The Denver Nuggets have began the 2018-19 NBA season with four-consectivie wins and are tied for the NBA’s best defensive squad. So far, things are going as well as they can, so Eric Goodman and Doug Ottewill spoke to the voice of the Nuggets, Chris Marlowe, about many different topics.

The most pressing topic was Denver’s defense and what has led to their spike in production on that end of the floor.

“When you add more defensive guys to the rotation, it is going to help,” Marlowe told Eric Goodman and Doug Ottewill of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7. “I think (it is) also a change in scheme by Michael Malone in terms of covering pick and rolls. In previous years they’ve had the center — mostly Nikola Jokic — sag into the middle of the key instead of forcing the action at the top of the screen and what that does is allow shooters like Russell Westbrook or Curry to come off unencumbered. So they made a change this year and I think it was due to Jokic’s request. He just thought he could be more effective at the point of attack instead of sagging in, trying to jump, and prevent lobs from getting by him. He was just getting eaten up. Now, what happens when the guard comes off the screen, when it is the point guard and the center, he jumps out. He has long arms, he has great anticipation, and maybe the best hands in the business and he is able to disrupt things.”

For Jokic to improve defensively, things needed to change. Marlowe spoke on a “meeting of the minds” between Jokic and Malone that led to Jokic’s — and, in turn, Denver’s — defensive improvement.

“Michael Malone flew to Serbia and spent time with Nikola. Obviously, Nikola is a gifted offensive player — he can do anything on that end of the court — and Malone’s challenge was ‘look, you have to get better defensively’,” Marlowe told Eric Goodman and Doug Ottewill of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7. “I think that goes hand in hand with with having a scheme that enhances what Nikola does. If you are going to have him try to out-jump DeAndre Jordan or try to contain Russell Westbrook, you are not going to be very successful. I think it was a kind of meeting of the minds there and Nikola said that last year did not work for him. The sagging into the key and walling off did not work. I think he is a lot better when he is attacking the ball handler and trying to swat it. He gets a number of defections. He has had a couple games this year where he has three steals. He is not going to block a lot of shots for you, but he is disruptive and he comes at the ball handlers hard. I think it is part scheme, part better players, and credit Michael Malone because he has his guys playing at 110 percent.”

With an explosive offense and an improving defense, the Nuggets have the talent to make a lot of noise in the Western Conference this year, but another massive issue that Denver has faced over the past few seasons were letting off of the gas against teams that they are better than. For the Nuggets to make the playoffs, they will have to stay consistent, and Marlowe thinks Denver’s young core has matured and fully understand that lesson.

“The team is maturing,” Marlowe told Eric Goodman and Doug Ottewill of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7.” They have good players, their players are now getting used to winning games — particularly on the road — and I think the team is definitely headed in the right direction.”

Marlowe spoke on a plethora of different topics with Goodman and Ottewill. To hear Marlowe talk about the Nuggets improvement defensively, how the young core is maturing, Jokic getting into shape, and why Marlowe compared himself to Dirk Nowitzki, make sure to listen Sorry – this audio content is no longer available.

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