Michael Malone must surely be happy in recent days to have recruited Facundo Campazzo this season. Because this rather special rookie, who comes from Europe and is over 30 years old, is providing invaluable services to a team that needs it.
Injuries did not spare the Nuggets and faced with the slaughter at the back (Jamal Murray absent for several months, PJ Dozier also affected), the Argentinian has established himself as the starting point of Denver since the end regular season and the start of the series against the Blazers.
« I had never envisaged that he would be our playmaker in the playoffs », admits the coach of the Nuggets to USA Today. “Because you never imagine the injuries that strike a group, but they are not afraid of anything. We could already see him from the outside, but when we are immersed in everyday life with him, we see it even more in his preparation, his work ethic and his hardness. «
If he is not always regular offensively, nor skillful (39% success in this first round), the former Real Madrid is however constant in his efforts and his defense.
It’s a ringworm that has had great performances in the regular season against some of the best forwards in the league, like Damian Lillard or Kemba Walker, by lowering their percentage.
« I like to train like I play », explains the player. “I give myself 100% in every game, so I do the same in every practice. The first time, I was wondering whether I should be aggressive or not, whether I push the players or not, in training. The coach told me not to change anything, that he wanted me to put my teammates through hell. That this is how I was going to help them move forward. I’m glad the coach let me do it like this. «
Therefore, as Campazzo says, “ if my opponents are frustrated or upset, that’s a good sign ”. And that satisfies his coach and his teammates since for Nikola Jokic, his playmaker « Plays hard, frustrates people because he uses his passion and attacks during the whole match ». Same admiring speech for Michael Malone: “I have immense respect for his passion, which was visible when we looked at him before and which carried over to the NBA. »