Mason Plumlee, joined the Nuggets last season in a trade that sent disgruntled center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland Denver Nuggets. Plumlee played in 27 games with the Nuggets, starting 10 of them, and parlayed that into a new, three-year contract worth $14 million. Mile High Sports’ Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro talked with Plumlee about his expectations for the season, and the importance of an improved Nuggets’ defense.

“It’s been better,”, Plumlee said about the revamped Denver defense with free-agent addition Paul Millsap. “We made some strategic changes, principle-wise, and I think that you’ll see a more aggressive defense on ball screens. If we can continue to be one of the best rebounding teams too, that’ll help — so [we want to] hold teams to one shot, and then get out and run.”

The Nuggets struggled mightily on defense last season, and after Goodman suggested that could be attributed to a lack of desire from too many players. “Yeah. That could have been,” Plumlee replied. “I joined [the team] late. I don’t think that the effort was there last year, and that can’t be with those expectations internally. If we say that we want to compete every night, we want to go in every game knowing that we can win it, that has to be a constant. It has to be better this year.”

In a brutally tough Western Conference, expectation for the Nuggets now include a playoff berth. Plumlee discussed his own. “We have our own expectations. I know that the media is excited; I know that there has been a lot of talk, but it’s good to stop talking about it and start playing… We should compete night-in and night-out. We believe that we can beat any team in the league, and if we are willing to show up and give our best effort, I see us as one of the best teams in the league.”

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