Barring a miracle, the Denver Nuggets will not be making the playoffs this year. What’s been so frustrating for fans, though, is lopsided efforts from night to night. Take Tuesday and Wednesday as an example.

The Nuggets came out listless and flat at Pepsi Center on Tuesday against a Kings team that had just beat them four nights prior in Sacramento. Denver followed that up with a win on the road at the Los Angeles Clippers, fueled by tough defense and a full 48 minutes of hustle.

Jeff Morton of Denver Stiffs joined Renaud Notaro and Big Dee White on Mile High Sports AM 1340 Wednesday night (prior to the game against L.A.) to discuss the continuing split-personality of the Denver Nuggets.

Reflecting on the second loss in five days at the hands of the Kings, Big Dee put forth the question, “Was that just DeMarcus Cousins being that great? Or are we starting to see a little deterioration of what we saw defensively from the Nuggets earlier on in the year?”

He raised this question because in that game, Cousins put up 39 points against a Nuggets defense that seldom challenged him. He scored 37 against the Nuggets four days prior. There’s no doubt that had the Nuggets been able to contain Cousins, they would have won Tuesday night’s close game – being that they lost the game in the closing seconds, 114-110.

Morton was amazed at how, “casually dominant” Cousins was. He pointed out the steal (on a guard) that Cousins made at the end of the game, which then led to him being fouled, where he made both free throws, giving the Kings the lead and the win.

In response to Big Dee’s question, Morton noted that the Nuggets “best defender,” Jusuf Nurkic, “didn’t get off the bench.” Head coach Michael Malone referenced this in the postgame press conference. “Nurkic, the day before, had a knee injury,” Morton paraphrased. “Therefore, he didn’t practice [and] he didn’t play.” Morton seemed to have doubts about Malone’s comment owing to the fact that Nurkic was in uniform and on the game bench.

Regardless of the nature of Nurkic not playing, due to his absence on the court, Morton believes “Joffrey Lauvergne and Nikola Jokic, just were overmatched, because Cousins is just so physically dominant.”

However, Lauvergne and Jokic shouldn’t put it all on them, according to Morton. Cousins has been doing this to just about every team he goes against, hence the reason the Kings signed him – or as Morton put it, “traded the entire team for.”

Considering how dominant Cousins had been Big Dee inquired, “What does this team need in order to reach the next level… Are they missing a scorer? Are they missing a big?”

According to Morton, in this year’s draft “the Nuggets have to get an above-the-rim, athletic scorer.”

The way Morton sees the team as its currently built, almost every player is “below the rim…they’re really lacking athleticism right now.” Only one name was excluded from that “below the rim” group, Will Barton.

“Is Will Barton a role player, or does he actually have potential to be a starter…where does he fit into that equation? Is he a sixth man?” Big Dee wanted to know.

Morton answered saying, “He’s got that [former Nuggets guard] J.R. Smith in him.” He went on to elaborate his point. “Not the crazy, ruin your life J.R. Smith. He’s the go crazy, will be boom or bust on the basketball court ability.” Morton continued, “Right now, the way I’m looking at it, I see him as a sixth man. Give him another year, let’s see how he grows. He might be evolving into a starting man.”

Without a question, the Nuggets are an inconsistent team this season. They go from beating the Warriors, to losing to the 76ers. They get dominated by Cousins, to then beating the Clippers. They’re a team who’s simply all over the place.

Listen to the full conversation Notaro and Big Dee have with Jeff Morton in the podcast below…

Catch Notaro and Big Dee Monday-Thursday from 6p-8p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 or stream live any time for Denver’s biggest lineup covering what’s new and what’s next in Colorado sports