Home / World News / Nuggets need to add a jerk to their lineup. Here’s why.

Nuggets need to add a jerk to their lineup. Here’s why.

John Elway was in the house, so you know it must be basketball season in Denver. For those of you that have been checking everything except NBA scores on your mobile device, let me bring you up to speed: The Nuggets are going to make the playoffs.

But before the Nuggets welcome Kevin Durant or our old pal Carmelo Anthony to town for a playoff series, Denver coach Michael Malone must add one essential element to the starting lineup.

The Nuggets need to find a jerk.

I nominate Jamal Murray for the job. Sure, he’s only 20 years old and yes-sir polite. But there’s a mean son of a gun inside him, kicking and scratching to get out.

And I mean that in the nicest sense of the word.

The Nuggets are too nice for their own good. Nikola Jokic is called Big Honey for a reason. Although Jokic stands 7 feet tall, his sweet personality makes him everybody’s favorite baby brother. The game of Gary Harris is all grown up, but he’s just about the last guy to speak out when a teammate needs to be chewed out. Wilson Chandler brings the sleepy-eyed calm of a chess master to the court. Veteran Paul Millsap can’t set the tone from the injured list.

Why do the Nuggets need a jerk? Although pro basketball is celebrated as aerial ballet, the difference between winning and losing in the playoffs is as wicked as that look in the eyes of Michael Jordan right after he stuck a jumper through your team’s heart. For all the skill of Steph Curry, the Warriors would have no shot at being a dynasty without the nastiness of Draymond Green.

The NBA season is a grind. And the fourth quarter is often won by the player with the biggest brass backbone. As a group the Nuggets have the talent to play and beat Minnesota, the young team on the rise in the Western Conference. But Denver lost twice in late December to the Timberpups because they have a true alpha dog in Jimmy Butler.

In a game coach Mike Malone said his team couldn’t afford to lose, the Nuggets made what should have been an easy night half a chore, before beating Phoenix 134-111 Wednesday.

Can somebody tell the Nuggets: No more messing around. Basketball season has officially begun in Denver. Even those of us that aren’t hoops junkies are paying attention now. No more flying under the radar, guys.

How do we know the Broncos are done? Colorado royalty showed up for an NBA game against the nondescript Phoenix Suns.

Former Mayor Wellington Webb was in the house. Governor John Hickenlooper sat courtside. During a timeout, Elway hit Rocky the mascot between the numbers with a tighter spiral than any pass thrown by Paxton Lynch during the last two years.

The Nuggets lollygagged for two periods against Phoenix, trailing 67-61 at halftime before getting re-engaged and blowing away the Suns with a 37-point third quarter. Hey, embarrassing, lifeless performances happen, especially during the dead-of-winter stretch in an NBA season.

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