There’s no doubt that the most intriguing series in the NBA Playoffs right now is the one between the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets held a 1-0 lead in the series after a tightly contested game one of the series. However, the Warriors were able to put on an offensive show in game two and tie the series at one game apiece.
Though the hot-shooting of Golden State has been a hot talking point, the lack of effectiveness of the Nuggets centers in this series has been startling. Both Kosta Koufos as the starting center and JaVale McGee coming off the bench have had a world of trouble against the Warriors over the first two games.
McGee has played decently, averaging eight points and 4.5 rebounds per game, as well as hitting all seven of his shot attempts, but he’s been a real liability defensively, particularly with help defense and hedging off of screens in the pick-and-roll. Koufos has been virtually nonexistent. In the two games he has combined for just six points and nine rebounds on just 2-8 shooting from the field. Both guys haven’t done much to help Denver.
The majority of the issues with the Nuggets’ centers has simply been the fact that Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli have been fantastic on the defensive end of the floor. McGee and Koufos have had a hard time dealing with their constant activity and strength over the first two games and that has shown.
Though the Warriors obviously aren’t going to be able to shoot over 60 percent from the field in every game, the fact that the Nuggets have gotten so little production from McGee and Koufos is troubling. Neither guy is expected to have an enormous impact on the game, but they are expected to play solidly defensively, rebound well, and score efficiently. Other than McGee’s efficient shooting, none of those things have happened. If Denver doesn’t find a way to get these two players in a groove, their lack of production could prove to be a big problem.