DENVER — Nuggets coach Michael Malone was adamant in late-January that he would start calling fewer plays in an effort to return Denver’s free-flowing offense to last season’s form behind Nikola Jokic. Over the Nuggets’ next 14 games, he held true to his word.
Behind Jokic, who posted All-NBA caliber numbers in February, the Nuggets won 10 of their next 14 games and registered the league’s third-best offense over that stretch. But since Paul Millsap returned to Denver’s starting lineup, Jokic has struggled. He’s averaging just 7.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game over his last three outings. Jokic is also shooting 32 percent from the field in his last three games and is just 1-7 from distance.
Integrating a high-usage big man alongside Jokic is a difficult task for any offense — as was the case with Millsap and Jokic at the beginning of the regular season. To add to the equation, Jokic is also adjusting to more play calls from the sideline.