With no Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Gary Harris, Torrey Craig, or Monte Morris available, coach Mike Malone had to get creative with the starting lineup for the Denver Nuggets’ first scrimmage.
The Denver Nuggets lacked their top five guards in terms of playing time heading into Wednesday’s scrimmage against the Washington Wizards. Despite having guard Troy Daniels available, coach Mike Malone opted for an NBA 2K-esque starting lineup that featured power forward Paul Millsap as its shortest member.
The Nuggets rounded out that starting five as follows:
- Point guard: Nikola Jokic, 7’0”
- Shooting guard: Jerami Grant, 6’8”
- Small forward: Bol Bol, 7’2”
- Power forward: Paul Millsap, 6’7”
- Center: Mason Plumlee, 6’11”
Collectively, they boast 34 feet and four inches of height, and while the lineup looks absurd, it isn’t as farfetched as it seems upon further inspection. Both Plumlee and Millsap assumed their natural positions, Jokic grew up playing point guard and normally acts as the team’s primary facilitator, and Grant played small forward his first season in Philadelphia, making the move to shooting guard somewhat less drastic.
That just leaves Bol, who really is out of position any way you slice it. He played center at Oregon and in the G-League with the Windy City Bulls, and we haven’t seen enough at the NBA level to validate the Kevin Durant comparisons that could warrant him playing at the three.
Despite fit concerns, the lineup proved successful in it’s first showing as the Denver Nuggets came away with an 89-82 victory over Washington. Bol was a standout with a 16 point, 10 rebound, six block outing, Jokic poured in 16 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, and despite the discussion being about height, Daniels led all scorers with 22 points, six rebounds and three dimes off the bench.
Granted, their opposition wasn’t the fiercest as Washington lacked Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans and consequently resorted to trotting out Shabazz Napier, Troy Brown Jr., Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura, and Thomas Bryant to start the game. So, was this merely a cheeky win against a star-less Wizards squad that was nearly two feet shorter, or does Denver have a potentially game-breaking lineup on their hands?