Denver Nuggets Orlando Bubble Practice Day 14: Three Takeaways
The Denver Nuggets held the final practice of their unofficial “training camp” in the NBA bubble. Beginning tomorrow, Denver will play eight seeding games across 14 days before the 2019-20 playoffs begin on Aug. 17.
Therefore, practice time will be limited over the ensuing weeks as the team constantly recovers and prepares for games.
Friday’s practice was a final opportunity for the Nuggets to prepare for the Miami Heat, as well as continue to work on the team’s on-court chemistry now that head coach Michael Malone has a majority of his players with him in the bubble.
Following practice, Paul Millsap and P.J. Dozier spoke to the media. Here are three takeaways from Friday’s session.
Millsap confident about team’s preparation
A major talking point throughout Denver’s unofficial training camp has been the lack of healthy bodies available during practices and in the three scrimmages. However, the team’s veteran and one of its key leaders believes that the Nuggets are ready to hit the ground running in the seeding games.
“I think we’re in a good place,” Millsap said. “It was good to get the exhibition games out of the way and see where we’re at and where we stand at the moment. We know the things we need to work on and get better at and we’re prepared to battle tomorrow.”
It remains to be seen just how many rotation players will be healthy enough to play in Saturday’s contest, but it’s clear that despite the challenges they have faced in recent weeks, the Nuggets are not lacking confidence as the seeding games begin.
Jamal Murray’s approach has impressed
Just by looking at pictures or watching clips from practice, one can easily tell that Jamal Murray transformed his body during the league’s hiatus. Murray has stood out in practices and in the one scrimmage game he was able to play in.
Murray’s approach has also stood out and impressed teammates, who have fed off of his game and confidence.
“He (Murray) definitely came into this bubble with a killer’s mentality,” Dozier said Friday. “Even prior to arriving at the bubble, back in Denver just seeing him working really hard day in and day out. Just being able to see that and see the confidence he’s brought here has been great.”
If Murray is able to provide All-Star level of play throughout the seeding games and playoffs, the Nuggets become a much more dangerous team. So far, the signs are positive on that front.
Nuggets are ready for the Heat
The Miami Heat are not a team that you can simply walk through a game and expect to win. Miami has long been known for its tenacity on the defensive end, but this year that defense has been supported by elite 3-point shooting and ball movement.
The Heat present a valuable opportunity for the Nuggets to get a good sense of where they are on both ends of the floor. Denver struggled mightily during the scrimmages when it came to taking care of the ball and defending the 3-point line.
Against Miami, continued struggles in those aspects of the game will almost certainly guarantee defeat. However, the Heat are a really good team for the Nuggets to test their current level of play.
“This is definitely a great first game to come out and play in the bubble against a team like that,” Dozier said. “We’re definitely prepared and we’re ready to go.”