Starter: Jamal Murray
Bench: Isaiah Thomas, Monte Morris
It’s hard to imagine that anyone has had a worse 12 months in the NBA than Isaiah Thomas. A hip injury, a trade from his beloved Boston to Cleveland, clashes with LeBron leading to a second trade to the Lakers, and then a disappointing stint in L.A., as well. That culminated in Thomas signing for a $2 million deal with Denver, when this past summer was supposed to be when teams were lining up to drop cash on his doorstep. A year later, in what looks like a better situation for him, Thomas might be able to get closer to his former form. However, he’s coming off a hip issue that’s difficult to get past, and if his athleticism doesn’t return, that’s going to continue to negatively impact the rest of his game. He’s also going to demand minutes based on reputation.
That could be difficult to get, though, because of how strong Jamal Murray looked last season. Murray was one of Denver’s success stories, averaging 16.7 points and 3.4 assists per game and taking huge steps as a primary creator. He’s probably primed for a year three breakout, and that’s going to get in the way of big Thomas minutes. This battle is unlikely to leave many minutes for Monte Morris, as well. The Nuggets can play both together, of course, but it will be interesting to see who ends up as the starter here — and whether that player deserves it.