CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Four or five of the Denver Nuggets top seven players have missed multiple games due to injuries, but the team has kept on winning a majority of its games. Former Nuggets player and coach Bill Hanzlik says a lot of credit for that goes to center Nikola Jokic.
The Nuggets best player started out this season a bit slower than some expected, but Jokic has averaged more than 24 points in his last 11 games.
“He’s kind of like the locomotive diesel. The chug-chug was a little slow starting off,” Hanzlik said on Xfinity Monday Live. “He had nice numbers but not (fantastic). Well recently he has just gone to town — winning games, putting the team on his back.”
Jokic has nine triple-doubles so far this season and teams are struggling to contain him in the low post.
“Wow, he’s just so fun to watch,” Hanzlik said.
Hanzlik has also been impressed by the play of Will Barton in what has been a bounce-back season for him. Fully healthy, Barton is showing his explosiveness and quickness out on the court.
“He gives (Coach) Michael Malone a lot of options. Hey, he’s starting at point guard right now! He’s really a 3, but he plays 2, guards lots of different guys, his defense is better, his ability to shoot outside is great … but he’s a playmaker.”
Hanzlik likes the depth the Nuggets have on their roster right now and thinks all of the NBA commentators who have suggested the team needs to make a trade to make it to the next level in the playoffs are misguided.
“It’s always better to have too much depth than not enough. And it’s panned out again. Because you’re going to get an opportunity. You just have to be ready to go when your number’s called,” he said.
“(With the injuries), down the bench guys are getting more minutes, they’re getting for sure minutes, and they’re stepping up.”
The Nuggets travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies Tuesday night and return home to the Pepsi Center to face off against the Jazz on Thursday.