Denver Nuggets Zeitgeist: Coach in control?

The 2012 NBA Draft went like a lot of people thought it wouldn’t. With their first selection the Nuggets took a European player on virtually nobody’s radar and with their second selection they took someone high on everyone’s radar… the first-round radar, that is. Immediately following the Draft there was, for the most part, a negative and visceral outburst by fans (and columnists) in reaction to the surprise selection, and while the visceral part is understandable, the negative deserves some perspective.

Prior to the 2012 Draft Masai Ujiri’s track record was essentially flawless. That wasn’t an opinion, but more a consensus. Every move he had executed, every signing he had coaxed — it was all masterful. If you wanted, you could probably make an argument that his most recent test (the 2012 NBA Draft) was on par with everything he’s done up to this point. Truth is, nobody who covers the Nuggets knows the draft on a scale evenly remotely close to what he does, so until his most recent additions take the court for everyone to see, Ujiri is still untouchable.

But here’s the difference between the threshold that was his track record prior to the Draft and following it: Ujiri admitted himself that there was more at work with the Nuggets first-round selection than just going for the best player available. For those who follow the draft closely, you know, this is a cardinal sin.

The theory sort of goes that the first round contains the most amount of talent (shocking, I know). No matter what type of dire financial situation you’re encompassed by, no matter how many duplicates you have at one position, no matter what type of team needs you possess — selecting the best player available should never ever appear anywhere but No.1 on your priority list.

When the Nuggets selected Fournier with the 20th pick in the first round, questions regarding whether the team followed this time-honored principle were immediately raised. At the time, Perry Jones and Jared Sullinger were still on the board. Both were considered top 10 picks as recently as three months ago by many of the best draft analysts in the world. Both ended up going to first-class organizations (with highly regarded general managers) who have appeared in the NBA Finals at least once over the last three years: Sullinger to the Celtics and Jones to the Thunder.

Not long after, Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke corroborated their fans’ unsettling sentiments by holding a dubious press conference with a palpable narrative: that they were happy with the team as is. The duo repeatedly touched on this theme throughout the night even though it should have had nothing to do with the way they approached the Draft.

In his opening statement Kroenke introduced the thesis, saying “our team was in a pretty good position across the board… our existing roster we felt deserved to move forward and compete together.”

Ujiri then followed closely behind revealing that “as George [Karl] has said, Jordan Hamilton is our rookie for next year… You have to give [your players] more of a chance, maybe… our players need to develop as much as we can… we’re happy with our team and we’ll keep plugging away… We wanted that option [of Fournier playing overseas]… our roster is pretty full and pretty full with young guys.”

It’s as if they felt the need to justify the Fournier selection. Instead of saying “we got the guy we wanted,” they continuously fell back on the alibi “we’re happy with our team; we needed no improvements.” If they had landed Royce White or Andrew Nicholson, both of whom they publicly expressed interest in (who RMC also had ranked as Top 3 selections throughout our Big Board series leading up to the Draft), would they have said the same thing? It’s like assembling a team of superheroes to fight a villain-driven apocalypse, knocking on the last guys’ door and saying “Look, we kind of already have a full squad here. If you want to come you can, but we’d really prefer if you just stayed home and sat this one out, you know, so you don’t get in the way. Hope you understand!”

But the worst part of this supposed overseas “flexibility,” that factored so highly into the decision to draft Fourier given how many times Ujiri mentioned it in the press conference, is that one side (the side that actually has to go overseas and play the basketball) doesn’t even want it in the first place. That’s right, Fournier doesn’t want to play in Europe any longer. He’s done. He wants to come over to the NBA. The very next day after he was drafted, when meeting with the Denver media Fournier proclaimed, “I want to play (for the Nuggets) next season. I don’t want to come back to Europe. I need to be the best player I can, score and play defense.”

That’s about as clear, cut and dry as it gets.

This, of course, raises all sorts of questions, starting with, did Ujiri even cover this potential roadblock prior to drafting Fournier? You’d think, logically, that if Fournier was so high on the Nuggets wish list that prior to the Draft during any number of their interviews with him, at some point in time, they would have gone over this situation. If not, then Ujiri essentially structured his draft around a “flexibility” that never existed in the first place. That valuable last roster spot they so desperately (and erroneously) desired, which they did not want to give to a rookie, might very well end up going to a rookie when it’s all said and done anyways, especially when you throw Quincy Miller in the mix.

