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The Lakers and Clippers travel to Florida this to resume their championship quest; the Legends of Sports podcast explores who—and what—stand in their way
The NBA draft is still four months away, but the Nuggets could be getting another strong late pickup.
Memphis forward Precious Achiuwa is projected to go to Denver with the No. 21 pick, according to Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre’s NBA mock draft.
“Two front court players are free agents — Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee — and Achiuwa could be the ideal power forward alongside Jokic,’ McIntyre writes.
The 7-foot Achiuwa averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks as a freshman for the Tigers last season. He has been projected to get selected earlier in other mock drafts, such as NBC Sports (No. 11), CBS Sports (No. 13) and Bleacher Report (No. 13). But it would follow Denver’s trend in recent years after picking up Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol far later than many draftniks had expected.
— Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post
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+ Broncos Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Ryan O’Halloran here.
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Denver Post Broncos writer Ryan O’Halloran posts his Broncos Mailbag periodically during the offseason.
You can pose a Broncos- or NFL-related question for the Broncos Mailbag here. Follow Ryan for more daily updates on Twitter.
Heading into this new virus season, are players preparing to play the whole season or is this going to be like the NBA and stop in the middle of the season? I’m hoping we can set a schedule and a possible Super Bowl run!
— Richard Lopez, Camarillo, Calif.
The company line from the Broncos and every other team in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB should be: “We’re prepared for everything and won’t be surprised by anything.”
The worst-case for the NFL is the season doesn’t start all, but starting on time and having to halt the season in mid-November (or any second-half-of-the-season date) is a close second.
What the folks at the NFL office should have in their minds and on paper is: 1. What is the latest date they can start in order to play a full season? 2. If the season is interrupted, how long do they wait?
The NFL should be OK playing into mid-to-late March because that will only delay the start of free agency. The league has wiggle room to complete a full season even if they don’t start until mid-October or have to hit the pause button in November.
Which Broncos player do you think will surprise us — a free agent who has a great year or a veteran who has a bounce-back season? Or could it be a rookie or a second-year player who shows significant development? Candidates I see include Jurrell Casey being a force, Von Miller having a huge resurgent year, KJ Hamler being a return man/speed receiver threat or Dalton Risner turning into a Pro Bowler.
— Joe G., Sacramento
Joe asked the question and also offered some potential answers.
New acquisition who could surprise: Cornerback A.J. Bouye and only because he’s an unknown to Broncos fans. The lack of offseason practices meant no reporting of how he’s grasping coach Vic Fangio’s scheme and how he is developing into a leader. I expect good things from Bouye.
Veteran who will have a bounce-back season: I addressed Von Miller in last week’s mailbag and predicted at least 10 sacks. Instead of Casey, I picked running back Melvin Gordon, whose 2019 with the Los Angeles Chargers was derailed by a holdout that didn’t end until Week 4.
Second-year player who will show significant improvement: I expect a big jump in big plays for tight end Noah Fant. He should benefit from the attention the Broncos hope is focused on receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler.
Rookie who has instant impact: Jeudy is too easy of a pick so I will go with third-round cornerback Michael Ojemudia. He will get a chance to play major snaps.
Patrick Mahomes is going to be the Chiefs’ quarterback through the 2020s after his new 10-year deal (through 2031). If you were the general manager of the Broncos, what would you do to counteract Mr. Mahomes’ monster offense: Build a big-time offense or create the league’s best defense?
— Mike, Denver
A reminder: Mahomes is 5-0 all-time against the Broncos (1,307 yards, eight touchdowns, three interceptions, a 103.4 rating and one dislocated knee-cap). After the Super Bowl, I thought a Mahomes extension would be in the $400 million range ($200 million guaranteed). The final numbers exceeded those guesses.
The Broncos showed their hand this offseason by loading up on offensive skill-position players (running back Melvin Gordon in free agency and receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam in the draft). Yes, they want to contain the Chiefs’ fast-break offense, but John Elway also knew he needed to give quarterback Drew Lock help to keep up with the Chiefs.
But Elway didn’t ignore the defense, either, by trading for cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive end Jurrell Casey, but also re-signing defensive end Shelby Harris. Last year, he gave safety Kareem Jackson big money.
Saw a question about nicknames in last week’s mailbag. I suggest Drew Lock’s offense be called the “Denver Flight Zone” like the “No Fly Zone” for the 2015 defense. I have been a fan from the beginning (1960) and I remember most of the past players. This may be the best overall team they have had. I think Denver is now a team no one wants to play.
— William E. Laffen, Umatilla, Ore.
For those interested like me, Umatilla is located along the Columbia River that makes up part of the Washington-Oregon border, 235 miles southeast of Seattle and 180 miles east of Portland.
I like the “Denver Flight Zone,” nickname as a play on the “No Fly Zone” during the 2015 Super Bowl-winning. One emailer suggested “Lock and Loaded,” which isn’t bad, either.
The Broncos probably love William’s optimism, but the championship teams in 1997-98 and the 2013 AFC title team would like to have a word with him about the talent of this year’s team. The Broncos’ first Super Bowl team had five Hall of Famers in the starting lineup (quarterback John Elway, running back Terrell Davis, tight end Shannon Sharpe, left tackle Gary Zimmerman and safety Steve Atwater).
But yes, the Broncos, if they are able to produce more takeaways and have a consistent pulse offensively, will be a tough out for any opponent.
Ryan, how about “The Magnificent Seven” for the nickname you are seeking for these seven guys on the Broncos’ offense? Cheers.
— Allan Tremblay, Edmonton
This name isn’t bad and would fit if the Broncos’ core of seven offensive skill-position players — quarterback Drew Lock, running backs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, tight end Noah Fant and receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler — have a spectacular regular season. But a good attempt.
The Broncos’ Mailbag will return July 22.
Lakers center Dwight Howard has decided he will take part in the NBA season restart in Orlando. He says he will donate his salary to charity.
In addition to announcing plans on how it plans to address the issues of social inequality, the WNBA also revealed COVID-19 testing results for players.
J.R. Smith, the newest member of the Lakers, believes his relationship with LeBron James will aid the team in its quest to win the NBA title.