Is There Reason to be Concerned About the Denver Nuggets?

The Denver Nuggets are 6-4, they have a projected Pythagorean record, expected wins based on point differential, of 46-20 which is equivalent to a 57 win season.  They have been atop the league in defensive efficiency and feature possibly the deepest roster in the NBA.

That all sounds great, but if you have spent any time on this site you probably expect I am about to rain on the parade.  The truth is, buckle your seatbelts, I believe there are reasons to be concerned.

Frist of all, the Nuggets are not a good defensive team.  As the Spurs and Hornets have shown Denver’s defensive front can be broken down rather easily by teams who take care of the ball and run any semblance of an offense.  The Spurs especially, playing without their best offensive player in Manu Ginobili, ripped Denver apart as they simply changed their approach based on what Denver was doing.

In the first half the Spurs ran a lot of pick and roll action and the result was numerous easy baskets in the lane. When Denver altered their approach to switching nearly every pick outside the paint San Antonio simply started running their guards off of screens away from the ball which created space to shoot from the perimeter as well as gaping lanes to drive.  The combination of the Spurs’ adjustment to Denver’s adjustment and the Nuggets’ complete lack of cohesion resulted in a career night for Danny Green.

Tonight the Hornets were able to score any way they chose to.  Chris Kaman and Carl Landry dominated the lane while the Hornets guards took turns making open jumpers.  It was the most shocking home loss I can remember.  Most stunning of all was the complete lack of emotion.  The players were flat and the crowd, possibly realizing they were not going to see anything remotely as exciting as what they witnessed at Mile High the previous day was docile.  The largest cheer was reserved for Rocky bedazzled in the predominantly orange number 15 splashing his half-court shot directly after Tebowing.

The easy excuse is after what is probably the second toughest stretch of games all season long Denver lost focus after their day off and they clearly did not respect New Orleans. It is just one game.

I do not think it is that simple.  It is becoming more and more apparent that Denver’s depth is as much of a problem as it is a blessing.  George Karl has his rotation set to start each half; however, it is clear that he does not have a grasp on what to do after that.  The truth is, it is not his fault.  He has 11 or 12 players who deserve playing time.  They have all had their moments to start the season, how does he know heading into the game if Timofey Mozgov is going to play well, or if Koufos is going to be the one who should be on the court?  Rudy Fernandez has been very erratic as has fellow veteran Andre Miller.  Chris “Birdman” Andersen is playing the worst ball of his career, but is it just a phase or at the age of 33 and having going through some hard living is he really washed up?  Will Corey Brewer’s energy prove to be a sparkplug or will he just run all over like a spaz?

Karl does not seem to have an answer for the club’s defensive woes either. After jumping back to his switching scheme against the Spurs it was the predominant tactic for defending the screen against New Orleans.  The difference is now instead of switching a highly mobile and motivated Kenyon Martin onto a guard; Denver ends up with Danilo Gallinari struggling to keep up.

Gallinari is also getting miscast as a power forward as Karl struggles to find answers by employing his small ball lineups.  Gallo was abused in San Antonio by the monstrous DeJuan Blair (I hope Denver put the $2.5 million they made for selling their second round pick two years ago when the could have drafted Blair to good use) and tonight by Kaman, Landry and Emeka Okafor.

The Nuggets are going to make the playoffs, they will probably be in the mix for home court advantage in the first round.  Even so I continue to believe that my assessment of this team is accurate.  They are deep, but the attempts to rebuild last year’s post-trade juggernaut fell short primarily because there is no way this team could match the intensity and unselfishness of that group.  They do not have that massive chip on their shoulder and are not fighting every night to prove their value to the league.

Defensively, the glowing numbers were as much a product of playing shaky offensive teams than a result of Denver possessing a solid half-court defense.  Dallas was a complete mess when Denver played them, as was Utah, who had played horribly the night before in LA.  Milwaukee is a sluggish offensive team, as is the passing adverse Kings.  The only team with an offense safely in the top half of the league Denver has faced is the Spurs and we already detailed what happened in that game.  If the Nuggets are going to depend on mountains of steals and teams missing 80% of their three pointers, it will be a long season.

While the offensive numbers are more stable, I do not like what I see on that end either.  Denver is slowly grinding to a halt in the half-court.  There is more and more standing while players take turns trying to drive to the hoop, or even worse, settling for long twos.  The constant motion is gone as is the determined pick and roll after pick and roll that were the signature of last season’s dominant offensive team.