(Side Note: How awkward is the conversation between the general manager and the guy drafted to be stashed that doesn’t actually want to be stashed?

Ujiri: So Evan. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that we like you, a lot. You’re our guy! At the same, time we kind of had the intention of stashing you away.

Evan: But I don’t want to be stashed.

Ujiri: I understand, you’re eager to play in the NBA. I like that. That’s good. But–

Evan: –I don’t want to be stashed.

Ujiri: You have no choice but to be stashed.

Evan: No. I came here to play. I’m not going back to Europe.

Ujiri: Look man, you gotta understand where I’m coming from. I have a coach who hates rookies — hates em. When I ordered him to play Faried last year, I thought he was going to drop dead on the spot. You should have seen the expression on his face. It was like I backed up one of those giant boulder-hauling dump trucks filled with baby kittens and just unloaded it off a cliff into shark-infested waters. We have an extremely young roster, and as you can imagine, limiting these confrontations is No. 1 on my priority list at this point in time. So, you either get stashed or you end up fetching cough drops for the guy during every waking minute of your life over the next year.

Evan: Wow. That’s extremely graphic, Masai. I’m sorry. But I just can’t budge. I’m coming Denver.

Ujiri: We’re stashing you.

Evan: Cough drops it is then!)

Coaches and NBA general managers have very different agendas. This is well documented. When given the choice, general managers will always prefer to build for the future and avoid ephemeral fixes; coaches, on the other hand, have only one goal in mind and that’s to win as many games as possible regardless of how crippled the team may be in the long run because of it.

No matter how much Ujiri likes and appreciates Karl as coach, it’s absolutely imperative he maintains a fine line between front office dealings and coaching. Even going so far as to re-sign Karl’s favorite player — the 36-year-old Andre Miller — to a reasonable contract is a questionable decision given Miller’s age, shoddy defense and Karl’s affinity towards playing a two-point guard lineup. Karl recently praised Jordan Hamilton as a likely top 10 selection in this year’s draft but with Harrington and Chandler ahead of him on the depth chart and Miller taking all the backup shooting guard minutes how is he ever supposed to see playing time?

Nobody will ever know what Nuggets strategy was heading into the 2012 Draft. If Ujiri really did have Fournier as the best player available when the Nuggets selected at 20, then this point (and entire article, for the most part) is moot, thankfully; however, the actions displayed after the fact would suggest otherwise. From the surface (and according to Ujiri himself) it appears as though drafting a player who could be stashed overseas for several years played a key role in selecting the lone foreign pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. If true, this will go down as the first real blemish on Masai Ujiri’s otherwise spotless record, as letting a coach who once vetoed a David Lee for Linas Kleiza trade dictate your draft strategy therefore preventing you from selecting the best player available, is some straight up Elgin Baylor-Donald Sterling type of stuff the Nuggets just don’t need to be on… ever.

For now, Ujiri is still untouchable.

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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.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • Cole World

    This is why we will never win with George Karl!! This guy Said he’s not sure of Jordan Hamilton is going to play this season! Man I cannot wait till George Karl contract runs out! This is so frustrating.. I wish masai would just fire George SMH

    • David

      Guys this is another of our problems, you were so high on this draft but look at how young this team is. I am not american and i don’t follow college sports; bringing 60 guys into the NBA every season in a leagues of only 450 players does not make sense. We have to be realistic and think about making some kind of trade that will give us a big-time player and not through a draft on the 20th pick that will give us a player not better than a Wilson Chandler; he is not even in top 5 players on our team.

    • Thomas

      Masai is a puppet of GK. He is just an average young GM – deferring to an “old school” guy w/ a reputation. Nothing good coming out of here until GK goes.

  • DAN

    Well I guess we’ll find out. Really hoping this turns out well. I wonder how Ujiri would look if Fournier is a bust and Miller an All-Star? Would it reflect well or poorly? Interesting…

    • Eddi0

      Agree, definitely a defensive minded coach. Leading the league in scoring and a well below average defense will not win us a title.

