The Nuggets are currently 3-4 in the bubble, it might not seem too great at the moment but we have to stop and think about who they're putting on the floor. The first several games, Jamal Murray wasn't playing and it was Jokic playing with a bunch of backups and third stringers. There are several backups and players that normally wouldn't get much playing time like PJ Dozier that are stepping up and showing Michael Malone that they are capable of being a scoring option. Gary Harris and Will Barton are already not playing, and I've noticed something else when watching them. Even when it gets close, Malone takes out the starters and gives the minutes to the younger, lesser experienced guys. I'm not sure if he just wants the younger players to get more minutes or what, but in those minutes, these bench players show what they're capable of and that's why I think Michael Malone is doing this, so he can see what his younger core is capable of.
I think that the Nuggets have one of the best young groups of players in the NBA, if not the best, and it's showing here in the bubble. Jerami Grant has been great and although he is known for not being a shooter, he has shot very well from three and from the field in most scrimmage games. With Torrey Craig, they have a defensive specialist, and with all the shooters and scorers that the Nuggets have, they don't need Craig to shoot the ball. Every team has one of those players. For the Clippers, it's Patrick Beverley, for the Celtics, it's Marcus Smart, for the Rockets, it's PJ Tucker, and for the Nuggets, it's Torrey Craig. The recent explosion of Michael Porter Jr. is only going to help the Nuggets future. There were concerns about his health, but he has worked hard in his off time, getting back to the court, getting up shots, and rehabbing. He's earned this return and the team couldn't be happier to have him back on the floor. Another promising player is Monte Morris. It's hard to determine his ceiling, but even if he stays right where he is right now, he would be one of the best backup PGs in the league. He is a solid shooter and will always set up open teammates with a speedy pass.
The Nuggets currently have the 23rd pick of the draft and if I were them, I would know exactly what I'm looking for. Paul Millsap just isn't as valuable as he used to be, and at 35, it's unknown how much longer he'll even be in the league. I think it's time to move on to a younger option. It's unclear what Bol Bol's role will be for the future, and if his role stays the same, I would be drafting a taller power forward that could backup Jokic if need be. It's hard to guess whether Bol Bol will ever back up Jokic but it's definitely out there with Mason Plumlee's poor performance as of late and also the fact that he's 30. Also, the amount of money the Nuggets are paying both Millsap and Plumlee is insane. Millsap is getting $30,000,000 this year and Plumlee is getting $14,000,000! If they say goodbye to both these players in 2020, they would save so much money and possibly be able to sign another star player or two solid players at least.
Since I was just talking about team spending, I will go over some more of that very quickly. This team, like several other teams, has a spending problem. Gary Harris is a good player, but does he deserve almost $18,000,000? Will Barton is a decent player as well, but does he deserve almost $13,000,000? So these players are racking it up while Jamal Murray is about to bring in $4,500,000. It just doesn't make sense. If a player is going to demand serious money, then the Nuggets need to tell them lower your asking price or we're going to move on, it's just business. Once you pay a player this much, there's not going back. What I mean is, it would make sense to pay both Gary Harris and Will Barton less, but they've already paid them a lot of money in the past, so they wouldn't take much less then they were previously given. Gary Harris is signed until 2022 (which in that last year he will make $20,500,000), and after that, if he demands the same amount of money, the Nuggets need to let him go. The same goes for Will Barton, who is also signed through 2022. The Nuggets need to realize that if they let Harris and Barton go, they will have so much more money to pay someone else who will benefit the team much more.
Michael Malone is a great coach, and I believe whoever is on this team, he will coach them and make this a playoff team no matter what.