The Denver Nuggets will take on the Perth Wildcats Friday night in the Nuggets’ preseason home opener. This is the first, and only look, Nuggets fans will get in person at the team before the Oct. 20 regular season home opener against Phoenix.
Perth, of Australia’s NBL, is participating in their second game of the NBA preseason after coming off a 130-72 loss to the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Perth has had six days off since that matchup, giving them plenty of time to recover from potential jet lag and adjust to the altitude of the two cities. Still, the Jazz got off to a 44-13 lead after the first quarter of action last, so here are some things to watch for if the game gets out of hand.
Full Starting Rotation
Gary Harris and Jamal Murray are both expected to start tonight. This will give the Nuggets and fans their first look at what the starting lineup and initial rotations will look like. Ultimately, at some point the rotations will be scrapped in favor of rest and health, but we should get a least an early look of who’s first off the bench. With Isaiah Thomas, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Michael Porter Jr. all still out rehabbing injury there are plenty of chances for voids to be filled by Monte Morris and Juancho Hernangomez to continue to carve their role into the rotation.
As far as the starters are concerned, there is still some room to show that they’re all clicking and able to give consistent mental effort for the duration of their minutes. Clearly, this is difficult to measure in a preseason game, particularly one against a team from outside the NBA, but if the Nuggets can get out to a similar, or even better, start than the Jazz did that would suffice for a good performance from the group.
The Nuggets Court Design
Many have been anticipating the first look at the new Pepsi Center floor since the redesign of the jerseys this summer. Tonight we’ll get the first look at the court in game action. The court features the new color scheme pickaxe logo at center court with a simplified design surrounding it. The baselines are capped with “Denver Nuggets” in bold white font with “Mile High Basketball” in yellow on the sideline opposite the bench. The exterior of the court is colored with the Nuggets new dark blue while the interior is light throughout with some minor details that fans may enjoy. While most of the court markings are blue, the paint is surrounded in “flatirons red.” Just inside the free throw line is 5280 for the cities altitude accompanied by the new secondary pickaxe logo in the restricted area.
That’s a lot to say about a court, but given how good the Nuggets jerseys have looked so far it will be exciting to seem them on their home court.
— T.J. McBride (@TJMcBrideNBA) October 5, 2018
Craig used to play in the NBL himself, for the Brisbane Bullets. Craig has received lots of media attention this week leading up to the game about his time in Australia and figures to get plenty of time going up against some of his former competitors.
Given Craig’s improvement, specifically in the spot up shooting department, I could see Craig going off in potentially extended minutes and having a big night at the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets should run away with this game. While it shouldn’t be as bad as the Jazz beat Perth on Saturday given the travel adjustment time, the Nuggets should strive to set a similar mark and should have no problem showing off their offense at home. Expect the Nuggets to put up over 120, even with getting some action for some of their two-way and preseason games for most of the fourth quarter.