Denver Nuggets: Breaking down potential big-man lineups

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Denver Nuggets are currently without guards Gary Harris, Monte Morris, Torrey Craig and P.J. Dozier, creating a strong possibility for big man lineups.

Most Denver Nuggets fans have a favorite hypothetical lineup, a wacky combination of players who would never be deployed together under normal circumstances. However, there’s a great chance these imaginations become reality soon, as commonly-used Nuggets lineups could be blown apart completely.

According to multiple sources, Denver is currently without guards Gary Harris, Monte Morris, Torrey Craig, P.J. Dozier and swingman Michael Porter Jr. down in the bubble, creating a need for out-of-the-box thinking from head coach Mike Malone.

The creative possibilities are endless, as the rumor-mill involves deployment of unique jumbo lineups to counteract Denver’s guard shortage. Let’s examine a few of these rumored possibilities:

  • Jerami Grant will likely see time at the 3-spot, an option some have been championing for since he was acquired last summer.
  • Murray and Grant could occupy the backcourt with Bol Bol at small forward when Will Barton rests.
  • Barton, Grant, Bol, Mason Plumlee and Nikola Jokic could play together when Murray and Millsap rest.

Malone has acknowledged the odd circumstances in Orlando, emphasizing the Nuggets will do whatever necessary to keep the best players on the court.

“If we have to play Bol Bol at point guard, we will play Bol Bol at point guard, ” Malone said.

Many fans/analysts are worried, as Denver’s lack of backcourt depth causes a clear need for odd lineups and unprecedented amendments. There may be less to fear than the eye-test suggests, however. Why?

For starters, every team is absorbing punches in Orlando, and Denver’s situation is not unique. Did you know the Houston Rockets limped through camp without James Harden and Russell Westbrook until Harden’s arrival last week? Players are missing, unconditioned or unversed in team playbooks. Most squads will be forced to make lemonade with the best lineups they can muster.

Another notable involves the superstars-over-depth concept, as the postseason usually features a team’s top two players with perhaps timely contributions from a third. The Nuggets have their two best players in Jokic and Murray, which is a huge positive for when the playoffs begin.

What’s more, Denver also has its third and fourth-best contributors in Barton and Millsap, two hungry veterans who are capable of providing a lift. Grant, arguably Denver’s fifth-most effective player, is also present.

The Nuggets will have their major pieces come postseason play, even if the remaining eight regular-season games involve wacky, unprecedented lineups.

And regarding these unique player combinations, there’s much to be excited for, as several advantages run tandem with these big man lineups. These circumstances could feature shooting, defensive and post elements that have never been seen before. Let’s take a look: