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NIkola Jokic

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Bones Hyland closed the game at the point guard spot for the Denver Nuggets in the second night of a back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings. For the most part, he got the ball where it needed to go. Watch all possessions over the final 6 minutes and let us know what you think about his clutch time offense. Also in…

1. Nikola Jokic's between-the-legs pass might be the pass of the year for the Denver Nuggets. What makes it better is that the pass was actually a counter to the way the Memphis Grizzlies were defending one of Denver's most common actions.

In the clip below, you can see how the Grizzlies aggressive denial of the reversal triggered Jokic to become the release valve every time the team ran that play in the first half. In the second half, Brown perfectly timed the "blind pig" action. Perfectly enough for Jokic to just hike the ball in stride to Brown for the easy dunk.

https://youtu.be/M9ImqsAvUMQ

2. Jokic is a wizard at waiting until the last second to make his read as a passer. In the clips below, you can see how the flare screen to the corner is the first read for Jokic. But by waiting until the last possible second, Jokic is actually luring the defender away from his preferred option which is the dropoff pass to the screener.

https://youtu.be/iRJOXg3fV-Y

3. I like that Christian Braun isn't just settling for spot-up jumpers when he's sharing the court with the starting unit. Braun is shooting just 31% from behind the arc this season, a number that needs to improve in order for him to become a reliable two-way option for the Nuggets. But even if he becomes a more steady three-point shooter, mixing in cuts like the one below that get him attacking the basket is still a valuable option.

Braun is big for a wing and has a 40-inch vertical. We haven't seen him fully deploy his athleticism in the NBA just yet but I like that he is looking for options where he is going towards the rim and not always flaring to the corner.

https://youtu.be/KIwfEJiutkA

4. Another great cut. Watch how Brown flares and then cuts off of the Gordon screen, forcing Dillon Brooks to take the furthest possible angle. That cut, paired with a perfectly timed entry pass, forces the favorable switch.

https://youtu.be/GypiYO4jcjY

5. Another important skill for Christian Braun will be his ability to knockdown dribble handoff and pick-and-roll three-pointers when the defense goes under the screen.

https://youtu.be/EOpsBmT8EFU

6. Here is Braun quickly falling back into Denver's free flow rhythm after an offensive rebound and taking an aggressive left-handed drive to the rim. Braun has the foundation of a solid offensive option. A decent three-point shot, the ability to handle the ball in basic actions, and the right amount of aggressiveness for a 5th option.

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Another historic moment in Nuggets history passed by in the past two games without a moment’s fanfare, and if you’ve gotten to know this space, of course it was associated with Nikola Jokic.

1. If there is one reason to have faith in the Denver Nuggets championship aspirations this season it is the perfect synergy of the Nikola Jokic - Jamal Murray two man game. The duo took a 500 day hiatus yet picked up immediately where they left off as if they never stopped playing. The two of them are so perfectly in sync at all times, especially at the close of each half when the other three players seem content to get out of the way and watch as the two dance back and forth en route to the exact outcome that they seem fit. The term pick your poison seems to undersell the conundrum presented by those. Often times, the duo will gladly make that choice for you.

https://youtu.be/Xev9bufPT58

2. One of my favorite things about Jokic is that he has a counter for every read the defense makes. Here, rookie Walker Kessler clearly studied his scouting report to note that these rub screens send Jokic to one of his favorite spots on the left block. But Jokic sees him jump the action and decides to pop out to the three point line, taking advantage of Kessler's early work.

After the game, Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy said of Kessler, "Walker came to the bench at one point and said like 'I'm trying really hard.' I said, 'Dude, I get it. You are trying really hard. And keep trying hard. This is part of your growth."

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1. “Peel Sting” is one of Denver’s go-to isolation plays for their power forwards and one of the most common set plays in Michael Malone’s playbook. The play starts with a 1-4 ball screen that usually forces a switch before leading to a mid or low post touch for the “4” to attack a mismatch. Here are several examples from…

This week on THE LIST, I break down some of the key plays from the Denver Nuggets’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night. Clips include a spotlight on poor transition defense and defensive effort, a promising example of the improving Murray-Jokic two-man game, and one of the keys for Michael Porter Jr. unlocking his potential alongside Nikola…...

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While basketball may not be everybody’s cup of tea, the Joker is a decided sea change in how the game has been played for years, and is shifting the nature of the game around him. He’s a Picasso in the middle of the Monet exhibit, changing the perspective of his position and competition. While nearly every player who comes through the league is unique in some way, Jokic is decidedly one of one when it boils down to looking for a player comp.

When you’re playing against a stacked deck, compete even harder. Show the world how much you’ll fight for the winners circle. If you do, someday the cellophane will crackle off a fresh pack, one that belongs to you, and the cards will be stacked in your favor.- Pat RileyThough Mr. Riley’s words are strong and apt, he’s a funny person…

Once a week on Friday mornings, I jump onto an hour-long call with three of the biggest pains-in-the-asses I have ever known or met. They also happen to be my three dearest and oldest friends, the kind of folks that blended more into family than friendship eons ago. We still keep this appointment, come hell or high water, over and above the demands of work, family, and friends, as it means something to us. We have a common bond.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, o-ohhIf you liked it then you should have put a ring on itBeyonce A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.Robert Quillen Summer is wedding season, in case you didn’t know, or are not a follower of Bridal Wars, Bridezillas, Yes to the Dress, or any one of the other matrimonial shows whose…

From the perspective of many, Connelly was the architect of all that had gone right with the Nuggets… With his departure, had the Nuggets just lost their Carroll Shelby?

“The hallmark of excellence, the test of greatness, is consistency.” – Jim Tressell To say it was unexpected is an understatement. Possibly no one said it better than Nikola Jokic himself, sitting in front of a small stable while in a conversation with TNT’s Ernie Johnson… Johnson: Did you always consider yourself a long-shot? Jokic: If it’s not me, who…...

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“Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption Hope is the name of at least three cities in the United States. Hope is the name of a cousin of mine. Hope is a dessert at this cool little place I went to in Arkansas.…...

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“And if it’s bad, don’t let it get you down You can take it And if it hurts, don’t let them see you cry You can make it Hold your head up Hold your head high” – Argent, “Hold Your Head Up” Turns out the Denver Nuggets are facing just a few too many heads at the moment. Heads held…...

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1. One of the big improvements to Nikola Jokic’s game over the last few seasons has been his comfort level attacking the basket off of the dribble. He shot 68.4% on 1.8 field goal attempts off of drives this season, by far the best mark among players with at least 1.8 attempts per game. Most of Jokic’s drives come off…...

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“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen Covey “I was reading a book… ‘the history of glue’ – I couldn’t put it down.” – Tim Vine I’ve been really lucky to get to spend the last three decades of my life singing in…...

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