Michael Malone says Will Barton should be Nuggets’ second All-Star after Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic is clearly the Denver Nuggets’ best player, but who is their No. 2?
Most people would probably think of Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap or Gary Harris, but head coach Michael Malone has another idea: Will Barton.
“If you were to say Denver should have a second All-Star, Will Barton should get that nod,” said Malone, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic.
Malone may have a point.
Murray may be flashier, but he is severely lacking on the defensive side of the ball. Millsap is still good, but he is not quite the same player he was during his days with the Atlanta Hawks. Also, while Harris appeared to be breaking out a couple of years ago, injuries have derailed him over Denver’s past two seasons.
Barton, on the other hand, has been very consistent.
In 38 games this season, Barton is averaging 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals over 33.4 minutes per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the floor, 37.1 percent from three-point range and 75.8 percent from the free-throw line.
While those may not be typical All-Star numbers, Barton’s importance to the Nuggets cannot be understated, as he plays both sides of the floor and has great versatility on both ends.
The 29-year-old Barton, who played his collegiate basketball at Memphis, was originally selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round (40th pick overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft.
He spent his first two-and-a-half seasons with the Blazers, serving in a very limited role before his playing time expanded exponentially in Denver.
Barton owns career averages of 10.9 points, 4.2 boards and 2.5 assists across 24.1 minutes a night.
The Nuggets are 29-12 on the season and will take on the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.