For the second year in a row Roundball Mining Company has organized a list of the Nuggets top offseason priorities. Ranked from most to least urgent, these are the adjustments the Nuggets should strongly consider in order to further improve its record in 2012-13 and beyond.
Heading into the 2011-12 season the Denver Nuggets were a mystery waiting to be solved. After coming off the most chaotic seven months in franchise history the team made monumental strides in the offseason to remain competitive even after parting ways with Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. In addition, the NBA lockout saw key contributors Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martina and J.R. Smith all vanish to the opposite side of the world until midseason, leaving even more questions marks about who would be with the team moving forward. But as the season progressed, piece by piece Nuggets fans collected clues about the identity and subsequent standards the team would possess, which ended up being very similar to years past.
On Tuesday, May 22, the Nuggets worked out two of the better shooting guards in the 2012 NBA Draft class: Terrence Ross from Washington and John Jenkins from Vanderbilt. Ross is a 6-6 sophomore who’s extremely athletic and has made large strides in his defense. Meanwhile Jenkins is a 6-4 junior, known as perhaps the best pure shooter in all of college basketball this past season. Though each is comprised of their own individual basketball DNA, they both share a common bond in that they’re shooters who are somewhat limited in other areas of the game.
In Roundball Mining Company’s first postseason reflection piece we’ll be taking a look at the evolution of the Denver Nuggets over the last year and examine what we’ve learned about the team throughout the process. Though the Nuggets have laid the foundation for the future through savvy front-office dealings there’s still quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding the roster. Therefore, our most recent 3-on-3 aims to analyze certain aspects of the present, past and future. As always, feel free to hand out your answers to these questions in the comments section below.
It’s not often that Roundball Mining Company covers anything outside of the Denver Nuggets. This however, is an exception and one we’re proud to be a part of.
Our fellow TrueHoop cohorts over at Cowbell Kingdom have notified the network of a movie titled Small Market, Big Heart. It is an feature-length amateur film produced by Kings fans and bloggers which documents Sacramento’s attempt to keep the Kings stationed in the capitol of California for the foreseeable future. It was made on a budget of close to $10,000 which came from a kickstart campaign and will not gross a profit of any kind. This is nothing more than a all-out, last-ditch attempt by the city and its fans to keep the Kings in Sacramento and it’s done so in a poignant, passionate and artistic manner.
If you have the time, I strongly recommend you watch Small Market, Big Heart. Remember, many of the issues covered in this movie are ones Nuggets fans could potentially see down the road as part of a small market NBA franchise. It’s free to stream on YouTube. You can watch it at Cowbell Kingdom or at the movie’s website. We’d also encourage you to share this through social media, word of mouth or any other way you can think of, as the only way this movie is going to bring awareness to the rest of the world is through thoughtful people like you!
If you have anymore questions or comments, feel free to post them and we’ll try and get back to you in a timely fashion.
With the season now over, Roundball Mining Company will do quite a bit of reflecting on the 2011-12 campaign. But before we get in depth with our analysis we’d like to stop and say thanks. I know Jeremy touched on it in the Game 7 Rapid Reaction but I’d like to expand a bit more on his sincere gratitude to all those who have frequented this blog over the years.
