What a time to be a Nuggets fan. WIth 56 games in the rear view mirror, the Nuggets find themselves in the eighth seed heading into the All-Star break. Although their 25-31 record is underwhelming, they have made colossal strides from last year in which they amassed only 33 wins all season. This begs the question, what’s changed? Look no further than the diaper dandies of Denver. You’d be hard pressed to find a team with more potential than the boys from the Mile High City (I say boys because I’m not sure if they are old enough to shave yet), and this young nucleus will be on display this weekend in NOLA.
Lead by budding superstar Nikola Jokic, who has taken the NBA by storm in recent weeks, the Nuggets will be well represented during All-Star weekend. Friday night, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray will represent “Team World” in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge. Emmanuel Mudiay was selected to the game for the second year in a row, but will not participate in attempt to heal his ailing back. In recent years the Nuggets have had success sending young talent to this event. As previously mentioned, this was Mudiay’s second straight selection to the game, as well as Nikola Jokics’. The sharp shooting rookie, Jamal Murray, will be making his All-Star weekend debut in hopes to put on a show for all of Canada. In 2013, the Nuggets sent Kenneth Faried to Houston where he played in the Rising Stars Challenge and took part in the dunk contest. The Manimal posted a 40 point game and received MVP honors.
After hearing that Joel Embiid would not be able to compete in the skills challenge due to a knee injury, Nikola Jokic got the news that he would be taking Embiid’s place. In an event that should’ve starred Jokic originally, he now has the opportunity to show case his skills in front of the entire country. He will matchup against New Orleans Pelicans stud Anthony Davis in the first round. While Nikola Jokic isn’t the most athletic, his feel for the game compensates for any physical downfalls. Always remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Tune in this weekend for all the festivities. The All-Star schedule is as follows (All times Eastern, ET):
Friday, February 17
- 9 p.m. — BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge (TNT)
Saturday, February 18
- 8 p.m. — State Farm All-Star Saturday Night (TNT)
- Taco Bell SKills Challenge
- JBL Three-Point Contest
- Verizon Slam Dunk Contest
Sunday, February 19
- 8 p.m. — NBA All-Star Game (TNT)