I only see one way to resolve these issues.  George Karl is going to have to shorten his rotation, play more conventional lineups and hope that over time the defense learns how to cohesively help and rotate to cover for one another.  Stick to a starting lineup of Ty Lawson, Afflalo, Gallo, Nene and Mozgov or Koufos (at this point I would go with Koufos, but I am not thrilled about either one) and bring Miller in to spell Lawson for 15 minutes a game, Fernandez can back up Afflalo, Brewer can fill in at small forward when needed and Harrington can back up Nene.  Brewer and Kenneth Faried should be utilized as energy players off the bench for nights like tonight when the team is flat.  I would cage the Birdman because he looks lost every second he is on the court.

I doubt we will see such an outbreak of conventionalism.  Karl always considers the first 20 games of the season to be an extended training camp and maybe that number stretches to 30 this season since training camp was not a typical camp.  If Karl can figure out what to do with this bunch, it will be a thing of beauty, the problem is the players have to do their part and provide some consistent performances in order for the coaches and management to properly evaluate them and that is the rub.  I do not think most of them are talented enough to accomplish that, with the result being Karl grasping at straws almost every night hoping he can find the right mix.

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  • noah

    we need to bolster our frontcourt. mozgov is simply not the answer at center, birdman is looking as inept as ever (especially as an on-ball defender), and koufos looks promising but will need atleast a few more years before he develops into anything worth using on a nightly basis. We should pull the trigger on a trade and bring in a guy like chris kaman. he’d be perfect for the nuggets. we need more toughness and strength up front, and he provides that. Also, mozgov’s inability to rebound is shocking. to me he seems like one of those people who let basketball choose them simply because he is 7 + feet tall. He’s about as graceful as a penguin on land. Kaman would probably come at a rather affordable price too. im thinking maybe we package chandler (once resigned) along with mozgov and a 2nd round pick. A lineup of kaman, nene, gallo, afflalo, and ty sounds good to me.

    • evan

      Believe it or not, no team is perfect. Especially 10 games into the season, with the toughest starting schedule in the league and 3 of our 4 losses could have gone either way.

      But nooooo, we play a bad game, we MUST suck.


      • noah

        not saying that at all. But you can’t deny the fact that we need another big man. Nene is all by himself

        • evan

          we have 2 guys 7ft or over. and two guys 611. and a 610 forward. We’re the biggest team in the league .

          • Charlie

            Yes but I’m not sure either of these guys are difference makers. How many teams in this league would be starting Koufos if he were on their roster? How many winning teams would be giving Mozgov 25 minutes but keep Andre Miller on the bench playing 15 minutes of backup duty for Ty Lawson?

            Karl definitely needs to do a better job finding a balance with the size on the roster, it’s just not very easy. I think most of us can agree Gallo and Harrington are the best tall players on the roster and both of them are perimeter guys.

  • Dubz

    One part of me wants to agree with everything stated above but another part of me says this is just another knee jerk reaction. It’s obviously not an excuse but this was the 6th game in 9 nights for the Nuggets and they just looked exhausted from the get go. 3 of this teams losses have been on the road (Lakers, Blazers, and Spurs) and 2 of those were the 2nd game of a back to back where the opposing team had the prior night off. If anything, I’d do the complete opposite of what Jeremy is suggesting and we should open up our bench even more. Tonight is the perfect night to find minutes for Brewer, Koufos, Farried, and Carroll (who btw is very good player IMO) and let our usual guys rest. The one major problem I have is with GK’s lineups and that’s been the case forever. He’s one stubborn son of a gun and he WILL live and die by the small ball philosophy. It can be very effective but he runs it for too long and in too important of situations. Let’s not over react this team is so young and raw. If anything, let’s let our young guys spread their wings a bit. This is a long season.

    • Dubz

      P.S…. Al has ONE bad night and your already jumping all over the guy?? Really? I can’t predict what kind of season he will have just like you can’t but he’s been fantastic this year. Supposedly he worked his ass off during the off season to get in good shape and regain his quickness. Give the man a break and let his play speak for itself. Sorry, had to defend the man on that one.