      I still think Jeff Van Gundy would be ideal, dude knows a thing or two about defense (see: Knicks/Rockets).

      • ryanvdonk

        anyone but jeff van gundy, guy has never won anything but acts like the greatest coach to have walked the earth, his teams ALWAYS choke. i’d rather have the van gundy with a mustache.

        • Evan Woodruff

          If Jeff Vangundy became the Nuggets coach I would cease to be a Nuggets fan. And that’s really saying something for me.

  • Trevor

    I would like to see the Nuggets bring in a younger, defensive minded coach when Karl retires/gets fired just to change things up a little. Having a veteran coach like Karl has probably made Masai Ujuri’s job a little more difficult than it should be. This is a big year for Karl, with the players the Nuggets have and the improvement some of their young core players should be making, if the Nuggets finish the same or worse than last season Karl has got to go.

  • Sky67

    If we got a new coach I’d like mike dntoni he will run our offense to perfection and not hate on Quincy.

  • Mr. Nice Watch

    George Karl is a joke get him outta here. Promote Melvin Hunt to head coach or get brain shaw from the lakers…

    • Zack

      Brian Shaw is currently an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers. But yes I agree, the Nuggets need to get a new coach in here. And Shaw will be a head coach someday.

  • Poz_303

    Whoa, a lot of GK hate here. This article is mostly speculation. I hope Evan Fournier was the best player available on the Nuggets draft board when chosen at 20. If not, its a recipe for disaster. But we can’t assume any mistake by Masai is automatically Karl’s fault.

  • Daniel
  • Denver4ever

    I don’t know about this guys. Maybe you just didn’t understand. If Fournier even plays here, the RMC crew might write another article about George Karl’s 240-minute dilemma. What an inconsistent article. If Fournier doesn’t understand the real view of the situation, he might be the new passenger of the ride called “Trade Machine”.

  • Gary

    If Evan can develop a shot form the outside in the NBA then that is what the Nugs need. Trade options are still open for them to pick up a good shooter without blowing up the team. The Nugs still have limited FA ability if they want it, or they can wait for the trade market to heat up. They have lots of options going forward. Andre was able to turn it around late in the season when he saw injuries and fatigue set in around the league. Since he signed here, his attitude should be better from day one. If he re-upped he must see something he likes. He could have got that deal in a lot of places. I would love to see them trade Chandler and the Bird for something good. A backup for Faried maybe? Looking forward to the season and the upcoming changes.

    • Ryan

      Problem is, the Nuggets need outside shooting and one of Fournier’s biggest weaknesses is outside shooting. If he stays in Denver next year, he will not see the floor.

      • Michael (anotheraussienuggzfan)

        He has a good outside shot, the reason his percentages were low is because he was ‘the man’ on a rather average side and ended up taking under pressure 3’s at the end of the shot clock and or with a defender on him.
        The good thing is, that he realised that his shot selection was not the best and that he was trying to make better decisions with the ball.
        The bonus of this is, that he is not afraid to take a big shot and doesn’t pay too much attention to his percentages (as he had hoisted a few half court shots at the end of quarters). This shows he’d rather try and get his team a bucket than worry about his own personal stats.

    • MK

      What he likes to re-up here is that the Coach is totally googoo crazy in love with him when he’s got a bench of young, talented guys that NEED to play to reach the level of talent that is now the Western Conference of the NBA.

      If GK was gone, that money gets spent somewhere else for something the Nuggets actually need like outside shooting.

  • Cory Wansley

    If only one person reads this i don’t care. I say the Nuggets make a move for Dwight Howard. This way we can let McGee walk, we open up space for rookies(who cares what GK thinks it’s Dwight), and we get BIG REAL BIG. We can become contenders with this kind of move. Even though Dwight already is choosing Brooklyn. At least there is some hope in this, right?

    • QMiller Time

      Zero chance he stays after season. No guarantee he leads us to a title in just one year. We would have to let him walk or sign and trade with Brooklyn and get brook Lopez( that’s best case scenario)

      I’d prefer to keep McGee, picks and other players such as chandler. Dwight wouldn’t even consider staying in a cold small to medium market even if we won the title with him.

