The Nuggets kicked off a three game homestand on Monday night against the Lakers and, as of right now, are on a 3-game winning streak. The Celtics, Kings, and Lakers were the latest victims of the Nuggets, but the question is, can they keep it going in their upcoming stretch of games?
After having yesterday off, the Nuggets had a practice today and Coach Malone was very happy. I also got a few minutes to talk with Juancho Hernangomez about his first year in the NBA, his go-to for advice, and his mindset on how the team has been playing. Gary Harris and Will Barton also took the time for the media as well. Big shout out to those three for their time.
ONE ON ONE WITH JUANCHO:
Almost a full season into your first year, what has it been like so far, just the environment on and off of the court with these guys?
“I think it’s like a big family, I’m really happy to be here. I really feel comfortable with all my guys. All my teammates help me out there and outside the court. I think we are a really good group, we have a really good team chemistry so I think we are in a good way.”
Do you have anyone that you ever go to if you ever need anything? Just advice or anything like that?
“I can’t say only one. Mike has helped me a lot, Jameer, Gallo too. Wilson, DA, Kenneth, and the rookies too. I think all the guys help me. I think we are a really good team, like I told you. Everybody comes to help one another. If you need to ask something, everybody is happy to tell you some advice or secret. You know, it’s good.”
How do you feel regarding how the team has been playing lately, specifically the defense?
“This is the NBA, this is the best league of basketball in the world so all of the teams got the best players. Every night it’s a challenge to guard the best players in the world so I want to practice so hard to be ready for the games and try to do my best.”
What do you personally do to prepare yourself both mentally and on the court before a game?
“I try to focus on the game, focus who I’m guarding, focus on his plays, focus on everything. You need to be ready mentally, physically. Your body, you need to be ready, everything.”
On tomorrow’s game against the Clippers:
“They’re getting healthy, we’re getting healthy, so it’s going to be a fun game.”
On his off season training:
“I was just staying in the gym, taking it easy, really low key. Just getting in the gym, worked on the court, worked on my body off of the court.”
On his 3PT%:
“Just getting as many reps as possible […] Not taking any days off.”
On watching other teams playing:
“It’s natural for us to keep track of Portland, Dallas, New Orleans, see what they’re doing right now, just cause we’re all fighting for this eighth spot but at the end of the day, it’s all about us. Just keep focused and take it one day at a time.”
On Wilson Chandler:
“I felt bad because he missed all of last year, it definitely hurt us not being able to have him. He does it all, he can guard multiple positions, he can score […] he’s so versatile and he’s definitely huge for our team.”
On the vision of the team from the beginning to now:
“We have a lot of talent. I think we’ve got one of the deepest teams in the league. Guys can really shoot and score the ball. We can do a lot of different things so when we’re clicking, playing for each other, and playing the right way, we put ourselves in a position to beat anyone.”
“I don’t care who we have coming in, it’s just about playing the right way and continuing to find a way to be consistent.”
On upcoming stretch and defense:
“It’s more about us at this point. If we could continue to be a team that is 30th in defensive efficiency, now in the last 8 games, we’re 12th. That is a huge improvement and obviously we just can’t, ‘Oh, we’re playing well because we’re scoring.’ No, our defense has been the difference maker in ur playing at a much higher level and we’ll need that regardless of who we play in these last 15 and hopefully into the playoffs.”
“For us, we’ve been a lot more aggressive. On the season, you look at points scored off of forcing turnovers, probably the last in the NBA–last 8 games, we’re top 5. We’re scoring 19 points a game off of turnovers that we force.
On Mason Plumlee:
“Mason Plumlee has been a huge addition to our team. People talk about his offense and his playmaking. Defensively, he’s been great.”
On Mase & Joker:
“Him [Plumlee] and Jokic on the court together are at a high level on both ends of the floor.”
On the playoff run:
“Our guys really understand: to be a playoff team, defense has to be part of the equation.”
Danilo Gallinari: (knee) OUT
Darrell Arthur: (rest) OUT
Wilson Chandler (groin) OUT
Kenneth Faried (back) QUESTIONABLE