Nuggets Grizzlies Basketball

Denver Nuggets forward JaMychal Green (0) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Some members of the NBA fraternity have spoken out against the NBA’s updated interpretation of the rules when it comes to drawing shooting fouls.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone isn’t one of them, though there appears to be another change to the game impacting the Nuggets.

“This has taken away some of those really obvious non-basketball moves that were drawing fouls,” Malone said.

As NBA teams have begun to seek the most efficient shots – corner 3-pointers, layups and dunks or free throws – at a higher clip in recent years, some star players have developed habits of making unnatural movements to draw fouls. While jumping into a player or changing direction earned frequent trips to the line in years past, that’s not the case this season.

“I think it’s great,” Malone said Friday. “I think anytime you can implement a rule … that is going to hopefully allow the game to be played at its purest level is a good thing.”

The other notable change, the switch from Spaulding to Wilson as the official game ball, might be having a larger impact on the Nuggets. According to a National Public Radio report Friday, the NBA’s combined shooting percentage through three weeks of the season is lower than it’s been in 15 years. The hope for Nuggets rookie Bones Hyland is that the impact subsides as the season progresses.

“It feels like ashy. Brand new, it’s hard to get broken in, but once they’re broken in, though, they do feel like the Spaulding ball,” Hyland said.

“It is terrible. I ain’t going to lie. When it’s broken in, though, it feels good.”

Through eight games, the Nuggets are shooting 30% from 3-point range, or 7.7% lower than last year’s mark. Malone wasn’t sure if the new ball was behind the shooting struggles. He would like to see the shooting numbers change, but the rule change can stay.

“Shot-making is probably giving us the most trouble,” Malone said Friday after two losses in Memphis to start the week. “I think we were 2 for 15 on wide-open 3s against Memphis the other night. I don’t have a calculator, but that’s not a good percentage. We’ll leave it at that.”

Porter playing hard through shooting slump

Shots, surprisingly, aren’t falling for Michael Porter Jr. to start the season.

He’s missed 17 of his last 18 attempts from 3-point range, dragging his percentage down to 21.7% for the season. Malone has expressed faith his sharpshooter’s fortunes will change but noted Porter’s doing other things to help until that happens. Though he hasn't hit a 3-pointer in three games, Porter has posted 10.3 rebounds per game and made 56.5% of his shots inside the arc during that stretch.

“He got a lot of baskets the other night right around the rim. Hopefully seeing that ball go through is going to allow him to start seeing it going in the hoop from distance as well. He can’t be one-dimensional. We’ve talked about that quite a bit. As he’s struggling with his shooting, his perimeter shooting, you’ve got to be locked in defensively, and you have to rebound for us,” Malone said Friday.

“The other night … he did a pretty good job of that.”

Some good comes from losses to Grizzlies

A two-point loss Wednesday in Memphis dropped the Nuggets to 4-4 on the season.

While some of the bench struggles and shooting woes continued, there was a positive or two hidden in the game film.

“We had a season-high in contested shots, season-high in deflections. We outrebounded them, so there were a lot of positives after that first quarter,” Malone said. “What’s the morale of the story? You can’t play 36 minutes in this business and expect to win, especially against a quality opponent on the road.”

Load comments