      I like the boldness of the idea just not feasible and would never happen

    • Zack

      This idea would really be dumb if the Nuggets have to give up a whole lot for a one year rental on Dwight. He doesn’t automatically make us title contenders unless we give very little to the Magic, which won’t happen. I don’t like this idea because there is ZERO chance Dwight stays with the Nuggets and he’s already been a huge headache in Orlando.

  • Cory Wansley

    Kalen please check into this and see what we would have to give up besides the obvious draft picks that we don’t need because we have so many players to develop.

    • Kalen

      The Nuggets have more pieces to trade than just about anybody. On paper it would look good. The problem is, Dwight Howard is a crybaby, primma donna, spoiled brat, who’s dead set on going to Brooklyn or another big-market team at worst. Even if the Nuggets landed him for a decent package and even if they went as far as, say, the Western Conference Finals (which is no guarantee), they’d still have no insurance that he’d re-sign. Why would he when he could just go anywhere he wants as a free agent? The Nuggets and Ujiri already went through this scenario once with Melo and that was enough drama to last a lifetime. There’s just no way, after all they’ve been through to maintain a competitive team since Melo departed, that they’d risk it all for another situation like that. Big stars with big egos just don’t want to be in Denver. The Nuggets are much better off building through the draft and trying to land players who aren’t as concerned with their image.

      • Cory Wansley

        thanks kalen, you are absolutely right about the big egos hope Evan Fournier is the Next Ginobli and Quincy Miller plays like he never tore his ACL.

        • Cory Wansley

          Do you think the Nuggets should make a trade? and if we do for who? or keep roster like QMiller Time suggests?

          • QMiller Time

            I meant make a trade eventually but I don’t know who we should trade – give it a season it will become clearer

          • Kalen

            Well — good question by the way — I love certain aspects of the Nuggets roster. The fact they have a lot of young talent, with nobody being vastly overpayed is fantastic. I really like the team’s draft picks over the last several years, as they’ve found excellent value in both rounds. I really believe Jordan Hamilton, Kenneth Faried and Quincy Miller are all going to be very good pros, which is why I’ve lobbied for a big time trade so hard.

            The problem right now is that the Nuggets have too many good young players who deserve court time and a chance to develop. Nobody is doing that on the bench.

            The Nuggets know they have to make a big time trade sometime soon. I felt the draft would have been the time to do it. That’s the best way to insure franchise players stay with your team for as long as possible.

            I’ve always liked Josh Smith. I love James Harden. Guys like that can really propel the Nuggets into the championship stratosphere they aim to compete in, unfortunately they won’t win you a title alone. But, it’s a start.

            • Gary

              While I agree with most of what you say, I disagree with the draft trade scenario. There is way too much talent out there on the FA market that teams think they can get. I think the best value for a trade comes next week when teams are disappointed by their FA pursuits. When teams come up short there, then they will be willing to talk to the Nugs about picking up some of the Nugs talent (chandler) or others. Then we might be able to unload the Bird and pick up a dissatisfied player from a bottom feeder. Time is on the Nugs side. They don’t need to rush into a trade that does not give them good talent back. There are enough GM’s and coaches on the hot seat that someone will step forward. Houston,Washington, GS, Toronto are just a few that might be willing to dance in the upcoming weeks.

  • Sally Porter

    What is going on with Chris Anderson.. Seems unjust that the inuindo was flying fast and furious and nothing of charges or vendication…

    • Justin

      He’s old and useless, we have no need for him. He also has a big contract. I know he’s a ladies man or whatever, but fans should not expect to see him next year.

    • Poz_303

      Havent heard anything since but these investigations can take months. Regardless, he is fourth in the center rotation and with Faried, Harrington and likely Gallo ahead of him at the PF position, I see no logic in keeping him with almost $5 Million/yr guaranteed for the next two years. If we could trade him I’d be all for that, but I dont think anyone will touch him right now. So best course of action would be amnesty, even if its just to relieve a roster spot to either sign Fournier or another FA (for a lot less money).

