Opposing Views: Nuggets Beat Writer Chris Dempsey
Phoenix is back at home after a three-game road trip, with the Nuggets next up on Friday night. Matt Petersen caught up with Chris Dempsey, the Nuggets beat writer for The Denver Post, to talk about both teams from the opposing sideline's point of view.
Petersen: The Suns and Nuggets both underwent major changes during the offseason. Which change for Denver, roster or front office, has had the biggest impact?
Dempsey: At this point it’s probably a push. Or maybe actually a little bit in favor of the front office, because they’ve brought in a number of new players in that still have their most meaningful impacts for the team ahead of them. The coaching hire has been a huge shakeup for the players who were here last season because of added structure in the offensive and defensive schemes. So the old players figuring out where their shots are coming from now, the new players figuring out how they fit in with the incumbent players and everyone getting used to new terminology has been a big process. Over time, however, the front office will have the largest impact, of course, in how it molds the roster to its liking with a stated goal of winning a championship.
Petersen: Ty Lawson and Eric Bledsoe are both point guards who were taken 18th overall in their respective draft years. How do you compare and contrast the two playmakers?
Dempsey: Eric Bledsoe’s working with a size advantage over the speedier Ty Lawson, but these two players compare really favorably. I’d say Bledsoe is the more natural scorer, but Lawson has raised his level in that part of his game the last couple of seasons. Both are cat-quick in the open court and are adept at finishing at the rim – even with formidable defenders contesting the shot. Really looking forward to watching these two go at it tonight and in future matchups this season.
Petersen: Like the Suns, the Nuggets have experimented with two point guards on the floor at once at certain times. How has it helped/hindered the team?
Dempsey: A lot of this has come out of necessity for the Nuggets, and part of it is also because of ‘no-position’ guards like Nate Robinson. He can play point or shooting guard, but isn’t necessarily one of those positions over the other. The Nuggets are really small at the guard spots, but they like the potential to really turn up the speed and playmaking with Lawson and Robinson on the floor. They know that either of the two could be posted up, but on the other end would cause havoc for the opponent’s defense with their quickness. The Nuggets have even gone to a three-guard lineup with Andre Miller essentially playing small forward. A lot of this stems from the team not yet having the reliable backup at shooting guard that they’d like just yet to slot everyone the right way. The results have been mixed, but coach Brian Shaw seems to like it so look for it tonight for sure.
Petersen: Which team would you pick to win in a 3-on-3 game of athletic freaks: Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe and Miles Plumlee or Nate Robinson, Anthony Randolph and JaVale McGee (with Archie Goodwin and Kenneth Faried as subs)?
Dempsey: First off, I’d start Kenneth Faried. Then I’d like the Nuggets chances a lot better. The shooting edge would go to Phoenix, but any missed opportunities would be gobbled up quickly by Faried and McGee. Eh, I’ll go with the Nuggets. Predictable, right?