    • Charlie

      I’m not sure Karl is willing to mess with the veterans’ playing time like you are suggesting. Unless its a blowout situation, guys like Harrington, Birdman, and Miller – they feel they’ve earned the right to play big minutes if it’s a close game and they want to lead the team and compete. I don’t think you can talk them into taking a night off so young guys can develop. Even if you can, they will want to play in the next big game and the young guys don’t get very much room to grow and mature their game.

      That’s Jeremy’s point about the depth being a curse, there’s just no way to know who to play without the benefit of hindsight.

      • Dubz

        My apologies.. It was late and I kind of blended the two articles together! Anyway, I’m not suggesting Karl tamper with the chemistry with this team or anything like that. I would just like to see him look further down the bench when guys on the court are obviously so exhausted and indifferent. I have to hand it to the Hornets, they showed up to play last night but the Nuggets can basically field any lineup that can compete with that team. I guess I’m saying lets use our depth with all these back to backs instead of running out starters into the ground. Karl runs a demanding up tempo style of offense that’s very taxing on his players. Let the guys rest.

        • Peter

          I agree 100% with you Dubz. When the Nuggets are tired and need energy, go to the bench. Carl Landry is a solid player and plays really hard, but he’s 6’9″ and I wouldn’t call him a beast. This seems like the perfect matchup for Kenny Faried. I’m not saying he would own Landry, but he could play him to a wash and nobody would be surprised. George Karl’s lineups stink. We need Brewer in over Rudy because when Rudy’s shot is off he gives us NOTHING! Cory gives us good defense every time. If his shot is falling it’s a bonus.

  • Kalen

    Well, you certainly picked the right game to follow up with the “doom and gloom” assessment, that’s for sure. It was ugly, very ugly, but I’ve been a sports fan for too long and am well aware of the fickle trap they often gets sucked into after games like this. I’m just not buying it, not yet at least.

    Yes, this team has clear and present problems, but who doesn’t at this point in time? As of today three out of five NBA annalists on ESPN picked the Nuggets as the third best team in the NBA behind only the Heat and Bulls. Obviously it was a bit premature, but it just goes to show how well respected this team is. Shoot, even the Lakers who have the exact same record as the Nuggets, weren’t picked that high.

    I do however agree on the rotation being more of a problem than a solution, but I see it differently than you Jeremy. For me, it’s all about Karl and his unwillingness to break away from his obsessive routines. Not every game situation is going to call for the exact same lineup, in fact it’s quite the opposite, yet Karl continues to trot out the same exact lineups at the same exact time totally disregarding what the other team has on the floor. His fascination with small ball and refusal to play Koufos or Faried more minutes has really killed us at times. Sure guys havn’t been the most consistent, but Mozgov is the worst and yet he continues to get run. And looking at the cumulative grades, it’s not as bad as it seems. There are a handful of guys (mostly starters) who are getting one good grade after another.

    Again, one game of a 66-game schedule is not even close to enough evidence to declare the team a subject of crisis, no matter how bad it was. The Nuggets still have an extremely favorable next month of the season, which I feel they will take advantage of. If more games like this start to pop up, then yes, there’s a problem, but I’m not ready to jump ship yet. Not even close.

    • Jeremy

      These are not issues that cropped up last night, these are problems that have been hounding them all season and unless they are addressed are going to submarine any chances of this team succeeding in the playoffs. I am not being fickel and just reacting to one bad game. I have been blogging too long to fall into that trap.

      Denver is going to win a lot of games this season, my concern is how they will do in the postseason. They have plenty of time to get things straightened out and I am just giving my recommednations as how they can do that.

      • Joe

        and not only this season, but just about every season that GK has been the head coach here. I completely agree with Jeremy and Charlie on this Kalen. This team hasn’t shown any ability to execute in half court offense, (and never has besides when we had Chauncey running the offense) is very soft on defense & the glass, and has consistently had some of the oddest player rotations in all of basketball.
        I’m all for supporting the Nuggets because they are the team I love. But I’m sick and tired of the same problems every year, and getting bounced early in the playoffs (besides one good run). I respect everything GK has been able to accomplish, but you can’t overlook the problems this team consistently has. Lets not forget that GK has never won a championship, only made it to the finals once, has a career .436 win percentage in the playoffs, and has a .348 win percentage in the playoffs since taking over for the nuggets. Winning seasons are nice and all, but the goal and the point is supposed to be to win championships!
        We also need to either start devoting time to the young players (KK, Mozgov, Faried, and Brewer/Carrol to a lesser extent) to see what these guys have for our teams future, or we need to start seriously thinking about making some trades because right now the so called “depth” is a hindrance to this team. Outside of Lawson/AA/Gallo/Nene/Harrington/Miller/Fernandez, no one else can ever get any kind of consistent minutes, so they can never develop properly or build up momentum. And if you look at those 7, where is the physicality and defensive presence supposed to come from? Nene is the only big out of all of them, and he has always been soft and always will be soft.
        I’ll continue to root for my Nuggets every night, and hope for the best. Go Nuggets!

