The Denver Nuggets are bleeding out, and they need a tourniquet.
For the first month and a half of the NBA season, the Nuggets have been playing with an arm and a leg tied behind their back; they’ve been without their starting center (Jusuf Nurkic) and their sixth man (Wilson Chandler) for the entire season, and they’ve been without key contributors like Kenneth Faried, Joffrey Lauvergne and Gary Harris for extended periods of time.
In the last week, both Lauvergne and Faried have begun to work themselves back into the lineup in limited minutes, but the Nuggets are still limping; they need Gary Harris back.
Before suffering a concussions against the San Antonio Spurs on November 27, forcing him to miss Denver’s last five games, Harris was having a breakout sophomore season. The former first-round selection was shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point on 26.6 minutes a game, over twice as many as he received during his rookie year.
And during his absence over these last six games, his 10 points and perimeter defense have been sorely missed.
Luckily, according to Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post, the Nuggets’ starting shooting guard is expected to make his return this Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“If everything goes like it’s going right now, that’s the plan, to get out there on Friday,” Harris said.
And while it’ll be great to have Harris back on the court, Nuggets fans may be more happy about seeing his replacement, Randy Foye, off the court. After only playing over 20 minutes in a game four times in the Nuggets first 16 games, Foye averaged nearly 30 minutes in Harris’ absence, and it wasn’t always pretty.
So far this season, Foye is shooting 30.6 percent from the field and 20.5 percent from three, both of which are career worsts — by far. And aside from Erick Green, who’s averaging 2.3 minutes a game, Foye’s 5 PER is worst on the team.
If Foye does break his way out of this disastrous shooting slump, he can be an impactful player on the Nuggets, but right now, Harris’ return will be a monumental upgrade.