May 27, 2024

Julian Strawther has returned from his knee injury, but Denver Nuggets’ coach Michael Malone has stated that they intend to continue relying on Jamal Murray to lead the second unit. Despite Strawther’s return, the current lineup, consisting of Murray, Reggie Jackson, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, and DeAndre Jordan, is set to remain unchanged for the time being.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone gets tattoo commemorating team's first  NBA Championship | Fox News

Malone emphasized the need for Strawther to stay prepared and capitalize on any opportunities that may arise. While acknowledging Strawther’s earlier contributions to the team, Malone highlighted the current composition of the second unit, with Murray now a part of it, as the reason for maintaining consistency in the lineup.

Strawther, who had been sidelined for several games due to his knee injury, recently returned to action after a stint with the Nuggets’ G League affiliate. He expressed the need to shake off some rust and adjust to wearing a knee brace following his injury.

Looking ahead, Strawther remains positive about his role with the team, understanding the challenges of earning minutes on a competitive roster aiming for a high playoff seed. Despite limited conversations about playing time with coaches, he trusts Malone’s decisions regarding the rotation.

Before Strawther’s injury, Malone experimented with various lineup combinations for the second unit, including one featuring Strawther and alternating between Jordan and Zeke Nnaji at backup center. However, since his injury, Malone has leaned more towards utilizing Murray alongside Jackson in the second unit, while also increasing reliance on Jordan as the backup center.

Murray’s ability to adapt to defensive pressure during staggered minutes has been notable, with opposing teams often resorting to aggressive tactics to contain him. Malone emphasized Murray’s skill in reading defensive schemes and making the right plays, regardless of the coverage he faces.

Overall, while Strawther’s return adds depth to the Nuggets’ roster, the team’s current strategy prioritizes continuity and relies on Murray’s leadership in guiding the second unit.

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