Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trailblazers: 3 Things to Watch For

Apr 13, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) holds the balls as Portland Trail Blazers guard Pat Connaughton (5) defends during the 4th quarter at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

On this Sunday night, the Denver Nuggets will look to snap a three game preseason losing streak as they take on the Portland Trailblazers.

Game six of Nuggets preseason sees Denver head to Portland to take on Damien Lillard and the Trailblazers. Denver is coming off a thrilling overtime lose to the Golden State Warriors, while Portland were most recently defeated by the LA Clippers in game four of their preseason.

After two games, the Nuggets returned to the Nurkic/Jokic starting lineup against the Warriors as Kenneth Faried was relegated to the bench.

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While the Nuggets lost the game, the fact that they were able to post 128 points suggests that the lineups clicked extremely well on the offensive end.

Now, onto Portland.

Oct 7, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Yi Jianlian (11) defends against Denver Nuggets forward Jarnell Stokes (12) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Nuggets Stoked with Jarnell Stokes?

With Axel Toupane, JaKarr Sampson and DJ Kennedy being waived yesterday, the race for the final roster spot in Denver is down to three; Nate Walters, Robbie Hummel and Jarnell Stokes.

Wolters has seen limited game time this preseason, while Robbie Hummel went scoreless on 0-5 shooting in 12 minutes of game time in the Nuggets last outing against the Warriors.

Of the remaining candidates, Jarnell Stokes has been the clear standout. During the game against Golden State, Stokes came off the bench to score 16 points in just 12 minutes of action. The former second round pick was perfect from both the field (5-5) and from the free throw line (6-6).

With just three games to go for the preseason, the last roster spot appears to be Stokes’ to lose.

One more solid display from Stokes may be enough to secure himself his position in Denver for the 2016/17 season. Watch for Stokes to come off the bench and make the most of his minutes against Portland. Along with his scoring, Stokes should look to impress with his high energy and his ability to rebound despite being undersized.

Oct 14, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Phil Pressey (26) and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) battle for the ball in overtime at the Pepsi Center. The Warriors won 129-128. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Damien Lillard vs Jamal Murray

During the draft process, Nuggets rookie Jamal Murray was compared to Rodney Stuckey, O.J. Mayo and Chauncey Billups by numerous scouts and media outlets. Another comparison that was being floated around, was to Blazers star Damien Lillard.

It is easy to see why some would make this comparison. Both Murray and Lillard are high scoring, offensive minded guards. They equally possess the ability to slash and get to the rim while also having the touch from deep. They have similar body types, with Murray being slightly taller.

This will be the first time the two players meet on the basketball court and it will be intriguing to see how similar they are when matching up against each other.

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While it remains to be seen just how much Lillard will play, Jamal Murray will benefit from seeing how the Blazers star goes about his game, if only briefly. Nuggets fans will hope that one day Murray is putting up numbers just like Damien Lillard.

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

Go Go Juancho!

The hype surrounding Juancho is high with Nuggets fans after strong outings in the Summer League and the preseason thus far.

Despite this, with the Nuggets at least two deep at every position, it remains to be seen just how much playing time Spanish rookie Juancho Hernangomez will get during the regular season.

That is why Juancho must make the most of his time on the court during these last three exhibition games. Through the first five games, Hernangomez is averaging 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in just under 20 minutes of action.

What the stats don’t show however, is that Juancho has adjusted to the pace of the NBA quite well. Many European rookies come over and struggle with the pace and athleticism of the league early, but Hernangomez has seemed at home on an NBA floor.

Enjoy watching Hernangomez in extended minutes during the preseason.

Conclusion

This will be another exciting preseason game, and we hope our Nuggets will be able to snap out of this funk and finally capture their third win!

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