The other side of the coin

Yesterday my wonderful colleague Jeremy detailed the Nuggets 2011-12 season outlook in a post titled, How Good Can the Denver Nuggets Be? In it he expressed his concern over how this year’s team would play without a “chip” on its shoulder, without enough good defensive players in addition to how the Nuggets would be affected by losing Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler to the Chinese Basketball Association. In the end Jeremy stated, “For Nuggets fans who could not stomach the thought of rebuilding, you got your wish. They will be a playoff team for the foreseeable future, but I fear that is all they will be.” Though this may be true, I’m here to tell you why that may not be such a bad thing after all. 

Long-tenured Nuggets fans need to stop living in the past. I’ve echoed this sentiment many times since my arrival here and Roundball Mining Co. I understand the history of this franchise and the years of ineptitude featuring horrible nightmares that became reality when players like Raef LaFrentz, Tony Battie, Nikoloz Tskitishvili were selected ahead of Amare Stoudemire, Caron Butler, Carlos Boozer, Luis Scola, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis and Tracy McGrady. But the thing that perplexes me is why, after all these years of botched draft picks, Nuggets fans still actually want to revisit this place of misery just for the chance of maybe, if you’re really lucky, landing a top pick in a historical draft class.

Have Nuggets fans forgotten how many years of pain and anguish they had to endure before thankfully landing Carmelo Anthony in 2003?

Prior to Melo’s arrival in the early part of the past decade, the Denver Nuggets hadn’t had a winning season in 10 years. Ten years!!! That was all supposed to be “rebuilding,” am I right? That was supposed to be the quick, “suck for a few years in order to land the next Tim Duncan then we’ll be poised to win a title” plan, correct? Well what happened? What took so long? More importantly, where were all of you when this “rebuilding” was going on? I’m sure each and every one of you rushed home from work weaving in and out of traffic so that you could catch the Nuggets losing by double-digits on a nightly basis. I know every year that ushered in another sub-30-win season brought countless, treasured moments of  joy and happiness into your lives. I’m sure that, come November and during the holidays, you couldn’t wait to drop a couple hundred dollars on Nuggets merchandise that you could proudly wear out in public in honor of your favorite losing basketball team.

Get real.

Losing sucks. Nobody likes it, nobody aims for it in professional sports. In fact, if you do, I wouldn’t even call you a sports fan. I don’t care if you’re this year’s version of the Indianapolis Colts and you’ve got a chance to land what’s perceived to be the best quarterback since, ironically the one on your own roster, in Peyton Manning. If you’re hoping to lose, then you’re going against the very essence of what sports are about. If you want to lose, you should just pack up your stuff, move to Vegas and settle down for a life of monotonous slot-pulling, deserted casino-wondering, green clear-cup alcohol-drinking loneliness.

Me, I like to win. I’ve enjoyed this past seven years in Nuggets history and I don’t think I necessarily want to relinquish this glory simply because Carmelo Anthony went and got all “Mr. Big City” on us. No, I’m ready to continue winning. And you should be too. Because thankfully, for the first time in Denver Nuggets’ existence, we have a front office that can deliver us excellence year in and year out. And the very thought of tanking it, is a slap in their face.

Last summer when Masai Ujiri joined the Nuggets he walked into a living room with a geyser spouting through the roof. Most people would have panicked. They would have run to the phone, called the plumper and sat on their porch despondent and terrified of all the water damage. But Masai was, and still is, a different breed. When he walked into a jet stream of perilous force he took matters into his own hands. Of course, he knew at some point he’d have to call the plumber, but he immediately rushed to his tool kit, gathered up his necessary materials needed to stop the leak and got down to work reducing its potency. He couldn’t stop the flooding entirely and for a while things continued to get wet. But in the end he chose to do something about it and instead of having to “rebuild” an entire house because the damage was so bad, he was able to salvage most of his possessions and in the process somehow convinced insurance to give him the funds neccesary to remodel his entire living room.

