Denver Nuggets Mailbag: Title chances and Gary Harris' offensive production

by Alex Labidou
Nuggets.com Staff Writer
@LabidouA

Another week, another Nuggets mailbag.

It’s been an eventful week for the team as it has won two of its last three games, with quality victories over Philadelphia and Minnesota. Still, there have been plenty of questions raised after a surprise home loss to the Hawks. 

In this week’s mailbag, we take a look at Nuggets’ chances of contending, Gary Harris’ offensive production and players who have had their numbers retired by the team.

All opinions and ideas expressed below are our own and do not reflect any views of the Denver Nuggets’ front office and coaching staff.

It would be self-serving for Nuggets.com to say “Of course, we will,” so I’ll defer to Vegas on this one. According to the oddsmakers, Denver has the seventh-best odds (+1600) to win the NBA title this year – which certainly puts them in good company. 

The key for the team will be putting it all together on the court. Outside of the victory against Miami, Denver has yet to fully click on both sides of the court. In the team’s first 10 games, there have been flashes of brilliance – especially on defense. The two areas where head coach Michael Malone wants to see improvement is converting more on open threes and bench production. The Nuggets are currently shooting 34.2 percent on wide-open threes (24th) and have a bench net rating of -3.9 (29th). Thankfully, it’s still early in the season and there is time to make adjustments in both areas.

When is Harris going to start to hit some shots [Jared Hanes from Facebook]

Gary Harris is off to a slow start offensively, but he’s posting some of the best defensive numbers of his career. The 25-year-old has a career-high in defensive rating at 102.1, his best net rating at 6.5 and his second-best average in steals (1.4). 

 

 

One factor which could be a factor for Harris is his usage rate on offense. He’s posting the second-lowest usage rate of his career at 16.5, which is just below his sophomore and rookie seasons (16.0). In comparison, in Harris’ breakout 2016-17 season, he had a career-high usage rate of 20.4. That basically means Harris is getting fewer plays in the Nuggets’ offense, which could explain his dip in that area.

It is important to note the Nuggets have improved their roster personnel since two seasons ago, which would explain some of the decline in his usage. However, if Harris can improve his efficiency, that would help raise his numbers on offense. He’s posting the second-lowest true shooting percentage in his career (48.4). In the 2016-17 campaign, it was at a career-best 61.1 percent.

Hi John, 

The Nuggets currently have six players who have seen their numbers retired by the team: Alex English (2), Fat Lever (12), David Thompson (33), Bryon Beck (40), Dan Issel (44) and Dikembe Mutombo (55). Beck was the first player to have his number go up in the rafters, while Mutombo was the most recent. 

The team also retired the No. 432, which is the number of victories legendary head coach Doug Moe had during his time in Denver.

 

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