Nuggets Power Rankings Review: Defense getting national attention
The Nuggets concluded one of the best months in franchise history as they went 10-2 in November, their best showing in that month since the 2009-10 season.
Defense has been the calling card for coach Michael Malone’s team, but concerns about the other side of the court are preventing the Nuggets from moving up in the national media power rankings. Denver is currently No. 1 in the NBA in overall defensive rating (101.9) and is holding opponents to an impressive 30.9 percent shooting from downtown (1st). On offense, however, the Nuggets are 18th in overall rating at 106.8 and are averaging 106.7 points per game (24th).
Here is what the national media had to say in their power rankings this week:
ESPN: No. 4
What they said: “After a six-game win streak, the Nuggets finally had a letdown against the Kings. It's the kind of game that falls firmly under the "it happens" category, in which you blow a 17-point lead to lose in overtime and you move on.”
Bleacher Report: No. 6
What they said: “Still, the Nuggets are a sterling 13-4 on the year, propelled through Nikola Jokić’s ongoing offensive struggles (he was just 3-of-11 with seven points in 36 minutes against the Kings) by the league's No. 1-ranked defense.”
The Athletic: No. 7
What they said: “The Nuggets look nothing like the offense we’ve seen in the last two seasons. With all that said, they’re finding ways to win games and that’s a skill they’ve developed. Winning ugly.”
NBA.com: No. 6
What they said: “The Nuggets have the league's No. 1 defense and are in second place in the West, just a game in the loss column behind the Lakers, who they host on Tuesday. But their offense, which scored just 33 second-half points as they blew a 17-point lead in Sacramento on Saturday, continues to disappoint. Only the Warriors (-10.3 points per 100 possessions) and Magic (-5.7) have seen a bigger drop in offensive efficiency from last season than the Nuggets (-5.3), who were one of five teams with a top-10 offense in each of the last three seasons.”
SI.com: No. 5
What they said: “Shoot the ball, Nikola Jokić. The Nuggets’ center went 3–11 from the field in Saturday’s 100-97 loss to the Kings, making just one of six attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime. Jokic is of course a passing savant, but his scoring threat unlocks the floor for Denver. Three of Denver’s four losses this season have come when Jokic attempts fewer than 12 shots. Denver’s offense leaps another level when he’s aggressive.”