The Denver Nuggets headed into their first NBA bubble scrimmage without the services of three key players: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Will Barton. That forced coach Mike Malone to go with an unorthodox “Tall Ball” lineup featuring Nikola Jokic at PG and Bol Bol at SF. It was a bit of a slog, but the Nuggets were able to pick up a 89-82 win over the Washington Wizards in the second scrimmage of the day.
The Wizards, operating without SG Bradley Beal, played decent defense against the big lineup the Nuggets threw out there. Rookie Rui Hachimura led the way for Washington. Isaac Bonga didn’t do much on offense, but was +18 and fouled out in 22 minutes on the floor. Scott Brooks is a solid coach, so maybe the Wizards won’t struggle as bad as we think they will without Beal and Davis Bertans. Here are some notable stats from the game.
Denver Nuggets stats
Nikola Jokic: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 8 turnovers
Troy Daniels: 22 points, 6 rebounds
Bol Bol: 16 points, 10 rebounds
Washington Wizards stats
Rui Hachimura: 18 points, 9 rebounds
Shabazz Napier: 9 points, 5 assists
Troy Brown Jr.: 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists
Bol Bol is going to be a problem for opposing defenses. If the Nuggets can throw huge lineups like this out against teams that don’t have a ton of size, it’s a big mismatch. Once Murray, Harris and Barton come back, Malone will have a ton of different looks he can throw at teams. Bol showed incredible length and gives the Nuggets a rim protector, allowing Jokic to play more freely in the offense.
As for the Wiz, well, they didn’t look that bad for being so shorthanded. Clearly, Hachimura is going to be the scoring leader for this team, so looking at his player props for some of the regular-season opening games may be a strong value play. Washington also has a lot of streaky shooters who can get hot in Brown, Napier, Ish Smith and Bonga. There will be value in looking at some of their point totals or even rebounding totals for Thomas Bryant and Moritz Wagner.