Harrell’s situation is more complicated. Offensively, he’s probably the team’s best option at the 5. Green offers more stretch, and Zubac has the size to screen and crash the glass, but Harrell’s ability to score from the post and bulldoze his way to the rim gives the Clippers a valuable paint presence. His passing is emerging, which may be the element that cements his status as a closer. But on the other end of the floor, Harrell, who is closer to 6-foot-7 than his listed height of 6-8, is limited by his size. His 7-4 wingspan partially makes up for that, but when the Clippers face elite 5s like Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic or Anthony Davis, rolling with Zubac or Green might make more sense because of their larger frames and superior defense and rebounding.
However, that does a disservice to the acquisition of Jerami Grant, a versatile, 25-year-old forward that projects to fit in extremely well on both ends of the floor in Denver. After trading a 2020 protected first-round pick to acquire Grant, the Nuggets have added another dynamic piece to their bench unit and defense. “Jerami is a guy that we feel can only strengthen that identity on the defensive end of the floor,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after a training camp practice. “Jerami’s versatility, his athleticism, his length, and I know I said it yesterday, but his ability to get off the floor quickly is remarkable. He is a rim protector. He’s a shot blocker. I think he understands, in Oklahoma City they played really good defense. So, Jerami understands what helps you win games. He understands that that’s a big part of our identity here in Denver. And he’s all in.”
To be a championship team, the Nuggets have to guarantee their own commitment anyway. “It’s something that has to be there every day,” Plumlee said of competing for a championship next season. “You don’t just show up in the playoffs and make it happen. You get familiar with each other and play for each other. You’re willing to sacrifice not just come playoffs, but early in the season. If you can help another guy on the court in a practice, all those little things add up.”
ESPN reported last week that Beasley turned down a three-year, $30 million offer from the Nuggets earlier this offseason, and a league source confirmed to The Athletic that an offer was made in that ballpark. Since then, Beasley changed agents, hiring Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, the super agent who reps LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green, among others. When asked about entering a contract season at media day, Beasley didn’t tip his hand. “My main goal is just to get better every day,” he said. “That’s all I can control. I’ll let Rich Paul handle everything else. Other than that, I’m just focused on winning a championship right here.”
Storyline: Malik Beasley Extension?