That’s the type of guy Masai Ujiri is, and it’s an insult to him, his values and beliefs to expect him not to do his job and let Carmelo Anthony, the Creative Arts Agency goons and that geyser of his get the best of him. We should be thankful a million times over to have a general manager of his clout running this team, on our side, as we watch him pull one amazing maneuver after another. Now, after multiple different “fixes” Masai has again put us in a position to succeed, and most importantly, he did it when all the odds were against him, when there was virtually no sign of hope.

What Masai Ujiri has essentially done over the past calender year is erase countless seasons of futility we would have suffered through the “rebuilding” process and it baffles me how anybody could not be incredibly thankful for this shortcut. Instead of having to lose in order to get a top pick in the draft, Masai has allowed us to win and still retain this possibility. That is something only the very best general managers in sports are capable of doing. Because of his shrewd business complex, the Nuggets now have enough pieces to put together a trade for that “superstar” everyone seems so googly-eyed over.

But perhaps the one aspect of rebuilding people seem to consistently undervalue time and time again, is luck. Jeremy, of all people, knows this best as he put together an excellent piece not too long ago that expanded on the intricacies of fortune its omnipotent control over the NBA. It’s a single ping pong ball, knee injury or group of collegiate athletes that each year, more than anything, determines the success of a franchise. And while one lucky team perennially gets that coveted bounce, snap or crop, a dozen or so other teams pony up for yet another long year of “rebuilding” in hopes of being that one special team 365 days later.

This year it’s Anthony Davis. Oooohhh, Anthony Davis. Long, athletic, a near-7-footer, defensive-minded — he’s it. He’s what it’s all about, right? He’s what Nuggets fans who want to rebuild are salivating over, regardless of how miniscule our chances really are of landing him. But that’s alright because you guys are the Vegas types. Unfavorable odds are what you live for.

But boy do I have some news for you. I-I-I don’t know how to say this, but… that Anthony Davis guy… the one you want to dedicate years of frustration and failure for… he’s actually not what you think. You see, that’s kind of the problem, the whole antithesis of this entire “rebuilding” plan. He’s not the next Tim Duncan nor Hakeem Olajuwon. I mean, I hate to break your hearts and everything, but he’s actually more like the next Marcus Camby or Tyson Chandler. But hey! He’s still gonna be a member of the Denver Nuggets and primary cornerstone of the franchise forever right? Right!? RIGHT!?!?!

Well, we’re rebuilding, remember? So by now, Nene’s gone. Who’s to say what ever ended up with Afflalo. That guy is a winner and he doesn’t want to stick around for the rebuilding processes. OK, but at least we have Marcus Camby locked down for the foreseeable future. I mean, he’s not exactly the guy we all thought he would be but we’ll surely win a title with him down the road anyways. But… by the time he’s challenging for an All-Star spot who knows what will have happened to Ty and Danilo Gallinari!?! Those guys also like to win and I wouldn’t be surprised if they exercised their qualifying offer in order to become an unrestricted free agent and rid themselves of this losing mentality for good. Then where would be? Right back to square one?!? Rebuilding AGAIN?!? I guess people don’t really want to stick around during this whole rebuilding stint do they? Whether it be fans, players owners or whoever else. Because when it doesn’t work, when this dream scenario of intentionally losing to secure the next Kobe Bryant doesn’t actually work out the way you intended, it’s kind of a disaster. The type of disaster that can lose you a franchise forever…

Back to reality, and speaking of Kobe Bryant, did you know he was actually selected 13th overall instead of going top five? But that’s not even the real kicker. The funny thing is, on draft day, he didn’t want to go to a franchise with a losing culture so instead forced a trade to a different franchise with a history of winning, one that possessed assets that enabled it to move up in the draft and trade for him. Those two teams who exchanged that infamous draft-day deal were the Los Angeles Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets.

So I ask you Nuggets fans: Who do you want to be? Do you want to be the Charlotte Hornets, a team that’s no longer even in it’s original location and was forced to move because it chose to “rebuild” one year too many, or would rather be the Los Angeles Lakers, a team with stalactites made of championship banners and stones on their fingers carved out of excellence?

