DENVER — It’s shaping up to be the Denver Nuggets’ most important season since the mid 2000’s -- and it all hinges on the health of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
"In my mind, I’m moving at a different pace," Murray said Monday at the Nuggets' media day. "I’m more under control. That’s what I’ve been working on. Playing harder, playing with more intensity is my ramp up, my next step."
Murray missed all of last season as he recovered from the ACL injury he suffered two seasons ago. Porter Jr. played in just nine games last season as he ultimately had back surgery.
"You want to get back to the point after injuries where you’re playing free. I don’t think you should come back and play before then. And I’m at that point now," Porter Jr. said.
At media day, we met some of the new Nuggets. Bruce Brown will add defense.
"The offense will take care of itself," Brown said. "So it’s just me, going out there guarding and making it tough for the opposing team’s best offensive player every night."
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was brought in to surround Nikola Jokic with shooting, and big man DeAndre Jordan and point guard Ish Smith are a couple of new bench additions as well.
It will be year two for Bones Hyland, who made the NBA’s All-Rookie second team last year. Head coach Michael Malone’s message to him?
"You [Bones] gotta grow up. You gotta learn how to be a pro. You gotta handle the details. And it wasn’t about on the court as much."
Jokic signed a record breaking, five-year, $265M contract extension during the offseason and he talked about getting it done, which means he’ll be staying in Denver for a long time.
"I want to be the Tim Duncan of the Denver Nuggets," Jokic said. "I need to win a couple championships to be him. I like the city, I like the organization, and the people so I really enjoy it here. I don’t want to change anything."
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