close_menu
THE DAILY ROLL

NBA

Mannix: Jokic the first guy since Melo that Nuggets can build around

Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic (15) looks to pass the ball during the first half against the Golden State Warriors at Pepsi Center. Photo by Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Certainly, it’s fair to label the Denver Nuggets as inconsistent.

Chock up the growing pains to a young roster still learning how to move on from a “confidence-building” win — like Monday’s 132-110 drubbing of the Golden State Warriors — and not suffer a bad loss to a sub-.500 team the next time out (see Wednesday/Minnesota Timberwolves).

But, though the ups and downs of a team striving to make that next step, NBC Sports and The Vertical’s Chris Mannix believes there’s something Nuggets fans can hang their hats on.

For the first time since trading Carmelo Anthony, Denver has a franchise player to build around: Nikola Jokic.

Mannix told 104.3 The Fan’s Sandy Clough as much Thursday, saying the budding star is someone they can attempt to surround with talent to help make another step toward continued success.

“I think you can build around this guy as sort of your tentpole player. And knowing you have that, it makes everything else so much easier,” Mannix said. “They’ve been searching for that in Denver for the last few years, really since Carmelo was traded.”

Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly even said earlier this week it “would be less than intelligent” to look at what Jokic has done recently and not find a way to compliment him going forward.

And Denver hopes they did just that this week, trading forward Jusuf Nurkic to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for center Mason Plumlee, who Connelly told “The Drive” on Monday was a “seamless fit” to compliment Jokic.


Nurkic, Denver’s first-round pick in 2014 (No. 16 overall), had recently fallen out of rotation and perhaps wasn’t as nice as a fit with Jokic as Plumlee would be, Connelly said.

Mannix said the trade has a chance to turn out “terrific” in the Nuggets favor, though it’s now incumbent on Connelly and his staff to evaluate if Plumlee, a free agent at the end of the season, is worth a long-term investment.

“I think the Nuggets are going to have to look long and hard upon how he plays next to Nikola Jokic and then figure out if he’s the right fit. If it turns out that way, they might have made themselves a terrific trade because we knew Nurkic couldn’t play alongside Jokic,” Mannix said.

“But if they can find a way to make Plumlee work, that could turn out to be one of those deals that takes them a step closer to being the contender they want to be.”

Since Jan. 1, Jokic has ranked sixth in points per game (22.3), 10th in rebounds per game (11.1), and second in assists per game (5.5) among all centers.

Jokic will also participate in two events during the league’s all-star weekend — the “Rising Stars Challenge, a game featuring first- and second-year players, and the NBA’s skills competition during “All-Star Saturday Night,” replacing Joel Embiid as an alternate.

Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.

Podcasts

Schlereth and Evans

Spend your morning tapping into the wealth of sport knowledge from three-time Super Bowl champion and former Broncos offensive lineman Mark "Stink" Schlereth and longtime Denver sports radio voice Mike Evans. Schlereth spent 12 seasons in the NFL, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl and winning a Super Bowl with the Redskins and two with the Broncos. He's also a longtime NFL analyst for ESPN and supporting cast member of "Ballers" on HBO. Evans has graced the sports radio airwaves for two decades, 15 years in Denver. He's a proud graduate of Syracuse University.rn

Polumbus and Cecil

Inject your morning routine with great football discussion and analysis with former NFL offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus and Fan Broncos Insider Cecil Lammey. Tyler, a native of Denver, went to Cherry Creek High School and played football at the University of Colorado before an eight-year NFL career that culminated with a Super Bowl 50 championship with the Denver Broncos. Lammey, one of the nation's most respected football analysts, gets you the inside scoop — from reports from the Broncos' UCHealth Training Center to college football all-star games (East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl) to the NFL combine and draft. He's an authority on NFL prospects from across the country.

Sandy Clough

Let Sandy Clough, one of the most recognizable voices in Denver sports radio, guide you through your work day every weekday leading into the afternoon. Sandy's been the authority in sports radio for nearly four decades in Denver. No other show will give you the insight and experience that Sandy provides.

Brandon Stokley

Kick off your afternoon with two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Stokley. Stokley earned his two NFL titles with the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts and spent two stints with the Denver Broncos.

The Drive with Big Al and D-Mac

Big Al and DMac help you get through the end of your day with the best afternoon sports radio talk show in Denver. DMac is a 1991 graduate of Syracuse University and has covered Colorado sports for The Fan since 2008. Alfred Williams, a College Football Hall of Famer, won the 1990 Butkus Award and was the captain for that year's consensus National Champion University of Colorado squad. He played nine years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos.

Morning Brew

Each morning at 6:30, get your day started right as “Schlereth and Evans” serves up “The Morning Brew.” Mark Schlereth and Mike Evan take you around the world of sports, taking in and breaking down the top stories of the day. So tune in to get your fix before you head out into the world for the day. And it’s all brought to you every morning by McDonalds.

Terry Wickstrom Outdoors

Terry Wickstrom, the authority in everything outdoors, talks fishing, hunting, camping and more every Saturday morning.rnWickstrom, host of the popular television show "Angling Adventures" and previously "Mountain States Fishing," is a nationally published outdoor author, an accomplished multi-species angler, and has served on the "pro staff" of many top fishing industry companies.rn

In The Fairway

Jerry Walters and Cousin Ray Best provide up-to-the-minute details about golf in Colorado, rules and all the professional tours. The Boys of Summer interview the biggest names in golf every Saturday mornings throughout the golf season.

About the Author

Johnny Hart

Johnny Hart is a digital content producer for Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan and 1043thefan.com. He's a proud graduate of Colorado State University, and he has covered Denver-area professional sports since 2012. Follow Johnny on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.

close_menu
THE DAILY ROLL