  • Cory Wansley

    A sign and trade of McGee possibly to get Dwight

    • Poz_303

      As much as it would be great to see D. Howard in a Nuggets uniform I think people have to be realistic and give up that dream. It’s not going to happen. Best scenario, McGee goes to Olajuwon camp, makes huge strides over the next couple of years and becomes our D.Howard.

      Nuggets are going to a running team with the best bench in the NBA. By running teams off the floor it gives us the best chance to use our bench depth to our advantage. We have the team to execute this game plan.

      • ryanvdonk

        i heard that shaq was going to bring him in for a couple weeks this summer…couldn’t hurt, kazaam always had good footwork and moves in the post.

    • gfacekillah8

      dude you really need to get off this Dwight Howard thing. the nuggets are not going to unload all the youth and cap room that they have worked hard to obtain to get a guy who will leave in a year. if they did that they should all be fired. there is a 0% chance he will sign with denver after his contract is up.

  • QMiller Time

    Karl is a good coach BUT as everyone knows he doesn’t like taking a chance with young guys which is why I’d prefer a coach who is determined to develop and teach rather than win (that sounds bad but obviously I mean it might cost us a few games, it might not- I dont mean tanking for a lottery pick).

    Denver should have drafted perry jones and amnestied birdman but if that had of happened maybe Quincy miller wouldn’t have been available at 38 so I can’t complain.

    I genuinely think that unless gallo magically turns into an all star this season, he should be traded with maybe 2 years to make room for Hamilton and Quincy miller who IMO have more talent than anyone else at that position on our roster.

    There should be a time where the chandler v gallo debate ends in favour of Hamilton and Quincy miller but whether they get the playing time to develop is questionable

    Either way we shouldn’t trade anyone just yet but maybe in a year everyone will have a clearer picture of where this team is headed and who should be staying or going

    Crunch year for Lawson gallo McGee and chandler

  • QMiller Time

    I’m no coach expert but is there a coach out there who plays offence like GK but also is committed to defense like a Nate McMillan and at the same time puts development as a high priority?
    Well I want that guy

    !wait I know someone who does this! John callipari! I know he failed first time in the NBA – time for a second chance?

    As much as everyone wants GK gone (myself included) fans must acknowledge how his fast paced style suits our players and Denver itself with its energy zapping altitude

  • chronicnugs

    is Josh a puppet of GK? if youre not willing to say they both are than stfu. these guys present the most united front in denver sports. honestly… y’all need to stop with the bsh!t. stop it.

    i’ve been watching this team since 84. i have no more credibility than anyone here but i certainly have more perspective than many. this is as well as this team has ever been managed. TRUST ME.

    • chronicnugs

      i’d like to remove the last two sentences. it turns sound logic into trash talking.

      kalen makes some great points that i happen to disagree with. if the mod’s could remove those i’d appreciate it.

      • chronicnugs

        LOL. actually, three sentences. keep up the good work guys.

    • Poz_303

      Ignoring your last paragraph, as Kalen is more than capable of defending himself, you do make a very good point.

      I think Masai, Josh and George Karl have been on the same page. The team would not function if they weren’t.

      Denver does not attract all-star players. So how does a smaller market team compete? What advantages are there to playing in Denver. The answer, depth and speed.

      Together Masai, Josh and George have built a team that can run the floor in every position and has the deepest bench in the NBA. This gives Denver the greatest chance of winning.

      With such a young team, there is a possibility a number of these players develop into all-stars. All the players seem to have bought into the system, it’s time the fans do too.

      I think the future is very bright.

      • al68

        Para que sirve un equipo profundo si luego tienes en pista a un jugador que no defiende nada que solo muestra interes en los ultimos dos partidos de temporada, estoy hablando de Miller como todos sabeis, a costa de no sacar a j ham, no utilizar a Andersen, etc….

        Creo que deberiamos buscar un jugador estrella como j smith, o dos grandes jugadores como Martin y Scola, (gallo + Modgov+ 1st rd)y pienso que serían factibles ambos.

        Lawson+ Martin+Chandler+Scola+Mcgee (j ham, miller, manimal, brewer,afflalo) sería un equipo de + 50 victorias seguro.