        • Kalen

          Everything both you and Jeremy just said I agree on. My deal is, I’ve known this since Day 1. It’s clear we’re going to be a really good team this year, but it’s also very clear that unless we get homecourt in the first round we’ll probably lose. To me, this is nobody but George Karl’s fault. I’ve never been a fan of his and am fully on board with going in a different direction, but after begging for years for this to happen I’ve finally just become somewhat apathetic to the entire situation. I know that unless we get homecourt we’ll lose in the first round. But the thing is, what are we going to do? Masai just gave Karl a three-year extension. Do you really think he’s going to fire a Hall of Fame coach that loses in the first round with the team we have? Again, I wouldn’t mind, but it’s just not going to happen, therefore complaining does nothing. That’s how I see it. The time to make noise was last year, but unfortunately Karl had a nice 20-game stretch that earned him a contract extension.

          • Charlie

            It isn’t fair to put this all on Karl. The team needs to play fast to succeed and the small lineup is conducive to that. How easy is it to pull fan favorite Birdman out of the rotation for good? What about sitting proven players like Andre Miller so younger, worse players can play and give the Nuggets more size? How do you decide between giving Rudy or Brewer minutes without throwing one of them under the bus? All the young guys here have had good games and bad games so despite whatever armchair fans think, it just isn’t that easy to make this team work. Karl has had great lineups and bad lineups out there.

            The front office deserves equal blame for constructing a team that will lose in the first round. The way this team is also constructed ensures that the rookies won’t play. That’s what everyone signed up for asking to spend big on a contending team that can make the playoffs.

            • Kalen

              I don’t see how the front office deserves any blame whatsoever. It wasn’t their fault Melo decided to bail. They made the most out of an incredibly crappy situation. I don’t get how fans expect them to just intentionally suck. That’s not what they’re paid to do. You look at the moves Masai has made from and since the Melo trade and they’re extremely savvy. And say what you want about players performing but this team has a lot of talent on it. Maybe not a superstar, but a lot of talent across the board including Faried. It’s the coaches responsibility to organize that and make it work. Period. But we can go on forever with this debate that’s been chopped up ad nauseam. I’m kind of tired of it though. I guess I just don’t see how people can complain about winning. Plus Ty, AAA and Gallo still have tons of room for improvement before the postseason arrives and who knows what will happen with the Chandler situation. Just seems a bit early for so much panic in my opinion. That’s all.

              • Charlie

                Some people are satisfied with losing in the first round every year if they can avoid “rebuilding” and I would put a good portion of Nuggets fans in that mix. For some people the word itself implies a desire to fail even if the alternative is remaining a middle of the pack team indefinitely