Look, we’re obviously not ever going to bet he Lakers, but you understand the parallel I’m making about building a winning culture and capitalizing on it by trading up in the draft if necessary to secure that next great shooting guard or power forward. The point is, losing intentionally for one year is the recipe for losing perpetually. Building a franchise entrenched with success only further increases your chances of continuing that success forever. Don’t blame Masai Ujiri for doing his job. Don’t hold the fact that he wants to succeed against him. Anthony Davis isn’t going to win a a championship for you, but Jeremy Lamb — currently projected to be a mid-lottery pick — definitely could if surrounded by a talented squad like the Nuggets. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to lose in order to win. And though everyone’s goal is to one day win a championship, realistically very few teams ever actually reach this pantheon of greatness. What sports are really about is consistency and maintaining a winning mentality, after year, after year. Sure, we’ll likely have a few seasons where we finish as a five-seed, but I promise you that if we continue pushing forward striving for perfection we’ll eventually maximize the return on our assets and reach that beloved goal of winning a championship that we all collectively dream about.

If you’re still not convinced, Vegas is calling.

  • Kyle

    This is an incredible article. I agree 100%. I think Masai has done a masterful job since he arrived, and the Nuggets are going to be in a position for success not only right now, but also in the future.

  • Andrew

    I also agree 100%! Well put, Kalen.

  • monimo

    Thank you, Kalen, for this great article! I want to have fun watching the Nuggets. This season will be a joy to watch. I have good hopes, Afflalo will be signed. Then there will be 4-5 borderline-stars on the roster (Nene, Afflalo, Tyson, Gallo, perhaps Faried?). None of these players will ever be a superstar, perhaps none of them will ever play an all-star game, but together they can contribute to build the young core of a contender (or at perhaps be valuable trade chips). This season, they will be fun to watch and perhaps the next superstar will be drafted at the 17th sead!

  • John

    Franchise players are created when heart and talent are joined. Carmelo had talent but not enough heart. Aaron has heart but may lack the peak talent. Scouting draft picks it is possible to see talent but heart is harder to determine. It looks like Masai knows how to scout heart and that is rare.

  • jr15

    Great article Kalen, I think the Nuggets need to stay competitive. Dallas had many playoff exits but had an opportunistic run to win the championship, and they developed Nowitzki like we can develop our own players. Plus the NY pick in 2014 will be a lotto pick given the injury prone frontcourt and the fact that the Knicks can’t get any other help.
    I think the Nuggets have had a bad history of rebuilding, this is the way to go.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      I know you are just pointing Dirk out as one example, but to say Dallas developed Dirk like he was not an incredible special player is a little disingenuous, yes it took him a year to adjust, but by the time he was 22 he was averaging 22 and 9. There is no one on the Nuggets with that kind of potential. And while it took Dallas a lot of tinkering before they won, they always had Dirk.

      • jr15

        Umm a certain 6’10″ Italian forward would like a word. Don’t tell me that 30 point 8 reb game before he broke his toe had you thinking Dirk and guess how old Gallo is…22 or 23, but very young nonetheless.
        He was really hampered by that broken toe since the Portland game, should see a different Gallo now that he is healed up thanks to the lockout.
        Took a while for Ginobili to adjust too, can’t just write off Gallo like that.

        • Jack

          Gallo sucks

          • evan

            and you’re an idiot

        • LT

          One good game doesn’t make Gallo an All-star

  • Daniel

    You’ve got spunk, kid. But try proofreading once in a while and you might find people are more apt to listen to you.

    • evan

      one type-o. Oh no. Everything he said is wrong now.
      >.<

  • Bobby W

    The Nuggs should just keep finding players who share the ball and play defense. It’s way more to watch them Van Excel launching 3s and playing his matador style defense. This team is fun to watch and deep. Don’t forget we were a horrific non goal tending call away from stealing game 1 last year and all games except for game 2 were real close.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

    Kalen, fantastic article and I am glad you represented the other side of the argument so well.

