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Yahoo Sports senior NBA insider Chris Haynes and senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill break down Denver’s new look with Aaron Gordon now on board and the Nuggets’ chances of competing for a conference title. Hear the full conversation on the Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
CHRIS HAYNES: Look, I thought Aaron Gordon play his first game, second game. Man, the dude is a force defensively. Don't look at the box sheet. Don't look at the box score. And think just because he's not scoring, man this dude is guarding multiple positions. He's already being utilized the way we thought. And that's only going to help them so much more. And it's only going to help Jokic's MVP candidacy. And so they play the Clippers next.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Yes, they do.
CHRIS HAYNES: You mentioned Kawhi Leonard. So this will be a good primer to see if Kawhi is ready to take that next step and be amongst the top five in the MVP watch. Of any watch, not just mine.
VINCENT GOODWILL: No, I think the Clippers more than any team that we know, even more than Milwaukee. The Clippers got something to prove this year. Like, everybody's watching. And not just that, Kawhi could opt out of his contract this summer and everything else. And how they perform in the playoffs I think is largely going to figure out, you know, how that happens.
Secondly, you're right. Aaron Gordon. Watching him play Philly last night. And, of course, Philly was without Embiid and everything else. The way that he switched around on defense. Like, what they were missing with Jerami Grant. When Jerami Grant left. Being able to plug-in and fill in the blanks in all these other different places, Aaron Gordon does that now.
And he's not a-- he's not a guy that doesn't seem like he's doing that willingly. Like, he's like, oh OK. I get to play for a winner? Cool. Whatever y'all need me to do. Cool. And he just unlocks so many things. He's going to unlock Michael Porter Jr. He's going to unlock a little bit more Jamal Murray. And because he's never played with real good playmakers, offense is going to be easy for him.
Chris, I think Denver is legit. And maybe I'm foreshadowing a column I'm writing for Yahoo Sports later today, but--
CHRIS HAYNES: There you go. Nice plug.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Denver. But what doesn't Denver have?
CHRIS HAYNES: They're pretty versatile. They really are.
VINCENT GOODWILL: They can do everything good. Look, look, in the playoffs, I wouldn't want to see them.
CHRIS HAYNES: Yeah, nah, they're going to be scary. That's the team that's-- nah. They are going to be scary. And I think phenomenal job by Tim Conley over there. Calvin Bouffe.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Yeah.
CHRIS HAYNES: Those guys, those guys hit it out the park, man. You know? Hopefully they stay healthy. I want everybody stay healthy but--
VINCENT GOODWILL: And Mike Malone is a hell of a coach, too. I like him.
CHRIS HAYNES: Mike Malone calls it how it is. Man, I love him, man. His presses are so refreshing and transparent. I love the dude.