On Tuesday, the Denver Nuggets played its first preseason game (that wasn’t a “scrimmage”) of the 2011-12 NBA season against the Phoenix Suns. The Nuggets came out on top 127-110 behind Ty Lawson’s game-high 21 points and Andre Miller’s game-high 12 assists. Though the game inexplicably wasn’t aired on Altitude, there was still enough online reaction from those who made it Pepsi Center to form a solid consensus of what occurred.
First, before we delve into the hard news I’d like to chime in on a topic that has continuously snowballed since the season got underway: respect.
I feel like I don’t even have to tell you, the readers, how much we appreciate and love you guys, because you should already know this. You are the very reason we spend countless hours of our own free time researching, studying and analyzing the Denver Nuggets. Without you guys, we wouldn’t be here. So, naturally, we care about what you think and post in the comments section. Every time we put up a new article we encourage you to give feedback because we want to hear from you, and though for the most part we take great joy in reading your responses, occasionally we have difficulty swallowing some of the more derogatory statements.
Let me just say this: There’s a difference between being critical, constructive and helpful and being flat-out disrespectful. We understand the rights you maintain under the First Amendment, and hope that you exercise these to your fullest abilities (we sure do!), all we ask is that you please respect the opinions of our writers, your fellow fans and members of the local (and national) media when giving feedback. Nobody is saying you can’t blast someone for being what you perceive as dead wrong, but please do so in a respectful manner. Telling us our blog sucks accomplishes nothing. Telling your fellow fans that they’re morons for thinking a certain way, also achieves nothing. The bottom line: This is a blog that aims to discuss and analyze all sides of a given issue. What this blog is not, is a platform for debating who’s wrong and who’s right then chastising those who may see things differently than you.
I hope you understand. The last thing we want to do is patrol our comments section like watchdogs all because a simple difference in opinion has a few people up in arms. We trust you guys. We know you are all intelligent human beings fully capable of composing compelling comments (how’s that for alliteration?). All we’re asking for is a little cooperation. Because remember, at the end of the day, we’re all here for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to see the Denver Nuggets succeed.
(And now on to the good stuff.)
As I tweeted earlier, the 2011-12 Pro Basketball Prospectus has officially been released in PDF format and features a paragraph by yours truly about Ty Lawson’s underrated shooting abilities in the Denver Nuggets chapter. Jeremy has been featured in past editions but was kind enough to let me make my mark this year. For those unaware, Basketball Prospectus is essentially a numerical and analytical bible of basketball released annually that recaps the NBA’s previous season and discusses each team’s present and future outlook at length. This is a book utilized by top-ranking NBA executives across the league and is an absolute must-have for hardcore NBA fans everywhere. As Houston Rockets general manager, Daryl Morey, who has been known as a trailblazer for utilizing different analytical methods during his tenure puts it, “Anyone who reads what Brad and Kevin have put together cannot help but come out a smarter fan on the other end. Basically, if you consider yourself a basketball fan and you are not reading this book, then you ought to turn in your serious fan credentials.”
As for Tuesday’s game, here is the box-score and some highlights as well. Because I didn’t get to see the game it’s hard to project who exactly made an impact and who didn’t, although judging by Twitter and the box-score, Faried again operated the entire night in “Beast Mode” while Julyan Stone continued to gain fans with his unique style of play. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Ty Lawson led all scorers with 21 points on 6-11 from the field (2-4 from downtown) in 25 minutes of action. Nuggets.com’s Arron Lopez stated several different times on his Twitter account that Lawson looked excellent, and I’ll happily take his word for it. Mozgov finished with seven points, seven rebounds and four personal fouls in 21 minutes of action, while going 1-5 from the line in the process. In addition to his 12 assists, Andre Miller snagged four steals and a block to go with his eight points in nearly 30 minutes of action. Clearly however, Faried is the name that stands out most when analyzing the results, as not only did he have the best highlight reel of any Nugget, but his 14-point, six-rebound performance was only compiled in the second half! If he keeps those numbers up and averages starter minutes (around 30 per game), he’d be on pace for 28 points and 12 rebounds, which again makes Karl’s claim that Faried won’t be seeing many minutes this year all the more mind-boggling.
Which is kind of funny.
Because on a recent radio interview with 104.3 The Fan, Karl stated how Rudy Fernandez is J.R. Smith “without the insanity.” As we all know, there’s nothing quite like throwing a former player under the bus, although to be fair, Karl didn’t necessarily hesitate to do this even when J.R. was with Nuggets. All I can say is that if you continue to substitute minutes that should be going to Faried and dish them out to guys like Harrington, Koufos and Mozgov, then you simply have no room to talk about who the “insane” one is, especially when you’ve shown no inclination to easing up on the two-point guard lineup.
To further corroborate my point, our friends and authors of the aforementioned Basketball Prospectus, Kevin Pelton and Bradford Doolittle, had this to say regarding Faried in a recent Insider article they constructed for ESPN: “”When adjusted for strength of schedule, Faried’s translated NCAA statistics suggest he’s as ready to contribute as any other rookie in the league.” Yes, the very guys who write an annual novel that NBA general managers and executives fully endorse, are saying Faried is as ready as ANY rookie to contribute in the NBA this season, yet Karl is still hung up on the “rookie” label.
In other Insider news, John Hollinger has picked the Denver Nuggets to finish second in the Western Conference with a 42-22 record by the end of the year. Hollinger echos my points that youth, altitude, depth and a shortened season will greatly benefit the Nuggets when it comes to winning basketball games in 2012.
And for those who missed it, here’s the audio from Afflalo’s press conference, as well as a short video in which Masai Ujiri once again displays a healthy amount of wit when signing one of his players to a very lucrative contract.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting Kenyon Martin has been released from the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. However, because of rules set forth by the CBA, Martin cannot return to the NBA until the team’s season officially ends sometime in February or March. Martin is an unrestricted free agent and will likely chose to sign with a title contender given his age and deteriorating body, although considering the magic Masai has worked in recent weeks I wouldn’t necessarily be shocked to see Martin return to Denver. As is pointed out in the article, this may set a precedent for J.R. Smith ans Wilson Chandler.
On a lighter note, the Nuggets will reportedly be wearing throwbacks this season! I know Denver fans have been begging for the Nuggets to don its early uniforms for years to no avail (thanks in large part to Carmelo Anthony who refused to wear them), but it appears this trend will finally be snapped this season. The NBA has disallowed the public to view the uniforms for now, but according to ESPN’s Paul Lukas, “Uni Watch has seen the design and can confirm that it’s a beauty.” Let’s hope the ’80s skyline unis are back for good!