    I have three thoughts and will leave it at that.

    First of all teams that are perennial losers like Denver was in the 90s and early 00s are that way because of incompetent management. I have full trust after just a year with the current front office that if the Nuggets did rebuild, it would not lead to a decade of darkness.

    Secondly, I am not saying that Davis or Drummond are the be all and end all for what this team needs. There is no clear cut top player in this draft, at least not yet. Dwyane Wade was drafted fifth in a deep draft and that turned out pretty well for Miami. It could be the player who goes fourth or seventh is the one Denver needs. If they do not end up in the lottery, they are probably not going to get that player. It is not easy to just trade up to that spot if you are picking 20th. A couple of years ago the Nuggets could not get into the top ten of a weaker draft even though they were dangling Lawson. So no, I do not know which guy is the man to pin any rebuilding hopes on, but I trust in that situation Masai would make the right choice. Everyone claims to have faith in him, but no one trusts him to build a team from scratch that can be better than this one. Do you trust him or not?

    Last, I think it is sad the Nuggets fans equate winning with just making the playoffs. If you want to talk about a winning culture, you have to start with the goal being to win a championship. As Stephen Jackson said at Bucks media day, and I am paraphrasing, “If anyone here just wants to make the playoffs they need to be traded.” Nuggets fans are so beaten down that taking risks to win a championship makes no sense to them.

    Yes, Denver has had a winning record for eight straight seasons, but I would only say two of those seasons were even remotely successful. Melo’s rookie season when they made it to the playoffs and 2008-09 when they went to the conference finals. Every other season has been a complete failure. To accept that as success is incomprehensible to me.

    You do not foster a winning culture through being content as a top 16 team.

    I would love to be wrong and see Denver win a title this year or next, after watching the NBA intently for over 20 years, I do not see how it will happen.

    I did not mean to write that much, but you guys know how I am.

    • jr15

      But no matter how good Ujiri is he could get a high pick in a draft like 2000 and draft a Kenyon Martin. It’s a lot about luck and the way Ujiri is building with young talent is just as risky, but again the Nuggets are very young and still competitive. And we will have good draft picks in the future as well.
      What he is doing is assessing the talent we have now and deciding if we should stay with these guys or let them go. It looks like he has a good plan.

      • Jack

        You just don’t get it. This isn’t the 2000 draft !!! It is one of the strongest drafts of the last 20 years. People on this site are so ignorant

        • jr15

          Do you really think we would get a nice pick in the draft if we rebuild?
          Just saying Gallo sucks is about equal to me saying the pick we get sucks. Both are unproven talents. Plus how many lotto picks even in a stacked draft can be franchise players?
          The 2003 draft was stacked but you could still draft a Milicic or I don’t even know who was drafted after Wade.
          I am aware it is a stacked draft, but there is waay too much uncertainty and luck. Do you really think Andre Drummond or Jared Sullinger would be the next Tim Duncan? If so, we should tank, but I see them more like Greg Oden or Tyrus Thomas. There are way more drafts with those guys especially for the Nuggets than the quality players…which I say we have now.
          No use arguing with you though, you are more of an attacker than a rational person. So I respectfully disagree with your snap comments

          • Charlie

            Granted, I’m not big into the college game. However I do think Drummond is a franchise changer. Incredibly high ceiling, I honestly think the best C prospect in years

          • Dave

            Kalen,
            Great article. I totally agree that this is the right direction for the Nuggs to go. If we struggle come trade deadline we can ship some assets for draft picks(ie Chandler), but the draft is incredibly risky. In that 2003 draft, if we would not have been lucky enough to lose out on that second overall pick there is a great chance the Denver Nuggets put up the new face of the franchise..Darko. Kiki loved European players and would have drafted him in a heart beat. Unfortunately, we had to settle for a superstar.

