Things aren't looking too good for the Denver Nuggets in the 2021-22 NBA season. They will likely power through the season without Jamal Murray in the fold, who will likely be out to rest and rehab his ACL for the entire year. Second, in their recent practice session, days before their first regular-season game, they looked lousy and blew coverages, much to the chagrin of league MVP Nikola Jokic. The Serbian did his job: he shared his most honest thoughts with his teammates. He called the entire team bad for not knowing the plays and predicted they'll get beat up by the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
It wasn't just Jokic who was in the ear of the Nuggets. Head coach Mike Malone shared a tidbit about Jeff Green — the savvy veteran they signed in the offseason. When Green opened his mouth, everyone was all ears.
Malone said Jeff Green has also stepped unsolicited and spoken. "When he speaks people listen." Will Barton has also been vocal in the locker rooms and during games, via Nuggets reporter Harrison Wind.
We've heard all those anecdotes that in order for a team to transform into an elite squad, they need to have a veteran voice in the locker room. Green, who's in his 15th year in the league, knows that this is exactly his role. He won't hesitate to raise his voice when he sees something wrong. It doesn't matter if he's entering a team who's been together for a couple of seasons.
Green just might be the player who will save the Nuggets' 2021-22 NBA season. Apart from the points, rebounds, and assists he'll chip in, Green's thorough understanding of his role could be enough to fill in the void left by Murray.
Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade was right when he gave Green's agent a subtle ribbing two seasons ago. He does not understand why his agent and other teams can't seem to see Green's true value.
"I do NOT understand how and why Jeff Green keep signing these 1 year deals for the minimum. This is now 3 years in a row. He's never injured, He's never been a problem in the locker room, He's athletic, he can shoot the 3, he can guard multiple positions and he's not old," Wade tweeted.
As of now, it's still a matter of wait-and-see if the Nuggets survive the season in flying colors even without Murray. If they do, then Green just might finally earn the respect he deserves.