You heard it hear first, so when it occurs I’d appreciate it if you referenced this article. First and foremost, for those of you who watch Kentucky basketball and enjoyed watching John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins share the court – have you ever wished you could watched them play together again? Well Cousins wasn’t as dominant as he is now and hardly played due to his foul trouble but he is now arguably the best center in the NBA. John Wall although currently not in the conversation for the best point guard in the game has the potential to one day claim the title and is one of the best if not the best defensive guards in the game. Now on to these Nuggets, I’ll give you a short description of these two players before I come out with my seemingly absurd statement.
Emmanuel Mudiay – He is a quick guard with great size for a point guard at 6″5 200 lbs. Having just turned 19 on March 5th, he still has a lot of time to work on his weaknesses. Mudiay has terrific court vision and can make off balance passes with either hand to the open shooter. He has a poise to his game that most rookies don’t have as shown in his summer league games. Mudiay also has the size to guard just about every point guard in the NBA if he can stay dedicated on that end. The one clear knock on the young point guard is his inability to consistently knock down the 3-point shot, but lets be honest – he still has plenty of time to work on his shot and his shot doesn’t look bad at all. Mudiay has a knack for getting into the paint with a crafty crossover dribble and find the open man, but he tends to go for the flashy moves and passes far too often which causes him to turn the ball over frequently. All in all Mudiay gives the Nuggets a floor general for the future after dealing Ty Lawson to the Houston Rockets and almost assures them that the point guard position won’t be a need in the future.
Jusuf Nurkic – The Chicago Bulls 16th pick in the 2014 first round which was then traded to the Nuggets, was a very pleasant surprise. The 6″11 280 lbs 21 year old center was the lone bright spot for the Nuggets last season. Nurkic is the reason the Nuggets decided to part ways with both of their veteran 7 footers. The Nuggets dealt JaVale McGee to the Philadelphia 76ers and they also dealt Timofey Mozgov to the Cleveland Cavaliers before the February trade deadline. Nicknamed “The Bosnian Bear” Nurkic is big enough to fend off the bigger centers in the league but also agile enough to keep up with the smaller quicker centers. Nurkic was able to stay in front of the opposing teams point guards in pick and roll situations on many occasions last season. Nurkic has also shown the ability to effectively pass the ball out of the post when being double teamed. Jusuf battled some of the leagues best big men last season and performed notably well as the competition increased. Nurkic had a double-double against Pau Gasol and the Chicago Bulls with 10 points and 10 rebounds while also blocking 3 shots. Shortly after against Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies, Nurkic notched a double-double with 10 rebounds and 10 points he also blocked 5 shots. A couple of games after Nurkic got his chance to tantalize Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins, he scored 16 points had 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots before fouling out.
The reason why I mentioned John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins in the introduction is due to the fact that the Mudiay and Nurkic duo is almost a complete replica of a young Cousins – Wall duo. They will give us headaches at first of course but if they can keep improving on what they do best and also focus on their weaknesses they should be able to create a duo every team in the league should fear. The only thing the Nuggets would have to do is put shooters around them and work on their offensive spacing to make this work. Let the young guys learn on the fly, get on them to work hard in the summer. They can be feared on both ends of the court and thats how championships are won. Can you picture Nurkic setting a hard screen at the top of the key for Mudiay and rolling to the basket, Mudiay then finds him and the wing defender drops down to the paint to leave an open Randy Foye or Danilo Gallinari open on the corner? Now imagine that over and over again until the defender stops dropping down and Nurkic has an open dunk, or both pick and roll defenders stick with Nurkic and Mudiay has an open lane to the basket. The possibilities are endless with these two and they can definitely help Denver reach the playoffs in the future, we just might have to wait a couple of years.