Torrey Craig of the Denver Nuggets talked ahead of the European Primetime game this weekend against the Rockets on Sky Sports Arena.
Q: For the second year in a row, you’re the second-best team in the Western Conference. What do you think you can improve on as a team to top the league?
TC: “I say be more consistent. Win games that we should win against a team under .500. We’ve struggled in a couple of games and gave games to teams I feel like we should have won. Just being more consistent in beating the teams we should beat.”
Q: Do you think you can contest the Lakers for first place? What will you need to do achieve the top spot?
TC: “It’s a long season, we’re only halfway through the season. There’s a lot of basketball left. Teams are going to go on winning streaks, teams are going to go on losing streaks. It’s hard to tell what can happen but I definitely think we have a chance to be first in the West. To do that, like I said, we need to be more consistent, beat teams under .500. I think we lost six or seven games to teams that had nine, six, 10 wins. If we win those six games and take away those six losses we’d be right there in first. That’s the biggest thing.”
Q: Everyone’s talking about the importance of Michael Porter Jr. to the team. What have you made of his performances and is he the secret to you making the Western Conference finals?
TC: “For sure. He’s a huge asset to this team, his size, his ability to score and rebound the ball is amazing so he’s definitely a huge asset to us. He’s coming along fairly well. He’s been patient. It took a while but he showed flashes of greatness and it’s starting to show in games and big moments.”
Q: You’re facing the Rockets during European Primetime next Sunday. How tough are the Rockets to play? How do you stop players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook?
TC: “We have to contain their main players, Harden and Westbrook. They go as Westbrook and Harden go. If we can control them and keep them at a low pace we have a chance to win.”
Q: We’re at the halfway point in the season. What’s your assessment so far and what are your expectations for the rest of the season?
TC: “Continue to play good basketball, play consistent basketball and finish near the top of the standings in the West.”
Q: Who would you say has been the Nuggets’ standout player this season and why?
TC: “Will [Barton] is having a tremendous bounce-back year. Last year, sitting out, being hurt, dealing with the injury and trying to come back and trying to play out of a funk. This is great revenge for him. He’s playing at a high level so he’s going to be big for us the rest of the season and the playoffs.”
Q: Who is your MVP this season?
TC: “You can go with a couple of guys. You can go Giannis [Antetokounmpo], LeBron [James], Kawhi [Leonard]. There’s so much talent around the league you can go either way. I don’t really have a front runner, I just have a group of guys that could get it. Joker could be in there.”
NBA Saturdays and Sundays presented by NBA2K20 on Sky Sports – part of a record 48 Primetime games live on Sky Sports starting from 7.00pm every weekend. This week on 25 January the Utah Jazz host the Dallas Mavericks on Sky Sports Arena from 10pm. The Denver Nuggets host the Houston Rockets on 26 January from 8.30pm on Sky Sports Arena.