|Kenneth Faried, F 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -19 The Manimal was fantastic and helped allay my fears that he could not handle the Lakers size. He showed he is not afraid of anyone and will not back down from a challenge. In the fourth quarter Faried was completely overmatched by Gasol and had to be removed. Faried has a fantastic career ahead of him, but his lack of size is going to be an issue for Denver.|
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 26 MIN | 1-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 3 PTS | -12 I have been frustrated with Gallo all series long, earlier in the season he was very good at not forcing shots, since his return from his thumb injury he has been settling for jumpers off the dribble out of iso sets. He was awful from start to finish and MWP gets a lot of credit for that. I have no idea why Karl reinserted him in the game in the middle of the fourth as Gallo continued to be worthless. Hopefully this is a learning experience and a building block for Gallo to use as he matures and not a sign of what is to come in the future.|
|Timofey Mozgov, C 15 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -8 We got what we expected from Mozgov, solid D, and nothing else. He did his job, but it will be interesting to see what the Nuggets do with him this offseason. In the NFL you can stockpile defensive backs if you play in the same division as the Lions or Saints, in the NBA you cannot keep a player on your roster just because he can defend Andrew Bynum for a few minutes.|
|Arron Afflalo, SG 36 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | -10 When the Lakers pushed their lead up to 9 in the second, it was Afflalo who led the charge back with four quick points, in the second half, he was nowhere to be found until he made a three with less than two minutes left to keep a sliver of hope alive. Afflalo played solid defense against Kobe, who was oddly passive, but Afflalo showed that despite the growth he made this season, he is still only a complimentary player on offense.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 42 MIN | 11-19 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 24 PTS | -6 Ty came out firing, but the Lakers began making him the focus of the defense, the Lakers bigs were more aggressive hedging and challenging him off screens and it made it difficult for him to get to the lane. When Denver was able to loosen up the game and run in the second half, Lawson had a great few minutes. When the game tightened up, LA got tougher on Ty again and he was not able to carry Denver to a win.|
|Al Harrington, PF 29 MIN | 9-18 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 24 PTS | +6 I felt bad for Harrington who had such a solid season that he was struggling due to injuries. He deserved better and finally was able to put his mark on a game scoring 24 points. Sadly, he was not able to hit a big shot when Denver needed it most not to mention his meager two rebounds in 29 minutes.|
|Andre Miller, PG 27 MIN | 1-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 8 AST | 3 PTS | +0 There are nights when you feel like Steve Blake and nights when your shot is just not falling. Miller could not find the net to save his life, but instead of becoming a non factor, like a person who loses one of their five senses, he augmented what he had to work with. Miller hit the boards and did his best to set up teammates. He made the best of a bad situation. As a Karl favorite I suspect Miller will be back, but if this is his last game as a Nugget, he went down swinging.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 13 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +1 You had a feeling after his unconscious shooting display in game six, he would be hard pressed to repeat that offensive output. With Denver struggling to score and Brewer having lost his hot hand Karl could not afford to keep him on the court. The one thing Brewer brings, energy, was not an issue for Denver tonight so his role was diminished.|
|JaVale McGee, C 32 MIN | 1-7 FG | 4-6 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +3 Mcgee had to great games out of seven. That is either hope for the future or a sign of what he will always be. Nene drove Nuggets fans crazy with his inconsistency, and McGee is no remedy to that issue. Still, McGee showed improved post defense, rebounded the ball very well and his ability to block and alter shots is undeniable. On a night Denver needed to get some easy buckets around the rim, McGee was AWOL.|
In a new turn of events, Chris “Birdman” Andersen’s attorney has released a statement revealing information about a brief relationship between Birdman and a young women and that could have led to recent raid on his Larkspur home. Birdman’s team seems confident that he’s the victim and not the culprit of the recent events that have led to his dismissal from the Denver Nuggets. Stay tuned for more updates.
After Thursday’s surreal Game 6 victory against the Lakers I was dead set on writing some kind of piece about the experience. But because I didn’t get a chance to take notes, I realized a traditional recap was going to be hard to come by. After mulling over several, more creative ideas for a post, I decided writing a poem might be the best way to summarize whatever memories remained from Thursday. Sticking with the Notorious B.I.G. theme I introduced on Wednesday (which has since become contagious), I give you, It Was All a (Nuggets) Dream, by yours truly.
