It’s been a while since the last — or first, depending on how you look at it — version of Nuggets News graced the front page of Roundball Mining Co. For this we apologize. We know how important it is to keep the Nuggets community as up-to-date as possible on everything concerning its favorite sports franchise, but this lockout has taken a serious toll on our passion… and that’s hard to do.
Imagine you’d been planning on going backpacking through Europe. You had a few friends chosen, your locations narrowed down and all that was left to do was figure out where you’re staying, what locations you’d want to sight-see, etc. Then one day, a member of your traveling crew breaks the news that his wife is pregnant, or he/she is deathly ill or simply doesn’t have the money to make the voyage. So, you delay the vacation until next year at least, with the possibility of even a two-year waiting period before resuming the trip.
Now, imagine how difficult it would be to continue diligently exploring the internet for places to stay, sights to see, venues to attend, mountains to conquer and restaurants to dine at when you know it’s going to be years possibly before you get to taste these magical experiences. After all, these wonders were supposed to be at your fingertips THIS year, not one year from now, or for God’s sake two! This is something you dreamed about when you saw the countryside of Britain in The Kings Speech; it’s what you were reminded of when a miniature Eiffel Tower passed by on the side of a bus ad for Las Vegas; it’s what you salivated over after dining at Applebee’s for the 15th time in one month because it’s the only place your kids want to eat! And now, it’s out of reach. And worst of all, there’s no concrete timetable for its return.
That is sort of how I feel right now. The Nuggets are as big of a part of my life as nearly anything, and even I am having a hard time motivating myself to post a story of any kind. I guess I just can’t stand the fact that after hours of research, contemplation and analysis about, say, a free-agent story, there’s always the possibility that certain contracts will fall off the books come the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which might not even be introduced until a year and a half from now!
Needless to say, we carry on. C’est la vie, as they say in your hypothetical European backpacking destination of France — which did I mention, you’re no longer allowed to visit anymore. All we’re asking from you guys is a little bit of leeway. We’re always going to keep you updated with Nuggets News, though it might be longer than normal between posts. And occasionally, we’ll sprinkle in a story here or there with our own opinion/analysis/depressing thoughts — as you’re reading now. If you ever get lonely and long for those days of frequent game recaps from yours truly, remember, you can always follow me on Twitter. But for now, strap up and get comfortable, because as you’ll read below, the lockout appears to be here to stay.
Lockout here to stay (What’d I tell you?). On Tuesday, Aug. 2, the NBA filed a federal lawsuit against the NBPA (players association), in addition to filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that the players aren’t negotiating in “good faith.” According to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, “the lawsuit is the real strike against decertification… It seeks a ruling that the NBA’s lockout does not violate federal anti-trust laws and if the union were to decertify all existing player contracts would become void.”
In case you’re wondering, this is the exact path the NFL ventured out on to start its labor negotiation process, which essentially forced the two opposing sides to at least attempt a compromise. However, many believe this won’t be the case for the NBA due to the extensive and unbridled contrast between what the owners and players both feel they deserve. Where as this first step of sorts helped galvanize negotiations with the NFL, it could do quite the opposite with the NBA, birthing an all out street fight to the death.
Don’t take my word for it however. If you want a real portrait of just how ugly things are, I highly recommend reading this AP article that features countless, discouraging quotes from the NBA commissioner himself, David Stern. (This is also a solid read for anybody dubious to the labor negotiation process as a whole.)
Now, moving on to actual basketball…
A few Nuggets are participating in summer league action around the country. Ty Lawson, Jordan Hamilton and Kenneth Faried appear to be regulars in either the Drew League out west, or Goodman League in the East. These two legendary street leagues host an array of different competitions throughout the summer, and thanks to the lockout, are experiencing a zenith-level of attention due to the frequent number of NBA stars making cameo appearances. Fittingly, on Aug. 22, in Washington D.C. (Goodman League headquarters), these two powerhouses will collide in an All-Star-like event titled, “Capitol Punishment,” which will see Ty Lawson team up with the likes of Kevin Durant and John Wall, while holding it down for the Goodman League and the East Coast. Tickets are on sale now in select locations in the D.C. area.
Meanwhile, at the Goodman League’s counterpart command post out in L.A., the Drew League, another Nuggets is making noise this summer, and that’s Kenneth Faried. In a recent article for ESPN LA, Pedro Moura described a situation in which Faried was called upon to aid a teammate who had engaged in a heated battle with a member of the opposition. As the story goes, Austin Daye of the Detroit Pistons, had become tangled in a one-on-one showdown with Long Beach State forward Edis Dervisevic, who had been pestering him all game long both verbally and physically. With the game on the line, and Daye on the brink of complete frustration, Faried was inserted into the lineup with only one goal in mind: take Derisevic out of it. As Faried states in the article, his mentality became, “OK, you need to stop now,” and he did just that. Derisevic was thrown entirely out of his own realm by Faried’s tenacious defense, which in large part was the reason his team, Hank’s Blazers (don’t ask), won the game.
Though Faried’s name isn’t listed on the box-score for this specific contest, there is a someone listed as “Kendrick Rocket,” who I suspect has a good chance of being the alter-ego of the Denver Nugget power forward. Rocket finished the contest with a team-high 23 points (more than Daye’s 21) on 10-14 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds and three blocked shots — a line eerily similar to one Kenneth Faried might post.
Hank’s Blazers, led by Faried, finished the regular season at 10-1, as the No.1 ranked team in the entire league and start its playoff run on Aug. 5.