  • popex_17

    First of all, I must say that since I am living in Eastern Europe, I have to get up between 5 and 6 a.m. to watch the Nuggets play and today was the first time in a very long time (last time I think was a game @Grizzlies last year, before the trade, when the Nuggets were up big in the 3rd quarter, only to lose the game in the end) when I regretted to do this. It didn’t bother me that they lost, but the effort and willingness to compete which they showed, or should I say better, failed to show.
    As Kalen has something against Mozgov, I have one against playing Bird. I think that at this point in their respective careers, he is worse than Mozgov and it’s not even close. Him playing at center against much more physical players is simply painful to watch. When he came in against the Spurs, it was a horror show. Today, the same thing. As soon as he entered the game, the Hornets went to Kaman each possession and it paid off immediately. Bird is one of the worst on-ball defenders I have seen in my life and is a total liability on the floor at any time. I would be much more comfortable knowing Faried plays instead of him because the only way Faried can go is up and Bird is down.
    Between Moz and Kouf, at this point, I would take Kouf (even though before the season I would have taken Moz), but neither of them is a starting center in this league.
    Also, I am amazed at how stubborn is coach Karl. When I watch other teams (as in good to great teams), I constantly discover that coaches coach each game according to the match-ups. This small ball lineup is efficient against some teams and is suicide against other teams that have size and a competent coach who can make use of that advantage. Monty Williams is a very good coach in my opinion, thus he took advantage of the mismatches and in the end won.
    Against Denver, the plan is simple, yet not that easy to execute: don’t turn the ball over, get back on defense, play big and be physical. If this happens, Denver is in trouble and needs to have a very good shooting night to win. Safe to say, it didn’t happen tonight.
    I am not concerned about games like this, because they happen from time to time. My concern is that this team, as presently constructed, will have a really hard time scoring in the playoffs. I am afraid that Denver will end up being the Hawks of the West (minus the horrendous contracts they have), that is too good to rebuild, good enough to compete, not good enough to succeed.
    The ultimate goal should be winning the championship. We are not in that position right now, but I fully trust the front office and I have great confidence in this team to try its best to get there.
    In the meantime, I will get up every morning to watch them play and it would be so much more enjoyable to see Faried in there instead of Bird. Really now, could he be any worse than this???

  • Thomas

    Our coach, by sticking to his preconceived ideas for rotations, small ball and player favoritism (fernandez, miller, birdman can stink it up but will always come in and play way too many minutes) will never allow this team to grow to its full potential. this is lawson’s team, forget about pairing him with ball hog andre miller – miller should not play more than 15-18 minutes per game.

    It pretty much sums it up when your coach says that you should expect quite a few of these stinker losses this season – I’ve heard this before from Karl. Losing is OK with Karl.

    So much potential, unfortunately it will probably go to waste as long as that man is on the bench pretending to coach.

  • gk4prez

    I usually take every opportunity available to bash GK, but the short comings of this team really aren’t his fault. He is trying to play a 3 scrub rotation at center and opposing teams with decent bigs are thriving inside because of it.

  • steve

    Dont get me wrong guys, i want to see faried play and think he’ll make an impact. BUT, if you think birdman is bad at rotations and always going for the block, in limited minutes faried has shown the same thing. Faried will pump energy to the crowd and his teammates which birdman used to do 2 years ago which is why i think he should play. But he will have alot of moments where he gets out of control and costs us some baskets early on, IF he even gets to see the floor.

    Last nights game was hard to watch as we were out of sink big time. We were either trying to go one on one or over passing trying to find the open man. AA had several open 3s and missed all of them. I believe 2 of them ended good runs we had to get back in the game. Eventually he’ll start knocking them down.

    We are only 10 games into the season and i’m willing to wait another 10 before i start to get upset with this team especially GKarl. I hate the way he sets his rotations which was stated above. I wish start of 4th quarter he would have put out there lawson at pg, rudy at sg, brewer at sf, faried at pf and KK at C just to try and spark this team. When will he learn that when we are down by 10, DRE MILLER WILL NOT spark this team? Drives me nuts. Al Harrington has been playing great and deserves an off night. Hope he bounces back though along with the rest of the nugs. Cant lose to many like this in a shortened season especially. LETS GO NUGS!

  • evan

    “Our schedule has been pretty high-level and intense and difficult,” he said. “We survived it. This loss isn’t going to throw away all the good basketball we’ve played,”

  • Ray

    Jeez all it takes is one bad loss and everyone wants to blow up the team. Get a hold of yourselves guys, it’s a long season. I think this is the first “practice” that the Nuggets will have as a team, so expect them to play a lot more together against NJ.

  • Omar

    it is not just one game, they have done it many games. it is a simple solution though….trade andre miller and all these problems will go away. karl won’t have to go small anymore.

  • Ernie

    The Felton for Miller trade has hurt. Miller doesn’t push the pace. That second unit just isn’t wearing teams out like they did last year.

    Also Nene and AAA have played poorly since signing there big contracts. Sometimes a contract motivates, sometimes it means you don’t feel you have to do that extra work. 10 games in and they still look way behind.

    I’d give this team another 15 games. If it looks like they will get home court through one round of the playoffs they and we deserve a chance to see how that works out. If not it’s time to start selling high.

    • Jason

      Miller is a better player than Felton…but I do agree that Miller has stunk the last few games.