|Kenneth Faried, F 28 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | +14
Faried’s personal growth and improvement throughout the series is something to see. While the Lakers size dominated game one and two, Denver has toughened up and been much more physical with Gasol and Bynum even before the catch. In my opinion, Faried’s fearless attitude against the Lakers has become contagious and he’s played a huge part in the defensive turnaround that suddenly swung the momentum of the series and forced a game seven. Hard to believe this guy is a rookie who didn’t see the court for nearly half of the regular season.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 28 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 12 PTS | +27
Gallo’s complete game finally came alive after a series-long lull in which I thought he was a very one dimensional player. Gallinari’s aggressiveness can show itself in multiple ways and tonight, it was his ability to pick the Lakers apart with his passing. He had a ton of success in pick and roll situations and that’s where Denver needs him to shine, especially with the Lakers defense keeping him off the line and outside of the paint for the majority of this series. In this matchup, Gallo’s passing is a much better asset than his shooting and the Nuggets need more of it.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 24 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +16
As a number of esteemed readers have pointed out, the grading of Mozgov has been way too harsh in his first few games of this series. He was extremely physical with Bynum from the opening tip, setting the tone with a big block on the game’s first possession and never once letting him get comfortable in the post. Mozgov has battled hard every game he’s started and the Lakers bigs haven’t looked the same since. It’s time to acknowledge the crucial role Mozgov has played in that and applaud him for it.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 36 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 6 PTS | +26
Afflalo brought out a vintage 2009 performance in which he pretty much only shot wide open jumpers created by teammates. Arron really has had his hands full with a motivated Kobe Bryant and is doing all he can against a player who can make shots no matter how well you defend him. Just an incredibly sound performance out of Afflalo, who played within the flow of the offense and finished with a career playoff high seven assists.
|Ty Lawson, PG 30 MIN | 13-18 FG | 1-3 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 32 PTS | +22
Just an outstanding, superstar-type effort. After the game, Ty said he flew his shooting coach into Denver yesterday and was getting shots up past midnight. The work clearly paid off as Lawson killed the Lakers from everywhere on the floor and showed much-improved aggressiveness in the half-court, where Lawson actually did most of his damage. This may have been the best game I’ve ever seen Lawson play, and he practically sat out the entire fourth quarter.
|Al Harrington, PF 22 MIN | 1-8 FG | 2-6 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +6
Al’s numbers speak for themselves. Despite the fact he shot 1 for 8, I actually thought he improved and played less selfishly in a game Harrington clearly tried to pick up his play. I understand Harrington has played tough on Gasol and is fighting through injuries, but at some point you have to look at five awful games in a row and admit what the evidence says is true. I admire his effort, but Al just looks hobbled out there and the Nuggets have been a much better team without him in the lineup.
|Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | -7
Miller’s steady veteran presence may be the biggest factor in this series’ dramatic turnaround in the past three days. Much like Faried, Miller has played fearless against the Lakers and abused his matchup against the small Laker guards. Andre did not score or create at the same level he has in previous games, but he limited his mistakes and continues to be so much better than any guard on the Lakers roster it hardly matters. You can tell how badly Miller wants to lead this team and win even when his own game is not at its best.
|Corey Brewer, SF 19 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | -7
Even with Brewer’s offensive struggles throughout the season, he’s been an incredibly underrated contributor to Denver’s success. When he’s useful on offense, the Nuggets are an entirely different animal. His shots are usually limited to spot up threes and transition run-outs, but Brewer found some confidence early and proceeded to score from just about everywhere. When the Nuggets play unselfishly, everyone benefits and Brewer’s outstanding night is proof.
|JaVale McGee, C 20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -1
McGee had a strange game. I felt he was a net positive and played a sound game defensively, but he provided no help on offense and couldn’t come close to the type of production he had in Denver’s first two wins of the series. There are both good and bad ways to look at this development, but let’s just say JaVale continues to be a work in progress and managed to play important, mistake-free minutes in one of the best wins in Nuggets franchise history.
Nuggets center, Chris Andersen, was excused indefinitely from the team today in light of a raid performed on his house Thursday morning by Douglas County sheriffs seeking information on an Internet crimes against children investigation.
Not much is known at this point in time. Details are sure to emerge as times passes. What we do know is that this is just about the worst time for these issues to surface, yet Birdman is still innocent until proven guilty. Obviously things don’t look good, at all, but it’s important to refrain from jumping straight to conclusions until more information is gathered.
Once again I joined Andrew Kamenetzky of ESPNLA.com’s Land O’ Lakers blog to discuss Game 6 and whether the series is going, going, back, back, to Cali, Cali.