        Estos dias he visto videos de Fournier, es un jugador muy joven y por lo que he seguido a los jugadores europeos que han jugado en la NBA, a los 19 años y europeo es una loteria saber donde puede llegar.

    • Kalen

      Done, however please think twice about posting instant reactions next time.

      I’m not exactly sure what you were so upset about anyways. I praised Ujiri multiple times throughout the article, even ending with he’s still “untouchable.” All I suggested was that things can get quite sticky when the coach gets more involved than he should with the management aspect of the team. Like poz_303 said, this article is just speculation — that’s all. I never once said anything about wanting Karl to be fired (you’ll know when I do that). The title is even a question mark for crying out loud. I don’t know how much more dubious I can come off.

      For the record, I’m in full support of Evan Fourier and the Nuggets front office. I’ve said time and time again that Ujiri is one of the best GMs in the NBA. Please do not read anymore into this article than what’s on the surface.

      Thanks for reading.

  • Swaggy P

    If we are going to trade up in the draft next year or eventually trade a bunch of guys for a “star”, we need to think about it logically.

    Centre- we should re-sign javale McGee. He has upside and could eventually become a low level all star simply because of the lack of depth at the centre spot in this league. There isn’t anyone worth trading to upgrade this position significantly apart from Bynum and Howard and they aren’t coming so logically we should just stick with McGee

    Power forward- fairied could eventually be a top 10 player at this position, he’s no star but worthy of being a starter nonetheless. Power forward is a possibility to find an upgrade however I think fairied is young and works hard enough to be the guy.

    Small forward – we have 5 very capable guys. I don’t think there is a team that would accept a package of a couple or more lesser small forwards and send us back a significant upgrade unless some guy demands his way to Denver (an anti-carmelo)- just not gonna happen. I think out of gallo, chandler, Hamilton and Quincy miller one of them can become at the very least a border line all star. Either way at some point we will have to start trading some away

    Shooting guard – Afflalo is a good player. Never gonna be a star but a player that every team wishes they had. There aren’t many available upgrades for him out there currently however SG is still a possibility when trading for our “star”. Maybe fournier is the next ginobli

    Point guard- ty Lawson is a star. A low level one but still a star. Who is better than him? Paul, Williams, rose, westbrook, rondo, Parker, Nash and its highly likely Irving and wall become better as well. Seems like a lot of guys but guess what you aren’t getting one of those guys any time soon. There are no upgrades for Lawson

    Conclusion- maybe we have many potential stars on this roster already between Lawson, McGee, fairied, gallo, chandler, Hamilton, Quincy miller and Evan fourneir. Either way we have too many players and a trade is inevitable.

    If we were to trade for a star it seems plausible to target a SG or maybe PF whether it be high in the draft or for a young veteran.

    Best case scenario there is some super star SG who is from Denver in the 2016 draft- we trade up and get him and we never have to worry about him pulling a carmelo

    • Zack

      What if said SG star from Colorado is like LeBron? He was a superstar, got drafted by his hometown team, and just up and left them because he needed Bosh and Wade to win a title.

      I agree with your premise, but I think Lawson has the best shot to take another step and be just a small level below All-Star caliber player. I like the team but we have too many players and not enough playing time. A trade involving multiple Nuggets is almost bound to happen.

    • ryanvdonk

      i think hamilton has the ability to play the 2 as well as the 3, could help with the huge logjam at small forward if you move him to the other wing spot on the depth chart.

  • nuggz2

    While I do agree with the FO about having a good, deep team, I think the Nuggets need to get tougher. They’re as deep and athletic as any team but they let teams push them around at times. Hopefully giving them a full offseason and year of playing together most of their problems can be addressed. Many people forget that the team as it is now has yet to play even one season together. Give them a chance.

    As far as Dwight Howard, couldn’t the Nuggets package something with Mozgov or Koufous and Gallo and maybe add Harrington? It would give Orlando a couple of young players and a good player in Harrington in exchange for one year of play from Howard who would be leaving at the end of the year anyway. It would also give the Nuggets flexibility after Howard left.

