West Notes: Nuggets, Nikola Jokic, Warriors, Timberwolves


The Nuggets were the only Western Conference team to crack NBA.com’s top six in this week’s power rankings, put together by John Schuhmann.

They sat at No. 2, behind only the Bucks, with star big man Nikola Jokic being the primary reason, of course.

“The two-time reigning MVP’s on-off differential hasn’t budged much since Thomas Bryant started backing him up,” Shuhmann wrote. “The Nuggets have been 26.4 points per 100 possessions better with Jokic on the floor (plus-15.0) than they’ve been with him off the floor (minus-11.4) over their eight games with Bryant. With Reggie Jackson having shot 11-for-41 (27%) as a Nugget, they’ve scored an anemic 85.4 per 100 in 66 total minutes with Jackson and Bryant on the floor together.”


The defending champion Warriors are in 10th place in the NBA.com power rankings, despite the fact they sport a miserable 7-27 road record. But hey, they are defending champs.

“It’s weird to say it: We’re still trying to win championships, but we’re also trying to stay out of the play-in, too,” star guard Steph Curry said, via Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. “Both can be true.”

  • On the down side, eight of the Warriors’ next 10 come on the road. “Despite all of this team’s struggles on the road, these Warriors have coped without Curry as well as they ever have. Golden State is 14-12 this season when Curry is out injured,” wrote Marc Stein of The Stein Line.


Point guard Mike Conley seems to be making a major difference for the Timberwolves, and in a good way. They recently won three of four games during a swing through California.

That moved them to 11th in the NBA.com power rankings.

“The Wolves would have had a 4-0 trip through California if they didn’t blow a 12-point, fourth-quarter lead against the Warriors eight days ago,” Schuhmann wrote. “But the final three games of the trip – wins over the Clippers, Lakers and Kings — were a terrific recovery … and maybe their best three-game stretch of the season. The Wolves held the two L.A. teams (with whom they’re fighting for playoff and/or Play-In position) to just 99 points per 100 possessions, and they’re now back in the top 10 in defensive efficiency for what would be the first time in 19 years (since their 2004 conference finals team).”

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