuf Nurkic (INJ) 5
0 --
-- -- -- --
-- -- -- --
















6 Jameer Nelson 1
5 19.9
9.4 44.7% 43.8% 75.0%
2.8 6.4 0.2 0.0
7 Gary Harris 2
5 27.2
11.2 50.0% 46.7% 87.5%
2.2 1.0 1.8 0.0
8 Wilson Chandler 3
5 26.6
9.6 38.6% 31.2% 52.9%
7.8 2.8 1.6 0.6
9 Darrell Arthur 4 5 1 14.4
7.0 33.3% 0.0% 75.0%
4.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
10 J.J. Hickson 4 5 3 9.8
2.3 10.0% -- 62.5%
3.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
















11 Erick Green 1
4 15.3
6.2 40.9% 60.0% 66.7%
1.0 1.5 0.5 0.0
12 Will Barton 2
6 25.9
10.3 43.1% 30.0% 48.9%
6.3 1.8 1.2 0.5
13 Mike Miller 2 3 2 15.7
4.5 33.3% 33.3% --
3.0 2.5 0.5 0.0
14 Nikola Jokic 4
6 19.8
11.8 78.4% 33.3% 75.0%
4.7 0.3 1.0 0.7
15 Joffrey Lauvergne 5 6 25.2 13.3 59.3% 50.0% 81.2% 8.8 0.5 0.8 0.0

You may remember Erick Green as the dude we got Rudy Gobert for . . . but jokes aside, their point guard play is vastly superior in on court production than what the Jazz are getting from Trey Burke and Raul Neto. Mudiay is a guy on the attack and while he's not killing it, he has shown shooting range that no one anticipated. Also, he's taking about three shots from three point range a game. Jameer is steady at what he does and isn't prone to making mistakes at this stage of his career.

On the wings we're seeing a lot of good stuff from MSU's Gary Harris. He obviously has more upside than Randy Foye, but from what I know about Randy Foye is that he's amazing and should always start no matter what. I do hope that Harris does get the start for Denver, for obvious reasons. Danilo and Wilson are both versatile and are legit NBA players who will pose a great test to 2nd year players Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, and Elijah Millsap. So Denver isn't horrible at the wing either . . . they even have Mike Miller out of mothballs while Will Barton has been balling this preseason.

Inside is where things get dicey. During the season I expect to see much more of Faried and Hickson, especially with Nurkic out till "maybe November-ish". Their international crew is playing well for them, with both Jokic and Lauvergne both making almost every single shot they take, while hitting the glass.

Denver isn't supposed to make the playoffs this season, but I don't think they're just going to roll over for Utah either.

Tonight is the last preseason game for both squads, and we may see teams try out more normative rotations, while still making sure no one gets hurt. It would have been nice to see Mudiay go up against Dante Exum, but they will have to wait until next season. In this last game of the preseason we're going to need to see a pulse from the Jazz. The Nuggets may just be the system shock to get them started again.