The Denver Nuggets held a comfortable lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves throughout most of Friday night’s game. However, late in the fourth quarter, the Wolves made an impressive comeback effort that fell just short as the Nuggets nearly handed the game away. It was a high-scoring affair that ended 117-113 final score, but it was a complete team effort that got the job done on offense for Denver.
The Nuggets really played well as a cohesive unit, which is the same strategy that got them a playoff bid last season. They are without Andre Iguadala this season, and while it’s a shame he didn’t stay given how he is playing for the Golden State Warriors this season, it does give Denver a look at its new starting small forward: third-year pro Jordan Hamilton, who is seeing his first real action as a starter since being selected 26th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Hamilton will play a pivotal role for the Nuggets this season as he is the player who could bring them up a notch as legitimate playoff contenders. Although starting in all five games he has played this year, Hamilton has a limited role, playing just 20 minutes per game. That said, he has been extremely effective in his time on the court. Shooting 46 percent from the field and 83 percent from the free throw line are a great way to earn more playing time, and Hamilton should soon be rewarded for his offensive efficiency.
Against the Timberwolves, Hamilton had another quiet but solid night, shooting 50 percent from the field and scoring seven points. However, the man currently taking away some of Hamilton’s minutes is the star of the game, Wilson Chandler. If Chandler continues playing like he has, the Nuggets will succeed; but if Hamilton can prove to be a solid two-way player, he could be a piece they build around for the future.
The Nuggets now stand at an even 4-4 on the season after their victory, but this is the time they must show what type of team they will be this season. They are coming off a somewhat lucky win over the Timberwolves, but must face the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls in their next three games.
That will be a tough six-day stretch for the Nuggets, but if they can put up a fight in each game and possibly sneak away with a victory or two, the future would look brighter for this rebuilding Nuggets squad.