Turnovers, rough defense and poor shooting sink the Denver Nuggets for the third time of the young NBA season in Charlotte.
The Denver Nuggets fall to the Charlotte hornets 110 to 93 behind an impressive shooting performance from Buzz City. Malik Monk and Frank Kaminsky both had hot hands, combining for 37 points off the bench. The youngsters ignited an offense that would finish the game with a 43.3 shooting percentage from deep.
The Nuggets shot just 38.4 % from the field in a contest they were favored to win. It was the second consecutive display of rough shooting from a team that was red hot in the preseason, when they shot 43.7 percent from the field and an impressive 41.5 percent from deep. They couldn’t buy a bucket in this game though. Garry Harris continued to struggle (7-17) while Wilson Chandler was horrendous again (3-10) and Paul Millsap ended his night 3-9 from the field.
The only starter that was particularly effective from the field was Nikola Jokic, who shot 8/11. Though perhaps those 11 attempts weren’t enough. Jokic hasn’t been bad to open the season, but he and Millsap are struggling to gel in their first handful of games together. The two were considered to be one of the most highly anticipated frontcourt pairings in the league, but it hasn’t come to fruition just yet.
Denver has only managed an offensive rating of 95.5 while Jokic and Millsap share the floor. The Nuggets have a lot to figure out, but this is near the top of the list.
Another area of concern has been the point guard position. Both guards contributed subpar minutes last night, demonstrating poor shooting and an inability to take care of the ball. With the acquisition of Richard Jefferson this year, the Nuggets were forced to cut veteran Jameer Nelson. This provides a clear path for Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay to prove who can step up as the point guard this team needs.
Unfortunately, through a handful of games, neither Murray nor Mudiay have played particularly well. Jamal Murray finished with a negative 13 rating in last night’s game. And Mudiay posted a rating of negative four in 14 minutes of action.
Many of the Nuggets fans have called for a change up at the position. Mudiay, whose turnovers continue to plague him in the NBA, has been mentioned in recent trade talks with the Phoenix Suns involving disgruntled All-Star Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe, a proven talent at the NBA level, would add stability and defense to the position that the Nuggets desperately need.
Jamal has the ability to create his own shot and get red hot from beyond the arc. While Mudiay possesses the physical attributes that any team would dream about. Perhaps all they need is more time. But last night was yet another game in which the problems surrounding the point guard position reared their ugly head.
Games like last night cannot happen in an ultra competitive western conference. Denver cannot drop winnable games if they wish to pursue a playoff spot this year. The Nuggets problems are solvable, but in a loaded conference and division, they may already be running out of time.
The Denver Nuggets take on the Hawks in Atlanta on Friday, Oct 27th at 5:30 MDT on altitude.