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Nuggets coach applauds Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, sharing high praise and insights.

Nuggets coach applauds Raptors' Scottie Barnes, sharing high praise and insights.

After an impressive performance against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets, Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone took notice of Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes.

Impressing Michael Malone is no easy feat these days. The head coach of the Denver Nuggets was at a loss for words when asked about the most memorable play from Nikola Jokic in Wednesday’s 113-104 win against the Toronto Raptors.

Malone expressed, “Nothing particularly catches the eye. I don’t have a moment that was truly eye-popping.” This came after a game where Jokic executed an off-the-backboard pass, leading to a seamless sequence with Aaron Gordon finding Michael Porter Jr. for a corner three-pointer. Downplayed, but noteworthy.

Nevertheless, one player caught Malone’s eye.

“Scottie Barnes is an exceptional player,” Malone shared with reporters post-game. “He relentlessly pressured our defense in transition, regardless of whether it was a make, miss, or turnover.”

Nonetheless, it didn’t seem to faze Malone.

However, one player caught Malone’s attention.

“Scottie Barnes is an outstanding player,” Malone informed reporters after the game. “He relentlessly applied pressure on our defense in transition, whether it was a make, miss, or turnover.”

Earlier, Malone shared his thoughts pre-game, stating, “Scottie Barnes is a versatile player who can impact the game in numerous ways. He acts as a point forward at times, leading the break, penetrating the paint, excelling in playmaking, and displaying high-level rebounding skills.”

Post-game, Barnes avoided drawing parallels to Jokic.

With Jokic boasting an additional four inches in height and nearly 50 pounds in weight, he becomes a more imposing force on the court. Barnes acknowledged Jokic’s ability to utilize his body effectively to secure positions. In contrast, Barnes, being a big forward, depends on his exceptional speed for his size to outmaneuver defenders and create favorable situations.

Yet, as Barnes discusses Jokic’s game, the parallels become apparent.

“Jokic draws so much attention; they’ve got shooters everywhere,” Barnes noted. “He spreads it to shooters, finds a low dunker, or takes it all the way to the basket.”

The combination of Jokic’s extraordinary skill, passing prowess, and the talented roster around him makes him a formidable force. While Barnes hasn’t reached that level yet, there’s evident uniqueness in Toronto’s young forward that warrants additional support. If Malone recognizes it in Barnes, the Raptors should, too.

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