The Denver Nuggets play the first of three scrimmage games on Wednesday. Kevin Gillikin looks ahead to the action.
The Washington Wizards are missing several star players and the Denver Nuggets may be forced to play 7'2 Bol Bol at the Small Forward position, but who cares? The NBA is BACK!
This first exhibition game will be held in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida tonight in preparation for the upcoming eight-game seeding period followed by playoffs and eventually a crowned champion with an asterisk.
The Covid pandemic has shaken the world as a whole and the sports universe which was forced to pause for the health and safety of the public is finally about to restart. Though the loss of our favourite past-times doesn't compare to the other tragedies faced by many, watching Nikola Jokic thread his passes through the eye of a needly to a cutting Gary Harris will undoubtedly bring joy to many hearts.
During the break of many months, this team - led by Jokic and the recently extended Jamal Murray - could have sat on their horses and added a few more pounds of pizza weight. Instead, the two stars will play tonight in perhaps the best physical shape of their lives and it can only mean good things for the Denver Nuggets.
Nikola (Joker) Jokic looks like a new man - losing all of his trademark pudginess - and though he did test positive for the virus a few weeks back, he looks set to take the next step to superstardom.
Murray added a good 15 pounds of muscle during the months off and looks hungry and confident, eager to prove that he was worth the massive new contract.
These two and head coach, Michael Malone, will lead a group of talented basketball players that consider themselves to be contenders for the title. Their third-place record in the West before the break shows them to be no joke but their lack of consistency has left many around the league doubting whether or not they can compete with the likes of the L.A Lakers or L.A Clippers.
While Nuggets fans around the globe eagerly await the first viewing of the new Joker and Murray, they should also pay attention to the heart and grit of the Denver club and the "togetherness" of the young squad. This team can be special and they can win it all this season but for it to happen, they have to want it more than anyone else.
What to know:
Washington Wizards vs Denver Nuggets
July 22, 3:30 EST - 8:30 GMT
Orlando, Florida - Disney Bubble
Denver Nuggets writer, Colorado Europe