      That was a good trade, and a necessary one.

      I do think it is time though, that the FO consider bringing in a true legit BACKUP PG, instead of a backup that should be starting. Ty has proven he can take the reigns of this team. Miller should be player very limited minutes with Ty, and averaging 20mpg or less but Karl won’t have it that way…and I am not sure Miller would accept it either.

    • Ray

      Come on this is just isn’t true. Miller has had a bad couple games, but how many Nuggets have been on the end of his outlet passes? He doesn’t run the floor like Ty, but he’s no less effective, and MUCH BETTER than Ray Felton overall.

      Two bad games and they want to get rid of him, wow.

      • Ernie

        To me outlet passes aren’t the same as someone pushing the pace. Yes they lead to easy buckets but they also lead to easy turnovers. And more importantly outlets don’t encourage the entire team to move as soon as the ball is rebounded to start a team offense, they encourage players to run from rebounding so they can individually get scores. Also one defender getting back stops outlet passes. But it requires a team defense to stop a point guard that starts moving fast the moment the ball is rebounded.

        At 35 Miller doesn’t offer that anymore and so the 2nd team isn’t as effective at wearing the opposition out. You may like the player (Miller) better but I don’t believe his abilities fit the type of basketball this team should be playing when the 2nd unit comes out.

        • Cody

          All felton would do is turn the ball over, last year he thought he was the man late in games when really it’s ty, felton doesn’t bring anything to this team

          • Ernie

            Last year Felton averaged 6.5 assists and turned the ball over 2.14 times a game for a ratio of over 3:1 which is very good. So the argument that Felton was a turnover machine just isn’t true.

            Again I’m not saying Felton is the only answer, I’m saying a backup PG who gets the ball and runs it up the court constantly would serve this team best.

  • Jason

    Good write up Jeremy. And while I continue to be patient with this team and tend to be a bit more optimistic than and others, I do agree that some of issues you bring out could be their undoing.

    I am typically a supporter of coach Karl, simply for the fact that he brought a winning attitude to this team and he is an old school guy that believes in hard work and hussle, two things missing in the majority of NBA athletes today. I believe a lot of his philosophies are correct.

    The problem is, which has already been pointed out, he tends to stick to his philosophies come what may. Some of those philosophies – such as putting your best players on the court regardless of size/position, switching screens (caused because small ball lineups), and sticking with his “security blanket” player rotations – can only be used in short bursts, sort of like a zone defense. He needs to be flexible…but he is a bit stubborn.

    Currently, Koufos has outplayed Mozgov, but Mozgov continues to start and K2 gets little to no time each game. Brewer has proved time and again that he is effective, yet he will play one game, then ride the bench the next. And Faried…ah, say what you will Karl about rookies, you won’t know what you have with him until you actually play him during minutes that count. Last night would have been the PERFECT opportunity for it, but Karl stuck with players who’s body language and energy sucked.

    I don’t want to put all the blame on Karl, as there are a lot of guys on this team that are not playing too well, but…what I have observed so far this year has been exactly what you say Jeremy – the depth is a blessing and a curse. The curse because Karl has NO clue what to do with it. But I do feel a more traditional lineup (no small ball) is necessary for this team except for in very very small dosages.

    • chronicnugs

      agree with Jason here re: Faried. I’m not a big Faried guy either, from most accounts there seem to be big holes in his game. Still, the team was flat, the crowd was flat, one guy is guaranteed to bring excitement and enegy to the game. it aint chris effing andersen. when youre getting smoked like that throw Ty, Rudy, Brewer, Faried and KK out there. Cant hurt. Looked like no one gave a sh!t, may as well put in a high energy bunch and shake things up.

      • Tommy4daNuggz4ever

        AMEN!!!! I would like to see this line up it would have the D plus some offense. And hell they would flat out run it with sped and dominance. I think last night it was even nice to see Carroll come in. I think GK left the small line up in there too long. The Hornets had Kamen and okafor on the floor with just Nene for any size. I am personally sick of seeing 4 guards on the floor at on time sorry it is effective for about 2 to 3 minute spurts but then other teams put bigs in to mismatch us down in the paint. And we don’t sub to match up right. I think that wont only hurt us in the regular season but for sure will in the playoffs.