    • Kalen

      I trust everything Masai does. But realize this: Masai chose not to rebuild. I think that says a lot. Conversely, if you really trust Masai then shouldn’t you have faith in him choosing not to rebuild? But again, if he did chose to go down that road then I would have no problem with it — but he didn’t.

      As for winning a title, we first need to build a winning culture. Keep in mind, this is the Nuggets we’re talking about here. This is a team that has a history of losing. You don’t just change that overnight. It takes years and even decades to transform that. It seems we’re definitely trying though. One thing I do know is that losing is not contributing to the construction of a winning franchise philosophy.

      As for Melo, why do people continue to overlook the fact that we HAD a supposed “superstar” that everyone is clamoring for and all it got us was nothing but first-round exits until Chauncey arrived!?

      Look, I’m not naive here. I understand the importance of a superstar when it comes to winning a title and how not having one makes it virtually impossible. I UNDERSTAND THAT! I want to make that very clear. All I’m saying is that people need to calm down with the whole “let’s rebuild” march. Masai is putting us in a position for continuous success. Don’t people think that he understands that the Nuggets need a superstar to win as well!?! The superstar come, in time, people just need to be a little patient here and enjoy this incredibly deep young team while we have it — that’s all I am saying. In a way this whole thing reminds me of the Tebow saga. Why can’t people just enjoy this ride, and worry about the mechanics comes the off season?

      • Justin

        Overall, I have to agree with with Jeremy on this one. I watch my sports because I want to see my teams win championships. I am more likely to watch a ‘playoff caliber’ Nuggets team than the ones pre-Melo that were absolutely awful. However, I would be more excited to watch a player like John Wall to see how he might develop than this current Nuggets team that has a limited ceiling.

        Outside of a couple of exceptions (such as Chauncey’s Pistons), NBA teams that win championships are built around all stars. While there are a examples of all star caliber players taken outside the top 10, since 2003, the year Melo was drafted, I think only 2 players (Granger and Rondo), and this would be a stretch, are potential franchise players. Within the top 5, the following guys have been drafted:

        03 – Lebron (1), Melo (3), Wade (5)
        04 – Howard (1)
        05 – Paul (3), D. Williams (4)
        06 – None in top 5*
        07 – Durant (2)
        08 – Rose (1)
        09 – Griffin (1)
        10 – Wall (1)
        11 – to early to assess

        *Only once, in 06, was a franchise caliber player not selected in the top 5. However, Aldridge went #2 (definite all star) and Roy went #6 (demonstrated franchise talent pre knee issues).

        Unfortunately, most of the 03, 04, and 05 guys have not shown recent interest in staying w the team that drafted them, but, the only way the Nuggets will get one of these players is through the draft.

        While the odds of getting a franchise player are not great, the odds are much better inside the top 5 then later in the draft. And that is the key to seeing a championship.

  • dagus1976

    George Karl cannot get us to the promised land bretheren. It is not because he isn’t a good coach, or because he’s inept. It is because he doesn’t run a winning system. That’s because he doesn’t run a system at all. When the playoffs come and basketball slows down, the only thing that our team runs is isolation plays. Only now, we don’t have Carmelo who was fairly proficient.
    We need a coach that will run the triangle, or a pick and roll master (Sloan) that can actually get results in the playoffs. (Imagine the Heat with a real coach, and a real offensive system, instead of “Hey LeBron, go do your thing.”)
    NBA players, although some of the most gifted athletes in the world, will coast through most nights in a 82 (Or 66) game season. But when playoff time comes, the defensive intensity picks WAY up, and the only way to really be effective is to have a set of plays and system that you have ran ALL season long, that you can legitimately trust.
    I’m going to the practice tonight, and I will be shocked if they get drilled on a certain play. George can teach them how to play “the right way” but that holds very little water when crunch time comes.

