What’s up with the Denver Nuggets?
The Denver Nuggets are looking to be a team on the cusp of greatness–a departure from the team they were last season when Nikola Jokic dragged the entire roster to the deep end.
This season, Jokic is getting more help with the return of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., who both were out last season due to injuries. It may take some time though before Murray shakes off the rust and becomes his usual Jamal Murray self while MPJ is already putting shots up in his comeback season. The Nuggets also got more firepower with the addition of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
To start the season, the Nuggets dropped their opener against the Utah Jazz, then came back two nights later to beat the defending champs Golden State Warriors. They proceeded to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder the following night.
The Nuggets’ win-loss record now stands at 2-1, but it could’ve easily been 3-0, if not for the resurging Utah Jazz.
What’s up with the Portland Trailblazers?
Damian Lillard is back. Those three words are enough to make teams rethink their defensive strategies when facing the Portland Trailblazers. This is a whole different team with Lillard back to steady the ship, Anfernee Simons riding his wave, and Jerami Grant adding depth.
Not only is Lillard doing things to hurt your favorite team, he’s doing it at the most Dame thing yet: dropping back-to-back 40-point games against the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Blazers are undefeated so far, but the Nuggets will prove to be a big test.
Storyline to watch out for
A Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic matchup is always fun to watch, if only because of the ground-shattering way these two have changed how big men in the NBA should move. There’s also that slight possibility of Lillard posting a third 40-point game, to shush doubters who think two aren’t enough for a warm welcome.
These two teams will be gunning for deep playoff runs this year, and this early season matchup is a sneak peek into how that future looks like.
Both teams are on a winning streak, but the Blazers look to be the more stable team at this point with Lillard at full strength. Murray still isn’t at the same top level he was, which means there are games when Jokic will still have to put on the superhero cape to give his team the win. This might be one of those games.