The Mozgov mirage

Although only one game has been played so far this season and no conclusions of any kind have been drawn, it’s hard not to be skeptical about the legitimacy of Timofey Mozgov’s starting position with the Denver Nuggets. In 14 minutes of action on Monday, Mozgov finished with an abysmal one point on 0-1 shooting from the field to go with three rebounds and the lowest plus-minus of any starter. While he’ll obviously continue to develop as the season progresses, the fact that he’s still largely alienated from playing savvy, veteran basketball seems to go against coach George Karl’s philosophy of refusing to play rookies, or those who virtually are rookies, like Mozgov. Naturally, one can’t help but wonder, “Should Kosta Koufos be starting instead of Mozgov?”

For whatever reason, since Mozgov arrived in Denver he has received an almost unfair share of love from Nuggets fans. A 7-foot-1 frame had been lacking in the Mile High City for quite some time and given the way Mozgov’s unassuming Russian dough boy looks and demeanor came included, it was hard not to like the guy. But throughout the formation of his unofficial fan club, his actual skills on the basketball court seem to have largely gone unnoticed due to injuries and a lack of playing time.

Last season when Mozgov was still a member of the the run-and-gun New York Knicks, his minutes were limited despite the fact that New York was desperate for a legitimate starting center. Through the first 17 games of the 2010-11 season Mozgov saw an average of 12 minutes per game with small stints where he was granted upwards of 17-23 minutes per game. During this time Mozgov accumulated more than five rebounds only once and more than five points just three times. He also went scoreless on six different occasions and did not haul in a single rebound in four different games. After this steady dose of playing time without much production, Mozgov then saw his minutes virtually disappear until February when D’Antoni suddenly spiked them back up to 25 per game before being traded to the Nuggets. During this drastically increased amount of time Mozgov averaged nine points, 6.5 boards and one block per game with a 23-point, 14-rebound game against the Pistons on Jan. 30. Then, after being traded to the Nuggets in late February, Mozgov logged a total of  67 minutes in roughly two months, and in that span tallied six points or rebounds only once.

As for Kosta Koufos, he too received a small diet of time while with his prior team, the Minnesota Tiberwolves, before being traded to the Nuggets. For a large part of the year Koufos saw anywhere from about 3-13 minutes of playing time, although his DNPs were not nearly as numerous as Mozgov’s were in New York. Yet, on the rare occasion he saw more than 20 minutes per game he often did work on the glass averaging over eight rebounds to go with 1.3 blocks and six points per game. Finally, after being traded to the Nuggets in late February, Koufos saw a three-game stretch near the end of the season where Karl blessed the young center with an average of 21 minutes per contest during which he averaged 14 points on .750 shooting from the field along with seven rebounds per game — numbers clearly superior to Mozgov’s given similar circumstances and playing time.

But small sample sizes aside, when looking at both Mozgov and Koufos’ numbers over an entire season, Koufos again comes out on top. For example, per 40 minutes last year Koufos averaged 14.7 points and 12 rebounds while Mozgov only managed 12.4 points and 9.2 rebounds respectively. Furthermore, Koufos had a higher usage rate of 22.2 compared to Mozgov’s 16.1, and a higher rebounding rate of 16.8 as apposed to Mozgov’s 13.2. A statistic many NBA fans are familiar with by now is John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating, also known as “PER,” which Koufos again reigned supreme in by scoring a 12.65 in contrast to Mozgov’s 10.85.

Yet when all the numbers are dissected, even with solid evidence pointing towards Koufos being the better player — statistically speaking — there’s still the common sense, or “eye test” judgments that heavily favor Koufos as well. Like age for example, where Koufos is three years younger than the 25-year-old Mozgov, meaning more possible room for improvement. Then there’s the weight department where Koufos is 15 pounds heavier than Mozgov, despite being an inch shorter, which clearly equals a more solid foundation of muscle. But most importantly, Koufos has a more convincing background, as he was born and bred where the best basketball in the world is played on a daily basis. Of course, this isn’t to say that great basketball is nonexistent in Russia, but rather that growing up in America you’re likely more surrounded by the game and given more opportunities to peruse your passion with the best advice from former professionals. In all likelihood this was the case when a young Koufos attended the prestigious Ohio State University where upon after only one year he declared for the NBA Draft and was drafted 23rd overall by the Utah Jazz in the first round. He’s since played four years in the league, and while he hasn’t come close to living up to the expectations placed on him by his draft position, the fact remains that four years of NBA experience always tops one. Mozgov on the other hand wasn’t even drafted and has only played in Russia throughout his professional career, unlike many top flight foreign prospects who often come from Spain.