    • Jack

      Sack George Karl is old, arrogant, stubborn and out of touch

  • Ernie

    This team was 18-7 after the trade last year which translates to 58+ wins and that is usually good for a top 3 seed. I don’t know if they keep that pace, (it’s unlikely, especially with some new parts), but I think we and the team deserve a chance to see if they can. If they start off 17-13 or worse and look ugly doing it (as opposed to a ton of injuries) they can always start trading away pieces for draft picks and go that route.

    • Charlie

      I would agree the Nuggets have some solid assets to make deals down the road. Frankly, I think deals have to made. There is a strange mix of young players who badly need experience, and old vets who are finishing up the last useful years of their career. I think the Nuggets need to pick a direction here and sacrifice one for the other. They certainly would have the assets to do so

  • FinazzAus

    Off the topic a bit. Is it just me or do we have to many players on the pay roll. League max is still 15 isn’t it. By my working out we have:
    Lawson, miller, stone
    Afflolo, Brewer, Hamilton
    Galli, fanandez, chandler (QO)
    Nene, Faired, Carroll
    Mozgov, Anderson, koufos

    And Harrington.
    That’s 16?
    Where I’m a going wrong?

    • Bryan

      Afflalo hasn’t signed yet. And I’m pretty sure the 15 limit is for when the season starts. I think you can have more in training camp.

      • FinazzAus

        Oh sorry I knew Afflolo hasnt yet. But all indercations are he will.
        Means we have to cut one in the next week. The logical one would be Harrington but they better hurry up.

        • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

          Chandler does not count. He is not under contract, Denver just owns his rights.

          • FinazzAus

            Ohhh makes sense. Thanks

  • Bryan

    Good post, Kalen. I think the “let’s suck, so that we can get a superstar” rebuild approach is flawed in the NBA because of the lottery system. Even if you’re the worst team in the NBA you might not get the first pick. I won’t even get into the suspicious nature of way things have tended to happen under Stern.

    Beyond that, you’re hitching your franchise hopes to some kid that is probably 19-20 years old. And who, if he actually turns out to be a superstar (statistically unlikely) he’ll probably want to leave for the bright lights of the big city in five years.

    The build around a superstar model obviously isn’t effective for a city like Denver. Especially, with the direction the NBA is going with superstars wanting to play with one another. If they’re going to win a championship, it’s going to have to be with a deep team with a lot of good players.

    I’m also not sure George Karl is the guy to lead the Nuggets to the promised land. I fear his ego and others coaching quirks (who needs in bounds plays?) will get in the way.

    • jr15

      @Bryan- that’s the reason we can’t win, not because of our talent level. This team should be very competitive this year and should be a contender next year if everyone develops.
      But I fear Karl’s failure to play rookies may prevent Faried and Hamilton from developing when they could be very good players.

  • Jack

    I agree with Jeremy that we don’t need pick 1 rather pick 7 or 8 for Quincy miller.

    I also agree that people claim to trust Masai Ujiri but don’t trust his drafting?

    THANKS KALEN i no longer want to visit this site cause you just don’t understand how the nba works, Jeremy knows what I mean.

    To say that Anthony Davis is only average is just ignorant and discrediting actual experts.

    How exactly are you are part of espns truehoop network????????

    • Kalen

      If you actually read what the experts said you’d know that Anthony Davis has a long ways to go before he ever becomes a superstar in the NBA. His offense is virtually non-existent and is essentially whatever lob pass he can collect from Kendall Marshall. As I said, he ain’t Hakeem Olajuwon or Tim Duncan.

      Also, did you not read what I said about trading up for a pick in the mid-lottery like Lamb? Miller certainly fits the bill too.

      It’s too bad you see things so black and white that you’re going to discontinue reading simply because I have a different opinion than you. That’s really too bad.

      • gk4prez

        I knew Marshall could distribute, but if he is playing in NC and hitting the lob pass to Davis at UK he is beyond superb and should be the target of the Nuggets in the next draft.

        • Kalen

          Haha, well played. My bad. Meant Teague or whoever else is sending the ball his way. Could you imagine Marshall and Davis though? Wow, what a combo that would be!

