Houston Rockets vs Denver Nuggets game preview - November 28

Denver Nuggets v Houston Rockets
Denver Nuggets v Houston Rockets / Bob Levey/GettyImages
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Houston Rockets vs Denver Nuggets: Stats to know

The shape of the Nuggets’ attack is built around back-to-back defending NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. They post up at the highest frequency in the league (7.9%), generate the most elbow touches, and are second in total paint touches per game. When you have an all-time great center, who is likely the best offensive center of the 3-point era, schematic decisions get a little bit easier. 

The Nuggets don’t have an offensive system as much as they have Jokic, and it’s frankly absurd what they’re able to do with him pulling the strings. With Jokic on the court, the Nuggets have an offensive rating of 125.8 and do just about everything better. Their 2-point and 3-point shots get closer to the basket, they generate more assists, they shoot better, they get more second-chance points, and they turn the ball over less. It cannot be understated how good he is and how integral he is to the Nuggets’ offense. 

As a result, the Nuggets’ offense, compared to the league average, features a heavy dose of pick and roll roll-man possessions, handoffs, cuts, and the aforementioned post ups. However, where the Nuggets’ offense doesn’t stand out in frequency is where it generates the majority of its efficiency. 

The Nuggets are 24th in transition frequency (15%) but pace the league at 1.26 points per possession. They also attempt the lowest frequency of spot up jumpers at 18.9% but are fourth in points per possession at 1.11. 

The final stat to know is the Nuggets’ incredible paint dominance. They average the second most paint touches per game at 25.7 and are able to produce a league-leading 27.1 points. The blend of extraordinary volume and efficiency, by virtue of the league’s fifth-best field goal percentage in the paint, on its own would be noteworthy, but the Nuggets are also dead last in turnovers per game on paint touches. When the Nuggets get the ball in the paint, they already have scored.