Entering only his second year in the league after playing sparingly his first season with the Knicks and Nuggets, Mozgov is raw, inexperienced and has yet to show the types of flashes Koufos has when given ample playing time. Though it’s still early and Mozgov deserves a chance to showcase his abilities, Karl cannot become complacent with just a big body down low in order to appease Nene and his desire to play power forward. If Karl continues to inexplicably shun Faried and Mozgov does not take the necessary steps to becoming a threat — and not just a place filler — down low, then Koufos should be next in line when it comes to getting a shot at the starting center position. However, given the evidence presented above an argument for Koufos deserving the starting spot right now doesn’t seem too far fetched. In fact, one of the largest, most uncovered storylines of the 2011-12 Denver Nuggets campaign might very well be the mystery revolving around why Mozgov is so popular, yet so unproven, all the while Koufos remains more experienced, skilled and ready to actually start at center in the NBA.

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.
  • allen

    Really this is so stupid. You are basically saying mozgov shoudn’t be the starting after 1 game on the season. This season might be when both koufos and mozgov get significant minutes, why not wait at least 10 – 15 games then post your stupid opinion. We fans like mozgov beacuse at times he has shown that he could be a good player, he can block, he’s very active, sets a lot of good picks and he can shoot, I bet he has better range than koufos. I remember a game vs the lakers last year on mational tv where mozgov played really well, even the commentators said he shoud be a starter in this league and george karl said mozgov should be a starter in 3 or 4 years but his time came sooner.. But I guess you know more than george karl with all those numers that dont mean nothing.. I bet those numbers speak better of koufos than mozgov because he played more garbage minutes in which he could put some numbers up. I think koufos is a good back up center, but not a starter or that he is better than mozgov… I think kalen is wrong, and he’ll problably eat his words as the season goes along.

    • Bryan

      You know I know didn’t see any Morehead State games and after reading this guy absolutely gush about Faried I had very high expectations. And after seeing the preseason he was a horrible disappointment. For those that didn’t see, Hakeem Warrick looked like Lebron when Faried was guarding him (and I use the term guarding loosely). Seeing this guy still clamor for Faried and throw another big man under the bus after one game makes me seriously question his basketball accumen.

      For starters, the statistical analysis is worthless. Who is more likely to have better stats the guy starting for the Knicks against Dwight Howard or the guy playing the entire 4th qtr against scrubs because the T-Wolves are getting blown out?

      The baseless speculation about their background is obviously baseless, so shouldn’t have been included. It’s also an uncomfortable flirtation with racism. What country you come from shouldn’t matter when evaluating if a guy can play. I’m also pretty sure the Gasol brothers are the only NBA big man stars from Spain. And it took Marc a few years to develop. So I’m not sure were that tangent came from.

      Finally, as one of the more sophisticated bloggers on thus site pointed out to a commenter yesterday, there is more to basketball than the stat sheet shows. For instance, while it’s somewhat disappointing if you’re big man isn’t dominating the glass, if he’s preventing their big from getting offensive rebounds and easy baskets, he’s doing a good job. Also, how you work in the offensive system is important. Mozgov runs the pick and roll well. Also, because Mozgov is more athletic (and less stocky) he runs better than Koufous. Which is important to a guy like Karl.

      Mozgov has a long way to go but he’s shown sparks of potential to build on which makes burying him after one game pretty absurd.

      • Brad H.