      • Jack

        Are you sure you know who Anthony Davis is? You aren’t thinking of John Henson are you?

        • Kalen

          Dude, let me tell you something. Henson has more offensive game right now that Davis. I know both players very well. Thank you. And congrats on the bet. I don’t know why in the world you would bet someone that you could get me to retaliate, that seems pretty easy and of course kind of weird too, but way to go. Maybe you can spend it on a Nuggets key-chain or something.

      • Jack

        Thanks kalen I just made $5 cause I made a bet with my friend that I could get you to retaliate within the hour to one of posts. Thanks for helping out another Denver fan. Great job with the blog btw :)

    • Jim

      What are you Nostradamus? The draft is a total crapshoot. Trying to pick the one guy that’s going to make it sounds more like betting on horses than knowing what the nba is about.

      I like that this site has people that are into shit and want to argue out more than one side.

      Whatever. I like that Steven Jackson quote a lot and I think everybody can agree this habit of nuggets losing in the first round of the playoffs sucks rocks. I tend to lay that almost all on Karl’s bs 6-7 man rotations and not personnel. It’s schizo for karl to say you want depth and you don’t need a superstar to compete and then revert to the same small rotation- superstar formula every time. Can Masai help with that?

    • Z

      I don’t nomally post negative things about posters, but it appears that you are just on here trying to pick a fight. The only posts you have on here are telling other posters how ignorant they are, or how they know nothing. I guess since you are god’s gift to basketball and are omniscient we should all stop having opinions and take what you have to say for gospel

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Charlie

    The only thing I would caution is not to be led blindly by a fear of the word rebuilding. I feel there is a strong contingent of fans who, upon hearing or seeing that word immediately reject every idea behind it.

    It’s dangerous to have such a narrow minded view about the realities of doing business in professional sports and also trying to win. Just because you are not afraid of the word rebuilding and the philosophy it entails it does not mean you are rooting for losses and hoping for a repeat of the 1990′s.

    When you allow yourself to be guided by fear, it encourages complacency with the idea that not changing direction and simply striving to make the playoffs is a “successful” and winning culture. The idea that rebuilding inevitably equates to a prolonged era of despair is a great example of using fear to convince yourself that any alternative is better than being mediocre, even for a short time.

    I will write more about how Denver can take the next step towards a championship and just because the Nuggets signed Nene it does not mean they are doomed to be a sub-par playoff team forever. What it does mean is that the Nuggets are far more likely to make greater and greater sacrifices in the name of short-term success.

    I’m pretty sure Jeremy and I have never advocated failure as the best path to a championship. Personally, I believe now is the time to make some sacrifices in the other direction and perhaps take the franchise on a radically different path where playoffs and winning now become a secondary priority to everything else. Mainly being young, taking less financial risk, being patient and 100% comfortable with the fact you are taking baby steps towards becoming championship caliber.

    There is no doubt that my argument could also be flawed. However I don’t think we should paint each other into two corners where this certain group cannot be called “true fans” if they don’t root for perpetual first round trips to the playoffs.

    Professional sports is a business and often you have to make unfair and unpopular decisions to reach the top. The reality of doing business in the NBA is that you cannot boil this down to Disney move idealism. I just can’t pretend that avoiding the big bad rebuild, praying real hard for wins, and taking my vitamins means the tooth fairy will drop a championship under my pillow in the middle of the night.

    • Kalen

      I agree about not painting fans into corners. If I sounded that way I apologize, because that was not my intention.

      Here’s my point: This Nuggets squad is in no position to rebuild. None. We are two-deep at every spot on the floor and have an incredible amount of assets at our disposal. To simply throw all of those away for the sake of rebuilding is franchise suicide and makes no sense whatsoever. If we had got trampled in the Melo trade and didn’t get anything in return and if Nene didn’t re-sign I’d be fully on board for rebuilding. But the fact of the matter is: That’s just not at all where were at.

