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What Would It Take For The Nuggets To Win A Title?

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The Denver Nuggets have assembled a very strong squad over the last few years.

They boast two-time reigning regular season MVP Nikola Jokic, a throwback wide-bodied center who is a load to deal with in the paint but can also handle the ball and facilitate a bit like some other modern big men.

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In the backcourt, they have Jamal Murray, who has become an All-Star caliber point guard and has shown some ability to go off in big games.

Denver also has Michael Porter Jr., a forward whom many feel has All-Star potential, plus strong supporting players such as Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Jeff Green.

Many expect the Nuggets to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference, assuming Murray and Porter, both of whom are coming off serious injuries, return to their pre-injury form.

But are the Nuggets legitimate championship contenders, or just a bit short of that category?

They can win it all, but there is a checklist of things that would need to happen.

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Jokic Needs To Maintain His MVP Form

Jokic, the 27-year-old Serbian native, is one of the most unique players ever, as he doesn’t just score and rebound at a high level.

He is also one of the league’s best passers, despite being a 6-foot-11, 284-pound center who isn’t too mobile.

He averaged 7.9 assists per game last season, and the year before that he put up 8.3 dimes a game.

Outside of perhaps Wilt Chamberlain, who actually led the entire NBA in assists one year, and Bill Walton, Jokic is probably the best passing big man ever.

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One thing Jokic can and should improve on is his 3-point shooting, which has fluctuated throughout his seven-year career.

In the 2021-22 season, he made just 33.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, but the year before, he shot a robust 38.8 percent from deep.

 

Murray Needs To Be His Best Self

In the 2019-20 season, his last fully healthy season, Murray put up fine regular season numbers of 18.5 points and 4.8 assists per game.

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But during the playoffs, he went into volcano mode, averaging 26.5 points a contest on 50.5 percent overall shooting and 45.3 percent from 3-point range.

In that postseason, he had four 40-point-plus games, as well as two 50-point outings.

When Denver upset the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 of the second round and overcame a 3-1 series deficit, Murray led the way with 40 points on 15-of-26 shooting.

He improved to 21.2 points a game the following season while significantly boosting his 3-point shooting accuracy before an ACL injury ended his year late in the schedule.

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For the Nuggets to win the world title, Murray has to continue where he left off in 2021 while putting up huge playoff games when they really need him to.

 

Better Depth

The Nuggets are not a particularly deep team, and so, they will need some unheralded men to step up.

The backcourt and wing rotations look solid, but they could use some better depth up front.

As of now, Jokic’s main backup will be DeAndre Jordan, who is 34 and coming off a season with the Los Angeles Lakers in which he looked washed.

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If Jordan doesn’t cut it, Denver will be at a sizable disadvantage when Jokic is resting.

The team could also use one more serviceable forward with legitimate forward height.

As of now, Bruce Brown is slated to be its backup 3, and even though he’s a solid 3-and-D player, he is just 6-foot-4.

The post What Would It Take For The Nuggets To Win A Title? appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Kenny Pickett Set Unique NFL History In His Debut

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The Pittsburgh Steelers may have turned another page in their storied history when rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett took over for Mitchell Trubisky during their Week 4 game against the New York Jets.

While the former Pitt Panther threw three interceptions, he also had ten completions for 120 yards.

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Pickett also had two rushing touchdowns.

It remains to be seen if the Steelers will have Pickett start in Week 5.

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin did not give a definite answer on who their starter will be versus Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, but recent reports indicate it is the rookie’s job for good.

Steelers players like wide receiver Diontae Johnson expressed their endorsement for the only quarterback taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Regardless of how the situation unfolds, Pickett had a historic performance during his professional debut.

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ESPN Stats and Info tweeted, “Zero of Kenny Pickett’s 13 pass attempts against the Jets on Sunday hit the ground. 10 went to Steeler’s receivers, while 3 found the hands of Jets’ defenders. That’s the most pass attempts in a game in NFL history without any hitting the ground.”

Save for the three picks, a case can be made for Pickett having a perfect game of completing all 13 pass attempts.

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But he will have to work on his ball placement because some of his interceptions were thrown high.

 

The Clamor For Pickett Intensifies

The Steelers might benefit from a change behind center because Trubisky has struggled in the Steelers’ first four games.

The former North Carolina standout completed just 59.5 percent of his passes for 653 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

His highest output was 207 yards against the Cleveland Browns.

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The team hoped that Trubisky could become a solid bridge quarterback until Pickett is ready.

But with the way things are going, they will have to go with the rookie to save their season after losing three of their first four games.

The post Kenny Pickett Set Unique NFL History In His Debut appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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NFL Power Rankings: Eagles, Cowboys move up; Steelers, Colts in trouble

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Four games into the 2022 season, what do we know? We rank all 32 teams through the volatile first quarter of the campaign.



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Bobby Wagner Became A Security Guard Monday Night

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(Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images)

 

The Los Angeles Rams had a frustrating Week 4 Monday Night Football game against the San Francisco 49ers.

They failed to score a touchdown, and quarterback Matthew Stafford threw an interception.

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In contrast, the 49ers scored 24 points, which included a touchdown run by Jeff Wilson Jr. and a 57-yard reception for a score by Deebo Samuel.

The Rams defense also had a poor showing after tallying zero sacks, while San Francisco finished with seven.

San Francisco safety Talanoa Hufanga also scored a 52-yard pick-six to bury the Rams further.

Despite the defeat, All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner led the way for Los Angeles with ten total tackles.

It would have been 11 if the tackling of fans counted.

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NFL Unlimited shared the video of a spectator who disrupted the game.

The flare-carrying man ran to the playing field as stadium security tried to chase him.

The disturbance ended when Wagner laid out his frustration on that person.

That incident only enhanced the tension Wagner felt because none of their defensive schemes worked.

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Tough Ordeal For Players And Security

While football players are big and muscular, they are at risk when an intruder takes the field, especially if he is yielding a concealed weapon.

Meanwhile, stadium security also feels deflated every time a spectator breaches their ranks.

It’s a problem that is difficult to solve because some individuals find pride in being able to stop the game.

Likewise, it is a perfect platform to attract the attention of a huge audience.

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Luckily, no one was harmed, except for the fan, who might face some charges.

The game ended peacefully, but the Rams will feel restless after losing to their division rivals.

The Rams can go back to their winning ways by defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5.

The post Bobby Wagner Became A Security Guard Monday Night appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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