Nuggets Power Rankings Review: Denver slides during tough road trip

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

The Nuggets will wrap up their four-game road trip with a matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. Denver has struggled to a 1-2 record in the opening games of the road trip, with losses against the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. As a result, Denver’s standing in various national media power rankings has dropped as the team continues to search for a rhythm on the offensive end.

Without further ado, let’s check in with what the national media had to say about the Nuggets this week.

ESPN: No. 8

What they said: It's the first real rough patch of the season for the Nuggets, who have lost four of five, with the lone win being a gimme against the Knicks. In litmus test games against the Lakers and Celtics, Denver looked a notch below and showed signs of tangible issues on offense. In these past five games, they are pretty much holding steady defensively. But offensively, they're scoring 104.8 points per 100 possessions, which for the season would rank just above the bottom five of the league.

Sports Illustrated: No. 7

What they said: Denver has jumped from No. 25 to No. 10 to No. 1 in defensive rating in each of the last three years. Mike Malone deserves props for his no-nonsense ethos, while GM Tim Connelly has compiled a quality crop of frontcourt defenders to surround Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets’ stout defense keeps them as contenders for the West crown even as Jokic struggles to find his footing in 2019-20.

Bleacher Report: No. 10

What they said: (Nikola) Jokic was better in Friday's road loss to Boston, setting a season high with 30 points. But Sunday's slip in Brooklyn dropped Denver to 1-4 in its last five games, and Jokic's subpar form is a major reason the Nuggets have struggled lately.

The Athletic: No. 10

What they said: They’ve lost four of their last five games. It’s great they were able to embarrass the Knicks and put the nail in the David Fizdale job security coffin, but they got handled by the Lakers and Celtics this week. Edged out by Brooklyn meant they couldn’t be higher than 10th.

NBA.com: No. 10

What they said: Everything - the offense and the bench, especially - looked great at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Then Nikola Jokic had his long-awaited breakthrough over the weekend, registering a usage rate of 30% or better in two straight games for just the second time this season and totaling 54 points on 55% shooting in Boston and Brooklyn. But the Nuggets have lost four of their last five games, scoring less than a point per possession in three of the four losses.

After the Nuggets wrap up their four-game trip in Philadelphia on Tuesday, they'll begin their longest homestand (five games over nine days) of the season.

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