When it was announced that the Denver Nuggets would be without JaVale McGee indefinitely due to a stress fracture in his left leg earlier in the 2013-14 NBA season, it was pretty clear that the recipe for the Nuggets moving forward was going to include more minutes of their backup center, Timofey Mozgov. Given Mozgov’s production over his career, that wasn’t the most comforting of notions for Nuggets fans.
In 146 career appearances, including his games without McGee in Denver, Mozgov has averaged just 4.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in only 12.8 minutes per game. His career highlight is more of a lowlight really and involves Blake Griffin putting the big Russian center on a vicious poster.
In the latter half of November with McGee out, Mozgov continued to be relatively mediocre. He had one game on Nov. 13 where he put up 23 points and nine rebounds, but he reached double figures just two other times other than that and had more than six rebounds in a game only twice.
Mozgov has gotten considerably more playing time in the first two games of December, though, and has been shockingly productive in that in those minutes. In his last two games combined, both resulting in double-digit wins for Denver, Mozgov has combined for 33 points, 35 rebounds, four blocks and three steals on 12-21 shooting from the floor and 9-11 shooting from the foul line. The big man has been absolutely on fire.
Mozgov hasn’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of frontcourts over his last two games, but you can’t knock the type of numbers he has put up too much by bringing up competition. I’m not sure if I still believe fully in Mozgov, but I 100 percent believe these last two games have warranted him getting an consistently large workload in terms of minutes over the next few weeks to see if he can continue this run.