Another Faried-themed headline that’s been causing quite a bit of upstir across the Blogosphere is this ridiculous missed ally-oop, that would have blown the roof off the gym had it gone in. There’s all kind of funny/promising/lovable comments you’ll find from viewers of this video that sees the top of Faried’s head clear the rim, but perhaps the most telling of them all belongs to YouTube commenter, NoLimitzSB, who asks, “Who the $%* is that dude!!!???” (Note the emphasis.)
That dude, THAT dude… is Kenneth Faried, member of the Denver Nuggets.
For those — like me — unable to restrain their love for Faried, I highly recommend this wallpaper for the background of your computer.
In other Drew League news involving the Denver Nuggets, 2011 first-round selection, Jordan Hamilton, made his first appearance of the summer recently for L.A. Unified in a 96-86 victory over Problems. Hamilton recorded 20 points, seven rebounds, three steals and the game-winning block. For a more detailed recap of this contest, check out this article by Pedro Moura for ESPN LA, which also includes a three-minute video interview with Hamilton.
Naturally Hamilton was pretty excited about the block that secured his team a crucial victory on the way to the playoffs. He later tweeted about it and not long after, tweeted about his love for Denver.
Hamilton is an active “tweeter,” in fact, he’s probably the most active, non-cryptic and humorous of all the Denver Nuggets, so I’d strongly urge you to follow him if you have a Twitter account. I myself tweeted about this on Aug. 2 and not long after Hamilton re-tweeted my tweet for all to see. (That’s a lot of tweets!)
Also on the Hamilton front, keep an eye out for a feature article by SI.com in the near future, as Sam Amick is reporting it should be up soon.
That about does it on summer league action, but other Nuggets are still making headlines throughout the Internet…
Gary Forbes tweeted recently that Al Harrington has a new Twitter account. Apparently he’s going by the alias CheddahCheese7, which won’t score him any points with those concerned about his diet since coming to Denver.
Conversely, Forbes, who has an excellent diet as a result of diabetes, was featured in a two-page article by SLAM Online. This is a must read for Nuggets fans, especially those who are advocates — like me — of re-signing the versatile swingman.
Speaking of wings, Afflalo is staying relatively quite this summer — as always — but did draw some attention recently after being left out of numerous shooting guard rankings, including “Best Young Shooting Guard” and “Most Underrated Shooting Guard,” in the ESPN 5-on-5 series that we participate in here at Roundball Mining Co. Obviously we missed our chance to plug Afflalo, but real NBA heads know his value regardless.
Then of course, there’s our other prodigal backcourt assassin, J.R. Smith, who’s drawing quite a bit of interest from title contenders like the Bulls, Celtics and Lakers. Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston weighs the pros and cons of signing a guy as enigmatic as J.R., yet ultimately decides he’s too risky. Many fans on the other hand, feel the opposite. And although I failed to mention it (probably for a good reason), J.R. has indeed made an appearance in the Drew League this summer as well — without the same type of results Faried and Hamilton achieved. For those — like me — who blindly chose to see only the positives in J.R., there’s this artistic twist by Ryan Hurst on his epic dunk over Gary Neal this past year for you to enjoy.
Is Wilson Chandler a shooting guard? I never thought so, but apparently HoopsWorld does. They award Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler honorable mention for their piece titled, “Top 5 Most Promising Backcourts,” behind the duos of No. 5, Darren Collison and Paul George; No.4, Eric Bledsoe and Eric Gordon; No. 3, John Wall and Nick Young; No.2, Raymond Felton and Wesley Matthews; and No.1, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Now, there are so many things wrong with this list, I could write an essay detailing its downfalls, but one glaring error I can’t get past is how (A) Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo don’t make the cut, and (B) how guys like Wilson Chandler, Nick Young and Paul George are considered shooting guards. Last I checked, all of those guys are 6-7 or taller and all of them have true shooting guards on their respective teams (sans maybe George).
One honorable mention on a list I tend to agree with however, is Andre Miller on CBS Sports.com’s “Elite 100,” which ranks the top 100 players in the NBA as we speak. Around this time of year sports websites, magazines and TV shows across the country put their collective heads together in an attempt to codify the best players in the NBA, and while I would have had a problem with Miller being left off any list a few years ago, that’s just not the case today. If however, Miller doesn’t land on the “Top 10 Backup Point Guards in the NBA” list, then we’ll have a problem. Nevertheless, it’s still nice to see Miller get honorable mention on a list of the NBA’s best players.
The last bit of Nuggets News — and this has been touched on already — is regarding Timofey Mozgov, who recently signed a contract to play in his native country of Russia with his former team (2006-10), BC Khimki. The contract contains an opt-out clause which will allow Mozgov to return to the Nuggets at any time should the NBA lockout resolve.
Since this post, Kenneth Faried’s summer league team, Hank’s Blazers, has advanced to the semi-finals in the Drew League playoffs. In the first round against Hank’s Mouties, Faried scored a game-high 21 points on 8-10 shooting from the field to go with 10 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. In the second round against Da Fam, Faried notched 14 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and one steal. On Aug. 12, Hank’s Blazers will face Team C.O.A. with the winner advancing to the Drew League final.
For those interested in watching Drew League games, specifically the rest of the playoffs, you can find links by following the Drew League on Twitter.
Ty Lawson is apparently following in “superstar” Al Harrington’s footsteps by hosting nightclub events around the D.C. area.
J.R. Smith is once again making headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time, at a recent charity game in Kentucky, J.R. wanted to make it clear that nobody gets easy buckets when he’s around… even kids.