        Whoa, Allen, pipe down about the racism allusion. Russian, Greek, American . . . These are not races, they’re nationalities. Maybe Kalen was dangerously close to sounding like a bigoted American, but certainly not a racist. Kalen, really, neither I nor anyone else read your very well researched comments as racist or bigoted . . . (well, apparently Allen did). Nice homework, man. I’ve got concerns about Timo, as I’ve posted earlier this week. Actually, GK has confidence in both of these semi-Talented stiffs, and both will see good minutes this year. It is fun coming to this blog this year and reading rabid Nugs fans get more feisty about players’ minutes than the players themselves do. Seriously, it’s gonna be a blast this year with this crazy deep bench, and no one’s enjoying it more than George.

        • Brad H.

          My apologies, Allen, the racist allusion was Bryan’s, not yours. Please forgive me.

        • Bryan

          Race can and is defined more narrowly than you are using it, check the dictionary: See e.g. “any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc.: the Dutch race.”

          Although this is hardly relevant to my criticism that it is stupid to look at what country one comes from when projecting whether or not they’re going to be successful.

          • Dan

            Really? It’s racist to say that a guy likely got better exposure and training playing basketball in American than in Russia where the game is not nearly as popular as, say, hockey or even probably soccer. Would it be racist to say an American kid would benefit from training in soccer by going to England or Spain because they know the game better there. I hate that accusations of racism are thrown around so lightly without thought.

            • Bryan

              That’s not what he said. He used Mozgov’s place of origin and unsubstantiated speculation about his background to discredit as compared to big men from Spain and America (there are more American trained scrubs than studs btw). This is as stupid today as it was yesterday.

              • Dan

                Let’s throw in some direct quotes here: “But most importantly, Koufos has a more convincing background, as he was born and bred where the best basketball in the world is played on a daily basis. Of course, this isn’t to say that great basketball is nonexistent in Russia, but rather that growing up in America you’re likely more surrounded by the game and given more opportunities to peruse (sic) your passion with the best advice from former professionals.”

                My God the racism! Koufos likely (operative word) got better exposure to the game than Mozgov playing in the US than in Russia. This is no different, as I stated above, then an soccer player benefitting from training in England or Spain rather than the USA and that is not a racist statement in the least.

                Let’s continue: “He’s since played four years in the league, and while he hasn’t come close to living up to the expectations placed on him by his draft position, the fact remains that four years of NBA experience always tops one. Mozgov on the other hand wasn’t even drafted and has only played in Russia throughout his professional career, unlike many top flight foreign prospects who often come from Spain.”

                So, four years of NBA experience outweighs Russian professional basketball and one year of NBA experience. My God, look at all that racism dripping from these statements!

                The reference to Spain is because it is arguably the second best professional league in the world and that Spanish international players do get better exposure to top-quality basketball training than those who play in other leagues. Once again, look at all that racism.

                You might disagree with the sentiment that Koufos’ basketball training and background necessarily dictates that he is more deserving of the starting role. In fact, this would actually likely imply that Mozgov has greater potential, particularly when given NBA-level training. The fact that Koufos hasn’t lived up to expectations should be the major red flag. But none of this is even mildly broaching on racism.

              • Dan

                By the way, if Mozgov had been born in Russia but raised and trained in basketball in the USA, these types of arguments would not have been made. In fact, Koufos is Greek in origin, but nowhere was that information used in the argument. If his intent was to make an argument about the man’s race, you would think that Koufos’ Greek origin would not have been ignored.

                If anything, it’s an indictment on the quality of basketball in Russia, which is not only not racism, it’s likely true.

