Denver Nuggets Shootaround Takeaways: Oct. 23, 2019

PORTLAND – The Nuggets held a morning shootaround at the Moda Center ahead of their Wednesday night season-opening matchup against the Trail Blazers.

Here’s what Nuggets.com learned:

Jerami Grant excited for Nuggets debut

Grant was the Nuggets’ prized offseason recruit after arriving in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Denver’s President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly has mentioned several times the 25-year-old power forward has been long-coveted by the organization and Grant projects to be an impact reserve for the team. After several months of discussing his potential fit in Malone’s gameplan, Grant is happy to finally get the season going.

“Definitely excited [for my first game as a Nugget],” Grant told Nuggets.com. “This is a good opportunity for us to show what we can do as a team.”

Throughout the preseason, Grant has looked a seamless fit. He was second in scoring during exhibition (12.0 ppg) and shot 58.3 percent from downtown in four games. Grant appreciates what he’s seen from his teammates during training camp and is excited about the potential of the group.

“We work extremely hard as a group and the coaching staff as well,” he explained. “The sky is limit for us.”

Grant has also enjoyed his brief time with Nuggets head coach Michael Malone as well. Grant has worked with some reputable coaches, including Brett Brown and Billy Donovan. The forward pointed to Malone’s ability to communicate and receive feedback as the head coach’s strongest suit.

“He’s definitely a player’s coach and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win,” Grant said. “He takes feedback and he’s a good overall coach.”

He added, “He listens to what you have to say and he takes it into consideration when he’s going over the gameplan. He knows that we have experience on the court and he’s willing to listen to it.”

Denver is ready to defy the odds

The Trail Blazers have won a league-record 18-straight home openers, proving just how difficult it is play at Portland. Malone, however, believes his team is ready for the task at hand.

“This is a division rival, a team we have a tremendous amount of respect for and we’re going to have to play a hell of a game to come in here and win,” Malone said. “They’ve won [18] straight home openers, which is a league record, we’re hoping to end that.”

Monte ready to move on from last season

Months after a frustrating and often chippy playoff series against the Blazers, Monte Morris is glad the Nuggets finally have an opportunity to move on from the team’s heartbreaking Game 7 loss in the West semifinals.

“If you’re a competitor, it still should sit deep in your soul that you were that close to going to the Western Conference Finals. But we can’t dwell on last year,” Morris explained to Nuggets.com. “We’ve got to learn from it and move forward. It’s a new year and we have to prove ourselves.”

Morris is confident that he and his teammates will show that from the opening tip of the season.

“It’s big time [for the season to start], just to have the good vibes back and be back in this environment. Everyone is ready to go,” Morris said. “We should come out with a lot of energy and get our wind back that we dropped in May.”