The Nuggets Starting Lineup For Their First Bubble Scrimmage Is Monstar Sized


The Denver Nuggets began their stint in the NBA’s Orlando bubble league on Wednesday afternoon with a scrimmage against the Washington Wizards. There is a problem that Michael Malone has to deal with: The team’s roster is still working itself out due to the players arriving late to the bubble due to the NBA’s strict rules about COVID-19 testing and what needs to happen for individuals to gain entry. As a result, here was something the Nuggets team writer Eric Spyropoulos put in his game preview (emphasis mine):

Following Monday’s practice, head coach Michael Malone revealed that he expects to have nine healthy bodies for Wednesday’s scrimmage. Even though the game is limited to 40 minutes, this will likely result in some unique lineups for Denver as Malone focuses on not overworking players in the first organized game.

Several hours later, nine became eight.

So basically Denver had a bunch of gigantic dudes and no guards, and as a result, Malone — who is now earning my non-existent vote for Coach of the Year — decided to roll out a monstrous starting five. A backcourt of Nikola Jokic (7′) and Jerami Grant (6’8) is tremendous, as is NBA debutant Bol Bol (7’2!) lining up next to Paul Millsap (6’7) and Mason Plumlee (6’11).

The only rule is it has to work, though, and the early returns were really good, particularly with regards to Bol, who the team got with the 44th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft due to some injury concerns. Also really good: The team having its announce team Zoom in to call the game, which is just tremendous.

Denver’s success in the bubble might be tied to how well guys like Murray, Barton, and Gary Harris play, because while Jokic will be brilliant, he will certainly need some help. However, I would like to propose that the team uses this gigantic starting lineup for every single game, both during the bubble and for the rest of time.