      Trust me, I have always been one of the most vocal people in the Nuggets community about being displeased with Melo and Karl and their nonstop first-round exits. I actually think I’ve criticized them more than almost anybody and people who know me understand this. I’m on the same page as those who think first-round exits don’t equal success. But this is a totally different team. I honestly believe that if went a full season with this squad we could finish in the top four in the Western Conference. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But it’s worth a shot considering how well this team played down the stretch. If we get a top four seed, we’ll most likely win the first round since it will be against lesser competition, then after that, who knows what will happen? If we don’t however, and we get knocked out, then it’s simple: Trade Chandler, Harrington and our 1st rounder in an attempt to move into the Top 10. It’s that easy.

      • Ricardo

        I would rather trade Smith, Martin, and Chandler, when they come back from China, for more picks than trade a first-round draft pick away.

  • Desean

    I don’t care where Denver finish. 5th seed I will be happy. Lottery team I will be happy. Why am I so happy because Quincy miller is at the other end of the tunnel. Masai please do whatever you can to get this awesome talent.
    Thanks to Jeremy and Kalen for giving both sides of the story, hopefully someone can write the follow up piece “Why Quincy Miller is the next king of Denver” or hopefully the Andre Roberson of colorado will come out in the draft cause that dude can game as well (but not like the q mill but who can?)

  • Andrew

    Ha ha. Aside from this ongoing, colorful argument, does anyone have insight into whether the Nuggets are staying pat at this time? The previous word as that they were looking at Speise, but I was wondering why they didn’t make a play for Dalembert. He can man the Center position and bring in more boards than Spiese, right? Have they just decided to a) go with Moz as their starting Center, b) make Nene start at Center, or c) a little of both until the season starts and they can make a play for another Center?
    Just curious about this and was wondering what everyone else thought about it.
    Whatever happens, this is going to be a fascinating NBA season.

    • Michael (another aussie Nugz fan)

      Speights is off the table, we could’ve traded a 2nd round pick for him but our roster is full, besides re-signing AAA we are all but done for off season transactions.

      Dalembert is not coming to Denver, Moz and Koufos will be holding down the middle and after tonights scrimmage Kosta has put in a good show (24 points and 8 rebounds).

      For those doubting Rudy, he had 20 points and 10 assists, although he did take a lot of 3′s (6 of 11).

      I’m hoping to find a full box score or some footage of the scrimmage, for now there a reports on the Denver Post site and the Nuggets home page.

      • Andrew

        Hey, Michael, thanks for this response. I saw the later blog by Kalen where a bunch of people are saying Koufos is better than Moz. I hope Karl gives him a shot. I will add another comment on that later post.

  • Jeremy B.

    I would take Perry Jones before I took teammate Quincy Miller, based on pure upside. 6′ 11″ PF who can handle like a guard and has guard speed?! I know he’s got questions about his motor though… Some people were saying last year if he had come out he might’ve challenged Williams to be the second pick.

    • Desean

      Yeah if perry jones keeps it up he could go pick 2 whereas q mill is more likely in the 6-10 range, therefore more attainable

  • Ricardo

    Thanks, Kalen for this article. The only thing the nuggets need to do is re-sign Afflalo and the roster should be complete for, at least, the first-half of the season. I don’t know how the rotation is really going to look like, but the roster should look as follows:

    PG-Lawson, Miller, Stone
    SG-Afflalo, Fernandez
    SF-Gallinari, Hamilton, Brewer
    PF-Nene, Harrington, Faried, Carroll
    C-Mosgov, Anderson, Koufos

    This roster has some potential and depth. The nuggets just have to build from it, in the future, if they want to get to the next level.

  • Cody

    Where does Corey Brewer fit in? Will he be playing 2-3-4? or just for defensive purposes

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      I don’t know if he fits into the equation much to be honest. He can play the 2 and 3, not so sure about the 4, but he will probably be used sparingly considering we have players who are better than him at both those positions.

  • Cody

    Okay thats what i thought, whats the word on Afflalo?