Oct 12, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Minnesota won 105-88. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Nuggets were humiliated in their fourth preseason game by the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game that was played in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Nuggets dropped their second preseason game tonight in a blowout against Minnesota. In a way this was good since it showcased what Denver really needs to work on.
It is important to keep in mind that the Nuggets rested several key players, and it is only preseason. However, a loss is a loss and a blowout from a division rival stings no matter what.
They were nonetheless blown out by 17 points. They did take a four point deficit into halftime, but ultimately they found themselves down 17 at the end of three and looking their second preseason loss in the face.
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The Nuggets had a hard time getting the offense started without four of their normal starting playing. Although several key players were out, we will were able to take some thoughts away from this game.
Oct 12, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone watches during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY
Perimeter defense is still a problem
If the Nuggets don’t work on this issue soon, it will be a long year.
The league relies on the 3-ball more than ever, and it is foolish to think a team can get away with being successful without guarding the perimeter.
They gave up nine threes tonights, and the Timberwolves shot an in credible 47.% going 9-19 from behind the arc. This was due to a little help from everyone with Bjelica leading the way going 3-5 from deep.
In two of the three preseason games, Denver saw D’Angelo Russell and Lou Williams splash on them from behind the arc; so, this could be a problem that will need to be taken of now and not during the regular season. Albeit the Nuggets were without Barton and Harris this is still no excuse for left sign this happen.
However, this will also be assisted when Gary Harris returns from injury. Sadly, it seems that teams are going to exploit this weakness.
Oct 12, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Juancho Hernangomez (41) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica (88) in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Minnesota won 105-88. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Turnovers are becoming concerning
With the first two games it is understandable why a team as young as Denver may have trouble with ball security.
But in game four of the preseason, the rust should be knocked off by now but the turnovers tell a different story.
Chandler had five costly turnovers despite an effective performance in the points category, and Jokic also had four key ones as well. It’s one thing if Beasley and Murray are committing these, but Chandler is a seasoned veteran and Jokic has had a year of experience under his belt.
Current third string point guard, Nate Wolters did not do much to impress the coaches as he also committed four turnovers. As he is trying to play to earn the last roster, it will be difficult if he continues to have showing like this.
It should be noted that Denver had 25 turnovers compared to Minnesota’s 16. So, I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt for the Nuggets to pick up the pace defensively a bit. They have averaged 18.7 turnovers per game through the first three games which makes this one even more unacceptable. The lack of ball may be something that coach Malone notes moving forward.
Oct 12, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) drives to the hoop against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Minnesota won 105-88. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
It’s only preseason
While there is much room for improvement, Nuggets fans need not panic yet.
As eluded to already, Denver sat many key players for tonight. This was an opportunity for other players to show Coach Malone what they bring to the table. Plus, let’s be honest, Minnesota is projected to be a good team this year anyway.
But, if Harris, Mudiay, Nurkic, and Gallinari played, we probably would have seen a much different result. Therefore, this game does not define how our season will go. Also is key to note that there were times in this game where it seemed to be our rookies and training camp guys against some of their starters. Anyone would suffer at the hands of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
It is never fun to see the Nuggets lose. But with a few corrections, and some players returning, the ship can get back on course soon. And the real focus is on the regular season, the preseason is to see who will make the cut and develop the rookies.
So let’s give Minnesota their due credit and turn our attention towards the next game against Golden State and let our team show that we still despise the Warriors!