One of the biggest games in the 2020-21 NBA is on the 28th of December in the Western Conference, where the Houston Rockets lock horns against the Denver Nuggets. With both teams considered to be two of the best in their conference, their clash could be an intriguing one;
With Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic cementing their legacy as one of the best duos in the leaguem the burden of the Denver Nuggets' victories could fall on their shoulders.
Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets are severely undermanned, as most of the roster is out due to COVID-19 protocols. However, one might see James Harden explode like he did against the Portland Trail Blazers, a game where he dropped 44 points in an overtime loss.
On that note, let us have a look at the best starting-5 of the Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets.
Best Starting-5 of the Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets
With both teams being two of the best in the Western Conference, as has already been mentioned before, their hypothetical combined starting 5 would be nothing short of remarkable. However, with the Houston Rockets missing several key players, this combined starting-5 will not feature them.
So without further ado, let's take a look at the combined starting-5 of the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets.
Point Guard - Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)
Houston Rockets' John Wall had a strong case to be featured here, as he is a veteran and is extremely skilled. However, due to his absence from the game, Jamal Murray is the next-best choice.
Jamal Murray took a giant leap in the NBA last season, as he dropped multiple 40 and 50-point games in the playoffs.
Jamal Murray has never had an NBA All-Star selection before, but many fans and analysts believe that he could earn one this season. Along with Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray led the Denver Nuggets to two consecutive 3-1 comebacks in the 2020 playoffs, an NBA playoff record.
Shooting Guard - James Harden (Houston Rockets)
James Harden is the obvious choice for this position. He is not only the best shooting guard in the two teams but is considered as one of the best in the entire league.
The 2018 MVP is one of the most offensively lethal players in the competition and tends to erupt for massive numbers.
James Harden dropped 44 points in the Houston Rockets' overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on his season debut. Nevertheless, he is expected to have another big night against the Denver Nuggets.
He is a 3-time scoring champion and has been in the NBA MVP race almost every season in the competition for the past few years.
Small Forward - PJ Tucker (Houston Rockets)
PJ Tucker has developed into one of the Houston Rockets' most important players. He has been playing for the franchise since 2017 and is generally regarded the team's best defender.
Tucker is a career 36% from behind the arc and has evolved into a reliable three-point shooter as well.
PJ Tucker has developed great chemistry with James Harden and has significant playoff experience as well. He is the ideal small forward for this combined starting-5, as he can pass the ball to the stars and provide critical three-pointers and defense as well.
Power Forward - Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets)
Paul Millsap is the Denver Nuggets' veteran presence; this will be his 15th season in the league.
Millsap is an incredibly important player on his team's roster, as he mentors and guides the young players in defence. Just like PJ Tucker at the Houston Rockets, Millsap is considered the Nuggets' best defender.
According to the Nuggets' head coach Michael Malone, Paul Millsap is the most engaged he has ever been this season; the player led the Denver Nuggets in scoring during the preseason.
Center - Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
Nikola Jokic is the obvious choice for this position. He is considered one of the best centers in the league and was the only center featured in ESPN's top ten players this season.
The Serbian is regarded as one of the best passing centers to have played the game, with his court vision and passing dexterity making him a triple-double threat.
Nikola Jokic, along with Jamal Murray, led the Nuggets to consecutive 3-1 comebacks in the 2020 NBA playoffs, where his team beat the much-fancied LA Clippers in the second round in one of the biggest playoff upsets.
Jokic can stretch the floor as well, and many defenders have no answer to his patented 'Sombor Shuffle'.Published 28 Dec 2020, 01:57 IST