      • gfacekillah

        totally agree. i would like to remind everyone who wants to run George Karl out of town of the terrible coaching carousel that existed before he came in (bickerstaff, evans, hanzlik, etc…). Karl made the Nuggets relavent again. yes he sticks to his lineups too long at times and has too much faith in certain players but i think this will pay off. IMO AAA has been the biggest disappointment this year. he got paid and brings nothing to the table now. i keep hoping he will pull out of it but he is not even close to the knock down shooter he was last year and his defense isnt that great.

        i think the nuggets will pull out of it. it was just one bad game. every other loss was against a top playoff team on the road and we were in all of them till the end. that is a good sign for this team.

        • Cody

          AAA got paid 43 million and it looks like he didn’t add anything to his game… only good for spot up 3’s so far

          • Peter

            So glad this was mentioned at the end of the thread. I agree a lot with Jeremy and admit that this team has major concerns, but I still want to wait a few more games until we can get a read on AAA. Is he still getting back in shape? Or is he victim of not playing with better players?(Chauncey, Melo, Kenyon) and being the fifth option on the court that nobody worries about. Trust me, there would be a lot of guys that could average 15 points a game if all the had to do was hit wide open looks when their superstar is double teamed. This may sound harsh and I like AAA, but I just hope he can turn it around and live up to his contract. We need him to perform better! As for Nene, can’t really say I’m disappointed because he’s still the same player that he’s always been and I gave up hope for him to live up to his potential 2 seasons ago. Still kind of wish we didn’t give him that big contract.

  • aussienuggzfan

    This team is way worse than last year and that team was destined for an early playoff exit.
    JR> Rudy
    Chandler>>>Rudy/ Brewer
    Felton> Miller
    Kenyon.. whatever

    Time for some blockbuster trades, deal Miller, Bird, Rudy and Nene and maybe even Gallinari, not because he is bad, but Chandler has higher ceiling and he is a good trade piece to upgrade other positions of need. (Kinda like Rondo was not being shopped but he was involved in trade scenarios if the return is an upgrade)

    I have believed this all along, this one lost isn’t doomsday, it just reminds us that we might be a really good team but not good enough.

    This year should be about developing our young guys and trading away a few vets.

    The lottery is where we need to be to win. People are gonna argue that it all about luck and that they will just leave for bigger markets and this is somewhat true. BUT remember Melo was still here for 8 years and we were unable to build around him well enough. Also if you draft good character guys they are less likely to leave.

    We don’t really need the 1st pick but rather a top 10 pick, a guy like Jeremy Lamb or Andre Drummond would be my top choices.

    Its amazing our irrationally scared many Denver fans have become about the lottery since Melo left but look at OKC their best three players are all top 4 picks. You guys trust Masai’s drafting don’t you???

    Oh yeah and I hate GK’s coaching,his small ball lineups, his over the top love for certain players, inability to put time into developing youngsters with talent and his inability handle players egos (JR) and instead taking it as a personal attack on himself.

    I’m not a huge Gallo fan at all but I would like to see what we have in him at his natural SF position before Chandler returns and his contract extension is due. It is kinda unfair to play him at PF for so many minutes.

    While many of you are cheering for meaningless regular season wins, I’ll be cheering for more games like we just saw to show the bigger picture and bring us closer to guys like Jeremy Lamb.

    Sorry for the rant

  • Andrew

    Fascinating posts. So, regardless of how far away or close, you think the Nuggs are to being a contender, does everyone agree on the following?
    1) Karl is a very good but not great coach, whose teams do not fair well in the playoffs (probably in large part because of Karl) but who should not be fired until/unless the Nuggets have a handle on someone better and, in any event, it wouldn’t happen until after this season is over.
    2) People are in relative agreement that Karl should give more minutes to K2, Brewer and Faried (if only for a quick energy infusion when the Nuggets are looking listless) and less minutes to the small ball team (unless the situation dictates) and less minutes to Birdman, and maybe Moz and Miller (though there seems to be disagreement about the last two).
    3) People are also in relative agreement that the Nuggets are going to need a better half court game and defense in order to succeed in the playoffs. In order to do that, the Nuggets/Karl need to either go get a better big man (I wanted them to pick up Kaman before the season started, but…) or give K2 and/or Moz enough minutes to let one or both try to develop, as well as giving Brewer and Faried more time for similar development reasons.

