Nuggets forward Paul Millsap has been sidelined since November 19 after undergoing left wrist surgery, but the $31 million man is finally expected back in the lineup within the next week or two, and the team hopes he can make an immediate impact upon return.
Nuggets play-by-play man Chris Marlowe joined Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 to provide some insight on Millsap and where the Nuggets stand in the tight Western Conference race.
“If Nikola Jokic is the master and commander on offense, then Millsap is the same on defense; he knows where to go, he knows where to position the guys. He is kind of like a middle linebacker,” Marlowe said. Millsap can help anchor the Nuggets’ defense, without losing their blossoming offense. Marlowe pointed out that “Millsap and (Mason) Plumlee are the two Nuggets bigs that are most adept at playing the high pick-and-roll — if you want to shut off the pick-and-roll, you need to have those two guys in there.”
“From what I hear, he looks good, he is running freely, he’s got a little protective brace on his left wrist, and he looked really good,” Marlowe said. On Feb. 21, Millsap went through a full practice for the first time since his injury. “He’s a four-time All Star; the reason we got him is to get the Nuggets to the playoffs — this is going to be his opportunity,” Marlowe said. Millsap is likely to be on a minutes restriction as he gets implemented back into the rotation, and this will result in less minutes for players like Trey Lyles and possibly Wilson Chandler.
Marlowe liked the direction the Nuggets are heading in. “They are playing with great confidence; their core is steaming with Jokic, [Jamal] Murray, and [Gary] Harris, they are getting good bench production, and there is not a game left on that schedule that they cannot win.” Marlowe is fond of the Nuggets’ chances against the top tier teams in the NBA, saying, “I don’t think there is a team out there that is not beatable for the Nuggets if they play their A-game.” After Monday night’s loss at home to the Houston Rockets, the Nuggets sit in eighth place in the Western Conference at 33-27, but are only one game behind Portland for the fifth seed.
Click here to listen to the full interview with Chris Marlowe, including what he had to say about his free-throw jinx, or listen to the podcast below.
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