It’s not time to panic…yet.
Yes, the Denver Nuggets were losers in the first three games of the season. And sure, losing streaks are never ideal, especially to start. But as the wise poet Kendrick Lamar says, “hol’ up.”
That is, let’s not bury the Nuggets in the basement storage unit until all the pieces are in place. The Nuggets have failed to score 100 points in the three games this season, and a reasonable excuse for this lack of scoring is the absence of both Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
Based off both players’ scoring averages from last season, the Nuggets are missing two of the top three scorers on the team (Gallinari 16.2 ppg, Chandler 13 ppg. Ty Lawson leads the team with 20.3 ppg this season). A 6-foot-10 forward who can shoot three-pointers and spread the floor for others, Gallinari will be a huge boost for the Nuggets when he can get back on the floor and will surely be a starter. Gallinari tore his ACL in early April and is expected to return in late November. Chandler plans to return Monday against the Utah Jazz will provide a surge off the bench for Nuggets.
At this early stage, NBA teams are forming identities and realizing which players will complete regular season rotations. No doubt, the Nuggets are a team trying to figure out who they are, evident by instability in the rotation.
Starting the season on the bench, Kenneth Faried is now back in the starting lineup alongside center JaVale McGee. Although he starts, McGee is only averaging 14.3 minutes a game, due to both foul trouble and overall ineffectiveness. Head coach Brian Shaw chose to bench Jordan Hamilton the first two games, then inserted him into the starting lineup against the Spurs on Tuesday.
By December, the Nuggets should have the entire cast healthy and clicking. With Gallinari and Chandler back by that time, the offense won’t be a worry. If the McGee and Faried experiment works, the defense won’t be either. So hol’ up. The sample size is too small to make any judgements about the Nuggets final standing at this juncture. In the meantime, Shaw should hope the Nuggets don’t dig themselves too big of a hole in a competitive Western Conference.