    So, Kalen, Jeremy and Charlie. How do we convey these last two messages to Coach Karl? Is there a way? Should the fans start chanting at games, does anyone have a press pass to ask Karl the questions or let Karl know how all of the fans feel? If there is no way at all to at least try to influence him, are we just all griping pointlessly? We all love the Nuggets and seem to have fairly similar concerns. I would just like to know if there is anything we can do about it.

    • Charlie

      Appreciate the passion, Andrew. A lot of the factors are related to the way this team is built and it’s not a black and white issue that Karl can flip a switch and correct. Let’s not forget the Nuggets are at their best playing fast and the small lineup has been fantastic in several wins this year. Outside of this last game against New Orleans, Karl hasn’t been the biggest problem with this team – far from it in fact. Right now we’re in a wait and see mode hoping for the team to work out some of its issues but when it comes down to the personnel, Nuggets fans might just have to accept this team is worse than last years and likely going nowhere in terms of playoffs (they’ll make it, but lose in the first round convincingly)

      • Jason

        I don’t think they are worse than last years team. Remember, that team only played together for less than half the year and one playoff series. I just think they caught lightning in a bottle, sorta to Jeremy’s original point.

        However, that being said, I think this years team is better. But being that they are still new to each other, and adjusting on the fly, we have faired pretty well. The Hornets loss sucked, no doubt about it. But if they win that game, we are 7-3 and looking very good. So in the end, it is just one loss. The team overall has played well. Yes, there are some things to be concerned about, but there are also some things to be excited about!

        Remember this team is 6-4 and has shot terribly! Guys like Lawson and Gallo and AAA and Rudy are starting to show signs of turning their poor shooting around, and if that happens we become even more dangerous. Karl will also learn this team better as the year goes on. We do have to cut him some slack in the sense that I don’t think he totally knows what he has with each player, and it takes time to know which combinations work best and which players are able to step up.

        I predict we win BIG tonight vs. the Nets, and squeek out a close win against the Heat and we will be 8-4 and looking might fine. GO NUGGETS!!

        • Charlie

          There is certainly a lot of room to improve. Defensively, last years team had better balance and more players who could stay on the court and contribute at both ends. I wouldn’t rule out big bounce back games in the next week or so but the big question is consistency and finding the right rotation to build around going forward.

    • Kalen

      Andrew: In my opinion Karl is an extremely complacent coach and has been for a long time. He knows the Denver Nuggets are an organization haunted by failure and that since his arrival they’ve turned things around. He had one of the most talented rosters in the NBA for about 3-4 years and did nothing with it, yet he received one extension after the other. People in Denver (including reporters and columnists) are entirely too lenient with him too. I think they are way too caught up with his life story and image rather than the job he’s done while in Denver and I honestly think that’s a big time reason why he gets a free pass. Look, I respect Karl, what he’s accomplished in his career and think he’s probably a really good guy, but he’s not the type of coach I want leading my team and he’s certainly not immune to my criticism. (He’s way too passive, stuck in his ways, has no attention to detail, accepts mediocrity, etc.) But in terms of getting the organization’s attention, I’m just not sure how you go about doing that. As I said above, Karl has a LOT of support around Denver so any type of faction that apposed him would likely be deemed a pariah and be frowned upon. I try and do my part by writing about it when I feel necessary, but unfortunately that’s about all the power I have. However I’d strongly encourage you to write an article about this and send it to us as we’d be happy to publish it. Also, feel free to march on down to the Pepsi Center (if you’re in the Denver area) and protest if you’re that passionate. Other than that though, I’m not sure what to tell you.

  • ny nugs fan

    one more scorer they need

    said yoda

  • Jeff

    I have a couple thoughts on GK. I used to harp on him for not instilling a more cohesive “by the book” offense in the Melo days. And for not showing much passion during and after games. But then remember when he got sick and Adrian Dantley took over? The team completely fell apart without Karl.
    In my opinion the 2 point guard and small ball lineups are much more effective than a lot of people here believe. The first game where we beat New Orleans, it was the small lineup that got us on the first good run, if I recall. And I think last year if Lawson was healthy in the playoffs, and Felton had played like he did against us this season, it would have been really effective with Felton and Lawson.
    Aside from rookies, Karl has been very good at integrating new players into our system, dating back to Dahntay Jones, Arron Afflalo, the Knicks players, etc.