It’s now been roughly two weeks since our last version of Nuggets News hit the stands. Since then Gary Forbes posted a new career high, Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton met up in the Drew League finale and Timofey Mozgov found his inner Blake Griffin.
But first thing’s first. Ty Lawson has reportedly signed with Zalgiris Kaunas — a professional basketball club based out of Lithuania — until the lockout is resolved. Lawson will begin his tour with the European basketball outfit on Aug. 28.
Zalgiris is one of the oldest basketball teams in Europe and is widely considered to be the best club in the Lithuanian Basketball League. Former NBA standout and recent Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Arvydas Sabonis, owns a 25 percent stock in the team. Zalgiris has a long and illustrious history marked by great success, including 22 league titles and one Euroleague title.
My Take: It’s nice to see our guys, especially the younger ones, taking this lockout seriously — if there is such a thing. Right now Gallinari, Lawson, Faried, Hamilton, Forbes and Mozgov are all participating in some sort of summer league basketball across the globe. Ty’s commitment to a professional club shows not only a strong dedication to this craft, but a yearning desire to constantly improve his skills as well. Keep checking in with Roundball during the lockout as we’ll have updates on Ty’s performances throughout the season.
The last time we left the Drew League, Kenneth Faried (aka, Kendrick Rocket), was on his way to the semi-finals. Since that point in time, Faried advanced to the Drew League Championship after posting a team-high 21 points (8-10 shooting) and 14 rebounds, to go along with three blocks and a steal. Around this time Jordan Hamilton re-joined L.A. Unified (after missing a few games), and alongside his brother, Gary, and led his team all the way to the Drew League Championship as well. In the semi-final, Hamilton dropped 14 points on 5-10 shooting from the field to go along with seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocked shots.
So, as fate would have it, both Roundball Mining Company’s favorite highly-praised first-round draft picks would meet in the Drew League Championship where Hamilton’s L.A. Unified would eventually win 99-90 over Hank’s Blazers. Though Faried posted one hell of a stat line, consisting of a team-high 20 points and 19 rebounds, it just wasn’t enough to hold back L.A. Unified. Hamilton had a respectable 17 and 10 in the game as well.
My Take: Really, what more could you want from your two first-round draft picks than to meet up on opposing sides in the most competitive summer league event in the US? Though Faried didn’t win the Drew League MVP, he was as deserving as anybody, consistently posting stat lines that flirted with 20 and 10 or more. Overall, this was about the best result any Nuggets fan could have ever hoped for coming into the lockout. Needless to say, “The Manimal” is off to a strong start when it comes to proving the doubters wrong.
It seems like each week one member of the Nuggets finds himself amidst the upper echelon of futile NBA headlines due to the lockout. This week, it was Timofey Mozgov.
My Take: A nice jam by “The Moz” that displays his athleticism, and most importantly, his length. Much was made about the players the Nuggets got in return for Carmelo Anthony this past February, but Mozgov could very well end up being the steal of that entire exchange. Should he continue to develop and see more playing time, Mozgov has a great chance to be a longtime cornerstone of the franchise at the much-needed center position.
What wasn’t exactly futile however was Gary Forbes dropping 78 points, including 13 3-pointers, at the Hartford Pro-Am.
My Take: Look, I don’t care if you’re playing against ballers from the Hartford Pro-Am, or dudes down at your local 24-Hour Fitness, hanging 78 points on anybody is impressive and only corroborates my argument that Forbes should be atop our priority list of re-signees.
And while the rest of the Nuggets are competing in real life basketball games, Al Harrington is apparently attempting to conquer obstacle courses.
My Take: OK, we do need to give Al some credit here. The Staten Island Super Spartan race is nothing to scoff at; in fact, it’s pretty impressive. My question is: How serious is Big Al about competing in this thing? Is this simply a publicity stunt, or is he really trying to benefit from its arduous challenges? I guess only time will tell. Nevertheless, the article linked above is worth the read, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the race.
We haven’t heard much about Nene this off-season. I assumed he was down in Brazil on some sort of religious mission since he’s openly passionate about this aspect of his life and how it’s most likely going to derail his basketball career earlier than necessary. That’s why I was surprised when Denver Post’s Benjamin Hochman published this story about how he’s playing soccer (or “futbol”) in Denver over the summer in order to stay in shape.
My Take: At first I was ecstatic to hear how Nene is back in Colorado instead of his native Brazil while he kills time during the lockout… then I read some of his quotes about how important this opportunity is, how he wants to win a championship and how he has certain “goals” as a player. In all reality, Nene’s quotes are pretty ambiguous, so it’s probably best you analyze them for yourself.
Finally, on the Kenyon Martin front, things aren’t looking so good. According to Westword, the 6-9 power forward has put his Denver-area residence up for sale. In addition, Martin has fired longtime agent, Brian Dyke, in favor of new representation.
My Take: Professional sports is a business of reading tea leaves. We saw it with Melo, and now we’re seeing it with K-Mart. My advice: Try not to be naive. There is a really good chance that Kenyon Martin’s chapter in Nuggets History is coming to a close, yet with that, another will open and should read, “Kenneth Faried.” If Martin does however chose to re-sign, he will be met with open arms.