Nuggets depleted against Rockets

As is being reported by Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, the Nuggets will be extremely depleted on Monday against the Houston Rockets. Three starters including Nene, Afflalo and Mozgov will all be out in addition to Corey Brewer due to the devastating loss of his father. While Mozgov and Brewer will almost certainly miss multiple games, there’s no definitive word out on how long Nene or Afflalo will be sidelined. Starting in place of Mozgov will be Kosta Koufos, who’s coming off a career game against the Blazers in which he netted career highs in minutes played and rebound in route to a 16-point, 12-board double-double. In place of Afflalo will be Julyan Stone and in place of Nene, none other than the “Manimal” himself, Kenneth Faried.

Now, while die-hard fans — like those who frequent this blog — may be thrilled at the concept of Faried and Stone playing big minutes, it’s important to keep in mind just how paramount this upcoming home stand will be for the Nuggets. After playing four of the next five games at home, Denver will once again hit the road for a Western Conference swing very similar to the one the Nuggets just went 1-4 on. In addition to facing the Thunder, Mavericks, Grizzlies and Clippers at their home arenas, the Nuggets will also travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers who currently have the fifth best record in the entire league; therefore, taking care of business at home will be imperative, and it starts tonight.

Houston is a team the Nuggets cannot afford to overlook. Although the Rockets sit on a moderate 13-11 record, they’re also one of the hottest teams in the entire league having won 11 of their last 16 games. They also have a handful of very underrated players capable of inflicting unforeseen damage like perhaps no other team in the NBA. Starting with 6-11 center and former member of Roundball Mining Company’s “Players the Nuggets should consider signing” list, Samuel Dalembert, in addition to the hard-working power forward, Luis Scola, the Rockets will trot out a front court with lightyears more experience than than Nuggets. Dalembert has already recorded 10 or more rebounds on nine different occasions this year, including four occasions in which he hauled in at least 15 boards. He also ranks ninth in the NBA in both offensive rebounds and total rebounds per 48 minutes as well as sixth in blocks — three categories the Nuggets are sorely lacking in at the moment. Scola on the other hand, while having somewhat of a down year numerically, still has the ability to fill it up and has always given the Nuggets problems with his hustle and refined post game.

Although their front line is certainly nothing to scoff at, the real test for the Nuggets on Monday will come from Houston’s back court. Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry combine to form one of the best back-court tandems in the league and are both legitimate backup candidates for the All Star team. While Martin ranks third in points per game and PER among all shooting guards, Lowry ranks first among players at his position in rebounds, fourth in steals, fifth in 3-pointers made and eighth in assists per game. Julyan Stone and Ty Lawson must hold these two in check in order to give Denver a fighting chance at winning the game. Seeing how both Stone and Faried play against starting-caliber NBA players on Monday should go a long way in understanding where these players stand at the moment, as it will be the first time all year that both players will have logged heavy minutes together outside of garbage time.

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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.

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  • FinazzAus

    Althought we don’t like injurys. What a great chance for faired to show he is worthy of minutes not just the highlight reels.

  • bayesk

    let’s hope it’s not a case of “careful what you wish for”…

  • ny nugs fan

    the nugs are gonna need these guys down the stretch so getting them some good minutes now should pay dividends later on

    unfortunate news about the guys who are out but the nugs can still win with these guys

    go nugs!!!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

    I will be interested to see how Stone matches up with Kevin Martin. He will be focused on shutting Martin down and he has the length and energy to make things difficult for him.

  • Andrew

    Scary but exciting to see what the younguns can do. So sad to hear about Brewer’s dad. Moz has the sprained ankle. Any word on what’s wrong with Nene or aaa?

  • Nigel

    Yess!!! If the Manimal did what he is supposed to do against the Rockets, trading Andersen will more than a correct decision. As long as Nene keeps on being inconsistent, putting him in the trading block won’t be a problem. Yes, his inside presence will be gone, but the team just wants rebounding more and being blown out in the boards alone is just as frustrating as getting blownout in the scores. That’s where Faried should step up.

  • FinazzAus

    I’ve heard that your cant do S&T during the season now under the new CBA. If its true sucks for Denver. The best move might be signing him and then trading him or someone else. I don’t think it’s smart to not much another teams offer on him.