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      Allen,

      First of all, thanks for reading the blog and posting your opinion. As for Mozgov, I’ll be more than happy to eat my words. I want him to prove me wrong. At the end of the day, we’re both Nuggets fans and all we want is for the Nuggets to succeed. My whole point in this article wasn’t to bash Mozgov, and I apologize if it sounded that way. However, I’ve watched both Mozgov and Koufos extensively so this isn’t a reaction to one single game. This is a compilation of many games in which, from my point of view, Koufos seems a bit more advanced. I simply was trying to bring to a different perspective and argument to the table, and nothing more. Again, thanks for stopping by! — Kalen

      • Neal

        You shouldn’t be appologizing Kalen. Allen obviously didn’t read your post very carefully and missed the part about this being an ongoing evaluation, not a knee jerk reaction. Honestly, if you have watched all the games those two have played, I don’t see how you could say Moz is more deserving. When given equal opportunities, I have always felt that Koufus outshined Moz. Moz is huge, but as you netioned, he just seems farther off in terms of development and basketball IQ. Koufus looks real goofy but is very skilled for a big man. I think Moz will get better, but with the body of work that these two have in the NBA and with the nugs, I think Koufus should be getting at least as much time as Moz if not more. I feel like we have a lot of high IQ basketball players that Koufus fits well with, whereas the clumsiness of Moz kind of sticks out like a sore thumb.

    • Lil Rik

      wow, fairly direct, but I have to say I agree with your assessment of Mozgov (allen). Time will tell. I think he will develop nicely. All stats aside – he’s doing something right because George is starting him and they have won the first 2 games.

  • Ryan

    I suspect that the Nuggets starting center when the playoffs roll around isn’t on the team yet. Maybe Okafor or Kaman from the Hornets?

    • ???

      Dwight!!

  • steve

    allen, its just a write-up man lol. I do agree some what with Kalen. THe body of work so far in the NBA shows Koufos is better AND younger. I’m not saying Mozgov is crap but he has shown that he’s very vulnerable out there. Yes he has had a decent game here or there but very inconsistant. Koufos is steadier and isnt as much of a hacker as Mozgov is it seems. Im for whoever is playing better at the time. If neither succeed by midseason, well, you move nene back to C and bring in Faried or Al to start at 4 or you make a trade. I could easily see us landing Kaman for cheap.

    • Bryan

      I’m not sure anything from the Hornets will come cheap as long as its owned by the NBA. I also don’t think he’s very good. He’s an offensive minded center that likes to shoot and doesn’t play very good D.

      The Nuggets have plenty of offensive firepower. They need a solid defensive minded center to make things tough for the opposing teams big man and players that want to drive the lane.

  • Couttsy20

    Hey, Allen – relax. Everyone is entitled to an opinion – quite obviously that includes yourself and Kalen.

    I actually agree with Kalen. Both Mozgov and Koufos need to learn to keep out of foul trouble, but both are raw talents. I simply believe that Koufos is the better one. Mozgov might prove me wrong – but that’s the joy of being a fan and being entitled to have an opinion.

    So chill.

  • Daniel

    Yeah man, relax. He’s not just throwing his opinion out there randomly, he’s backing it all up with statistical evidence. I happen to agree with him. Last year when we were blowing teams out every night I always liked what I saw from Koufos better than what I saw from Moz. The good thing about this season though is we have 13 roster spots until March and with the crazy condensed schedule, we’ll get to see a lot of both of these guys this season.

    Either way we have two young promising 7 footers, something very few teams in the league can say.

    Nice write-up Kalen, looking forward to a nuggets route tonight, have a good day everyone.

  • Aurress20

    Karl said the first few weeks of the season will still be like a training camp for the Nuggets. Although Karl may be too stubborn to shuffle the starting line-up in this time, I can only speculate and guess that we will see some roller coaster minutes for the big men off the bench. Meaning we’ll see a night where Koufos gets close to 20 minutes. Then Birdman with close to 20, then Harrington, and so on… until Karl decides upon a solid rotation & picks a starter that will be there in the playoffs.

  • magster

    Didn’t Mozgov play very well in Europe this summer? I thought I had heard that his play over the summer played a role in why Mozgov is elevated

  • Ray

    It’s okay to react to this article, but let’s not jump on Kalen for his opinion. I happen to disagree to an extent, but that’s not the point. Let’s be respectful now.

    I think the body of work on both guys is noisy at best, and it’s too early to tell what will work best for the NUggets. As some have said, both bigs will get plenty of burn throughout the season, and we won’t know much until the units begin to gel.