I have been chided for being negative and pessimistic. To me the negative is simply providing objective analysis. As far as pessimistic, well, you’ve got me there. I have been a fan of the Nuggets for roughly two and a half decades. My personal conclusion is that Nuggets fan and optimist are mutually exclusive.
However, heading into game six I have objectively found several reasons why Nuggets fans can feel
optimistic encouraged about Denver’s chances to force a game seven.
On Tuesday night the Nuggets did something they haven’t done in three years: play great basketball in the playoffs. Although the team won several games since its historic run to the Western Conference Finals in 2009, there was always something missing in those wins. They were hollow — strictly for the sake of putting a “W” on paper and not one in the hearts of their fans. Tuesday was different. On Tuesday, the Nuggets weren’t playing for a “W”; they were playing for the city of Denver, its fans and the pride of both.
|Kenneth Faried, F 24 MIN | 5-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +8
Throughout the series Faried has slowly but surely improved his defense. Tonight his post defense on Pau Gasol was much improved and he produced at high level on the offensive end as well. He did not miss a shot, was the only starter to grab an offensive rebound and would have easily notched another playoff double double had he not been forced to sit out the entire fourth quarter.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 37 MIN | 4-13 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +4
Gallo is still struggling to find his shooting touch. He has remained aggressive after a breakout shooting performance in game four, but was not able to get the same looks to fall in L.A. Gallo’s inability to space the floor with his three point shooting has led to some poor shot selection and less passing. Despite the fact he’s one of Denver’s best passers and their most complete offensive player, Gallo has managed only 7 assist in five games. Offensively, he just isn’t much of a threat and the Nuggets need more.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +4
Mozgov had a typical Mozgov game, contributing absolutely nothing in 13 minutes of action. It’s worth mentioning he was able to create space for the guards with some solid screens in the second half, but otherwise provided nothing outside of a big body to push Bynum off the block and foul him a lot.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 35 MIN | 8-19 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | +1
Afflalo finally played like himself, scoring more in the first half (13 pts) than he has in any game throughout the entire series. He was extremely aggressive from the opening tip and showed a willingness to step up and attack when Denver struggled to find scoring. Afflalo didn’t play his best and still can’t make a three to save his life, but the dramatic turnaround in production was sorely needed, even if it does make Afflalo’s lackluster start to the series even more confusing
|Ty Lawson, PG 29 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 9 PTS | +11
The Nuggets typically won’t compete without Ty Lawson carrying the offense, but tonight they were able to do just that. Despite not being able to find his shot, Lawson was able to get into the paint regularly and make things happen. His passing was a cut above anything else we’ve seen in the series and it seemed he was really able to get the pace going without all the added pressure of having to score a lot just to keep the Nuggets within striking distance.
|Al Harrington, PF 27 MIN | 0-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -1
Harrington looked like he didn’t care and played even worse. Injured or not, Harrington is keeping his teammates off the court and the lack of intensity and hustle in his game was tough to take. I have literally never seen a professional player act so indifferent and disinterested in a playoff atmosphere. The Nuggets are counting on Al’s professionalism and unselfishness to help them win. Injury is not a good enough excuse for whatever Harrington is providing them with right now.
|Andre Miller, PG 28 MIN | 8-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 24 PTS | -5
Miller’s finest game all year, and it just so happens he saved all of his best performances for the playoffs. Miller has obliterated the matchup with Steve Blake and been a magnificent player for Denver all series long. Miller’s decision making and point guard instincts are top notch. He makes things easier for everyone else on the floor when he’s dialed in and proved why doubting his unorthodox style can come back to bite you.
|Corey Brewer, SF 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -1
Tough to grade Brewer’s performance. He was not much of a factor before catching an inadvertent elbow from JaVale McGee which took him out of commission for much of the second half.
|JaVale McGee, C 33 MIN | 9-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | -6
Another dominant performance. For the first time all series, I thought Denver looked like a legitimately better team with McGee matched up on the Laker bigs. There is not much more to say about McGee’s performance, his superior length and athleticism created spectacular play after spectacular play and it didn’t seem to matter much what the Lakers did in response. JaVale dominated