Nuggets Mailbag: If NBA returns, how will Denver respond to long layoff?

It sounds like hopes are growing that the NBA season can be saved. If that happens, how do you think the Nuggets will react to their return after the long layoff? Does it matter if they have to give up their home advantage at height and play in a Disney World bubble?

Matt, East Colfax

There are so many other pressing issues with the NBA’s return that the details – i.e. the loss of the home-side advantage – have not really been vetted. It’s one reason why I expect this year’s playoffs to be shaky. An 8 over a 1 seed? Who knows? As for the Nuggets, I asked the franchise’s best player, Alex English, how he thought the team would go.

“When we return to the season, I don’t know if it could be as if the season had ended, because those guys played all those games, they were in great shape, they were in their game. … Now you come back, you have to get in shape, you have to get in shape of the game, you have to get in that same mental state, so I don’t know if they can get there at all, but I like this team I felt we had a great chance last year If we had won that championship with Golden State, we would have been Western Conference champions. But they didn’t. And now I think they are loaded and ready to go. “

With a third five-star recruit freeing up college basketball this spring to go pro, does this indicate a problem with the UCLA program or something much bigger? I have no problem with these players making a living and improving their careers, but will we see more G-League games on TV as NCAA basketball gets regional on TV with the more lonely guys skipping college?

– Gregory Weiss, Denver

The NCAA’s long-standing objections to reimbursing its athletes gave the NBA an opening. What Adam Silver and the NBA have done, paving the way for elite recruits to play in the G-League prior to draft, is a direct shot at the NCAA and its model. Silver says we will pay a lot of money, give you NBA coaching 24 hours a day, familiarize you with the NBA lifestyle and, most importantly, develop you as a player. That is an intriguing sale for potential customers. Imagine this was on the table when Zion Williamson transferred from high school to college. Don’t you think the NBA would have found a way to put its games on television and capture the excitement it brought with it? We’re going to see G-League games on TV. The NBA will use the star power of those prospects to strengthen and promote the rest of the competition.

Do you think the Nuggets keep their concept choice? Who and what position do you expect them to target in the 20 range?

CT, New Jersey

The Nuggets were an average 3-point shooting team this season and may have traded their best shooter in Malik Beasley. Harris’ struggle only underscored their need for greater outside efficiency. I would expect them to target strong 3-point shooters that can play anywhere from 2-4. From that perspective, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith and Devin Vassell of the state of Florida are the most intriguing. I will say most mock drafts let those guys go higher than where the Nuggets are expected to pick at number 21. If they don’t set up backup wait, expect to add one in some other way.

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