    Let’s not forget that the Nuggets are swimming in assets, and could quite easily get a more significant big later in the season. One thing is for certain–I have 100% faith in our GM right now, which is more than I can say for most teams.

  • troyf

    I think the “Warrick looked like Lebron” thing is a little overplayed at this point. Faried played Warrick for over 14 consecutive minutes.

    During the first 12 minutes of that time, Faried outscored Warrick 10-6, outrebounded Warrick 4-1 and was by far the better player. Then with about 3 minutes left in the game, Warrick hit a 19 footer and a 21 footer back to back. Those are the kinds of shots Warrick usually can’t hit. He does and by the end of the game,it shows that Warrick had 10 points in his 14 minutes against Faried. (Faried still outscored him by 4 and outrebounded him by 4 during this 14 minutes stretch)

    So what we have is a six year NBA veteran who is fighting like hell for playing time going against a kid who is playing his first NBA game and the kid still beats him in every statistical category. If you want to keep spinning this as though Warrick was Lebronesque, go ahead, but I was fairly impressed.

    That said, I’m not unhappy Faried isn’t getting minutes yet. Let him earn those minutes. I just hope it doesn’t evolve into a situation where guys like Anthony Carter and Raymond Felton are taking away minutes from Ty Lawson.

    If Bird, Al or Mosgov struggle, they need to be on the bench. FWIW, Mosgov has never really impressed me. I’m still hoping I’m wrong, but he looked very poor in the Dallas game. It was 16-15 Nuggets when Mosgov left. 4 minutes later the quarter ended with the Nuggets up 32-23. The offense seems to flow better when Mozgov isn’t in there and I don’t see enough on defense to think he should be playing. I hope he proves me wrong, but I agree with Charlie as of right now.

    • Charlie

      Great points, and for clarification this is Kalen’s article not mine. I share your viewpoint about Faried and honestly, I don’t get all the panic. I think Faried deserves a shot but probably needs some fundamental work when it comes to team defense. It’s been one game and I explained in my earlier post why he’ll get DNP’s when everyone is 100% healthy and rested. When the Nuggets decided to splurge for a contender this summer they basically put the rookie development on hold and everyone should understand that. We need to have patience plain and simple.

      I appreciate Kalen’s article although I disagree with Koufos starting. Everyone’s being a little too harsh on Mozgov based on nothing right now. He earned the job in camp and he is more capable of being part of a good team defense and that’s why he’s starting. It’s no different than what Karl has done with defensive starters in the past.

      On one hand, neither one of these guys is polished, but Koufos has had 3 years and done nothing with his career while Mozgov is adjusting and started for the Knicks. The numbers suggest neither of these guys is a legit starting talent right now. I have to wonder how many teams would start Koufos if they had him on the roster and I think the answer is probably zero.

      • Lil Rik

        nicely put Charlie. I think Mozgov has been a bit unfairly criticized as well – lets see what this guy can do on a new team, in a new system, under a new coach, as a relatively inexperienced player. He has a lot of room to learn and we will se what that brings.

  • chronicnugs

    I think Koufos just looks like a better player. He’s younger, approximately the same size, appears more athletic, equal of better ball IQ, and seems to have a better motor.

    I don’t give a damn about statistical analysis. Couldn’t care less about Holinger and efficiency blah blah. Statistics don’t define the player. They tell part of the story but never the whole story and they are produced after the fact. Fans of the game can just tell if a player contributes to winning.

    I happen to think that both players can contribute on this team, but I would concur that Kosta should probably be receiving more minutes the Tinafey. Like coach Karl, I don’t really care who starts.

    • chronicnugs

      Also, people need to calm down about Faired. I’m intrigued but damn guys. Give it a rest. Check back this time next year. If he’s still not playing we might have an issue. He isn’t the first 20something pick in the draft to ride pine. He’s also on a rock solid, deep playoff team. Little perspective here fellas.

      • Lil Rik

        agreed about Faried! I’m really excited about the guy, but he is also very young and raw right now – he will get his fair share of mop up minutes to earn his keep. Welcome to the NBA…

    • Charlie

      Well, for what it’s worth both of these guys are at different stages in their career. I think there are room for both of them to contribute. It’s tough to say you can rely on either player which is why the starting Center job isn’t what it is for other teams.

      I honestly like both players. Right now I think Mozgov moves a little bit better for a big guy and probably won the job with his ability to play outside the paint and guard the pick and roll more effectively.

  • chronicnugs

    I wasn’t at the Phoenix game, but some buddies of mine were. They said he looked absolutely lost. Talented, but lost. Guy just needs some time to get comfortable with the pro game. Let’s show some patience before we kick off another George Karl witch hunt.

  • Omar

    the real problem should be birdman. how does he get 20+ minutes a game, he is horrible. koufos and mozzy should split minutes, end of discussion.

    • Brad H.

      Bird, horrible? Please.

    • Jmo

      Agreed 1000000%…. Bird is horrible, pump fake him and you score EVERY time, has no clue on offense or how to play team defense. Split his minutes between Moz and Koufos

      • Lil Rik

        Ouch, no love lost for Bird, eh? I will agree that he needs to make a statement this year and prove that he deserves the minutes over the younger guys.

  • http://www.herbalremediesworld.com/index.html sgiustra

    Cant believe a write up on Moz’s “deficiencies” after one game.

    Going by one game, the Nuggets are THE greatest team of all time

    Koufas is not athletic enough to be a viable NBA Center which is why there is no upside. Dont believe the hype about his jumping. At no point in any game has KK shown ability to jump or run. He is big and flabby. He has decent skills at best.

    Moz has often showed impressive glimpses, is raw and has already impacted games. Like against the Lakers.

    Check out some Moz highlights on youTube and contrast vs KK highlights. No comparison.

    • MaxRH

      everyone who thinks kosta is not athletic and has no range are just plain wrong. im a diehard nuggets fan as well as a buckeyes fan and i can tell you this guy has got some serious skills. i was so excited when he was thrown into the melo trade because of all the potential he showed during his one year at OSU. he is a classic case of a guy who came out to early which hurt his chances of succeding right away. since getting to the league this guy has never had a bad attitude about not getting playing time and has just focused on getting stronger and working on his game… and oh yeah the guy is only 22!!!

      these are the youtube videos you need to see – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTeI6WsA7G0
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct5iP0Mgm0g

      • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

        Thanks for those videos Max. I agree entirely about Koufos coming out too early. He would have benefited greatly from at least another year in college and likely would have improved his draft stock as well. People don’t realize how good of a shooter he is too. He went .350 from beyond the arc in college which is pretty solid for a guy his size. Bottom line: He’s shown a lot of skill throughout his career that Mozgov hasn’t quite yet.

        • magster

          The youtube video of Koufos’ Golden State game was impressive too (except where he elbowed K-Mart in the bridge of the nose trying to high five him).

  • CCH

    Watching the George Karl show they were saying Koufos is a great shooter with 3 point range.Thought I’d throw that out there.

  • allen

    My bad, I shoudn’t have been so rough. Im just a passionate nuggets fan and it doesn’t make sense to me to see this after 1 game and with numbers that don’t mean anything. Why not write about how gnuggets andre and ty

  • allen

    My bad, I shoudn’t have been so rough. Im just a passionate nuggets fan and it doesn’t make sense to me to see this after 1 game and with numbers that don’t mean anything. Why not write about how good nuggets looked with ty and andre or something like that.

  • Chuck

    IMO with the current make up of the team the Center position needs to be competent defensively! Offense is going to be fine regardless of who is playing center and is actually probably improved with the changes the coaching staff has made in that it improves the team concept and fluidity of the offense. Moz or Koufos is irrelevant with depth of talented scoters and shooter at the other 4 positions!

  • Keith

    Wow, Kalen. You woke me up with this post. Good supporting argument. It brings up the question: Is Moz a stiff? Sorry to reference your competition blog. It was painful watching him shuffle around against the Mavs. Shades of Priest Lauderdale and other whales who never made it in the league.

    George does not like to lose and will show no patience with this veritable rookie. For what it’s worth, Koufos seems to have better footwork and seems more athletic than Moz, which isn’t saying much. Nene is basically our center.

  • http://www.chazkemp.com Chaz

    I agree with the above posts that it’s only one game with hardly any training camp and 2 pre-season games. To be honest, what I got from Moz watching him against Dallas was that he was nervous. That seems understandable.

    Let’s wait and see how well he performs after about 10 games. KK too, for that matter.

    Bird, on the other hand, looked really bad. He didn’t seem to do much for us last year and I’m not really impressed. Do you guys think he’s getting old, just out of shape or is he really not that good?

  • Keith

    Bird has terrible fundamentals, is not that smart, relies on being tall and jumping ability and to be fair, relative quickness for a big man. He gives up his position to everyone, trying for the block, leaving his guy open for the follow. There’s a lot of talk that Bird is now on the way down. We’ll see halfway through the season. His fundamentals are so bad, he’s bound to land on ankles, feet, of other players from taking all those bad angles. Plus he is so skinny, everyone in the league pushes him aside like he was a rag doll. Not much of a player, really.

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      I agree that Bird’s fundamentals are awful. I think he’s way too focused on making a big-time block or dunk rather than just defending well. That said, I’ve always liked Birdman as a bench player because he can definitely provide a spark when energy is nowhere to be found. Although I wouldn’t mind seeing Koufos get a few of his minutes just to see what happens.

  • Keith

    And obviously Coach Karl has nothing to prove in this league in regards to his skills as a head coach, but just for once it would be nice to see a middle clogger on a Nuggets team.

  • evan

    All in all, we have 3 shitty centers.

  • Evan

    Based on what I’ve seen I would start Mosgov everytime. Last year against the Lakers he came in and played great. Scored like 8 points and had a great and 1 that turned the game around. In one of the preseason games against the suns I noticed Koufus continually get scored on and fumble rebounds. Just on what I’ve seen I’m starting Mozgov.

  • Isaac

    I would have to say it is too early to tell where we are at in regards to our center position. In my opinion we should just have Big Al, Manimal, and Nene grabbing most of the big minutes with doses of KK Moz and God forbid Birdman picks up any meaningful minutes.

  • AussieNuggsFan2

    i would rather have hasheem thabeet starting at center. he has so much more potential than either of these guys and would come at a cheap price trade wise.

    • Lil Rik

      Ummmm….. Thabeet’s offensive game is about as developed as a a high school freshman’s. He’s still the same guy that got OWNED by Dejuan Blair on both sides of the court in college

  • Jason

    This will be an ongoing debate all season, most likely. The good news is I think by the end of the year we will have a better idea of who the superior player is. Althought is quite possible they both turn out to be about equal.

    But I definitely agree with the contingent that says its too early to form conclusions. You cannot base what limited minutes both players have played for other teams in past years as any indication of who the better player is. Some of those teams were bad teams, or badly coached teams, and circumstances are different.

    I do like Koufos, and he seems to be a bit more polished offensively…though Mozgov has a better jumper from what I have seen. But defensively, I think Mozgov is better.

    Either way, it is apparent that Karl must feel Mozgov is the better option, as he is choosing to start Mozzy instead of Koufos.

    I truly think this is something we cannot answer until MORE data is available.

  • Lil Rik

    What a horrible position we are in. Nothing better to worry about than which young 7-footer with potential should get the most minutes!

    P.S. GOOD RIDDANCE to Melo, J.R. and Kenyon. I don’t care how good Kenyon’s defense was – I believe this team can compensate for that. Plus, all 3 of those guys were CLASSLESS. So long Thuggets!

  • Rog

    Tonight we got 18 minutes from Mozgov and Anderson combined. For a team that’s supposed to be so deep I don’t understand why we didn’t play Koufos. Mozgov was in foul trouble, we played back to back nights and Koufos sits on the bench? If Koufos can’t play in this type of game I don’t know that he’ll ever get meaningful minutes. We played small ball and got killed on the boards.