    • Zack

      If I’m Orlando I’d much rather have either Bynum or MarShon Brooks and Brook Lopez than Gallo, Kouf/Moz & Big Al.

      That said, if you can trade Gallo, Moz and Al for Dwight I’d be very tempted to do it. If the Magic somehow like that trade better than Bynum or Lopez/Brooks, I think I’d do it. I think the Magic would want multiple draft picks, however, and I don’t know if that would work (because Dwight will leave after this season, 99.999% guaranteed).

  • tron7

    This is a ridiculous post on so many levels. I tend to not comment if I don’t like something but posts like this make me think so much less of this blog. I come to this blog to read about the Nuggets and I’m met with this circlejerk about how much you hate the coach. Just stop, it’s embarrassing.

    • TJ McBride

      You do realize that the entire purpose of blogs and different articles are to provoke thought and to trade opinions right? Just because you dont like the article does not give you the right to call this blog or piece a “circlejerk” or “embarresing”. If your so knowegable then go make your own blog. RMC is one of the better blogs that i have read and Kalen puts in massive amounts of work for people, like you and me, to read. Dont be a douche and come on here and talk shit. Calm down.

  • Chris

    Gallo needs togo to big mans camp, and lift some weights, because he weak.

  • Chris

    Maybe the nuggets need a new personal trainer.

  • Chris

    Jordan Ham Needs to bee starting over AAA

    • ryanvdonk

      im as big a j-ham fan as anyone, but he needs to earn it first, whether in training camp or by his play throughout the season, by next year we will have a better idea of what he can develop into.

  • asdqqq

    I disagree with the “best player available” premise that this whole article is based on, as does nearly every reputable NBA scout and general manager. Nearly all of them use tiers, not an absolute list. Within a tier, stuff like who you have at the position, roster flexibility, etc. are not only legitimate to look at, but also incredibly stupid to ignore. The success of a draft pick depends on more than just talent, it also depends on development, opportunity, fit, etc. This is especially true when you get to later picks in the draft. For example, when Nash got picked he was behind 3 all-stars on the depth chart, Kidd, Cassell, and KJ. He obviously had the talent, but Phoenix didn’t get any benefit from it in his initial stint with the team because of how the team was constructed.

    “Nobody will ever know what Nuggets strategy was heading into the 2012 Draft. If Ujiri really did have Fournier as the best player available when the Nuggets selected at 20, then this point (and entire article, for the most part) is moot.”

    Well, then this entire article is moot. Because the Nuggets strategy heading into the draft isn’t some great mystery; Ujiri extensively discussed it after the draft. The transcript is available on the team website. Ujiri expressly stated that he uses the tier approach and that Fournier was chosen from the people in the highest tier level still available, and apparently he was one of last players left before they saw a significant drop off:

    “When we do our draft, we have them in different blocks. He was one of the guys that we had there. Obviously there were a couple guys. Mike and Herb have done an incredible job of scouting for us. Herb Livsey and Mike Bratz scoured all over the world and had everybody covered. Most of the guys we had went in the top 20, so I think those guys have done a great job. Fournier was right there where we wanted him. We were lucky to grab him. You go to a certain point and you get, not worried because you always think you can figure it out, but you get to a certain point where you feel, ‘ok, maybe it’s a drop-off from here.’ Obviously there are a couple players that have issues and you’re a little skeptical. We’re happy we got a very talented player where there will be options. We’ll figure it out.”

  • Andrew

    1) Agree with the concern over the Fournier pick, but also agree it is too early to tell what is going to come out of it or the Nuggets this year (still need to sign McGee, there may be a trade looming with Miller/Chandler/other or even a free agent pickup). I am good with waiting to see what happens…and it is not like any of us have a choice.
    2) As much as I would like a new coach, Karl is going to be given a chance next far to lead this team. We can only pray that being forced to play Faried opened his eyes and mind a bit and that he will give JHam and Stone some minutes this year early on to give them a chance.
    3) Maybe I’m wrong, but the only chance the Nuggs have at a title next year are if a) McGee blossoms into the big he can be, b) a couple of the other SG/SFs they have develop into a serious scoring threat: i.e., Gallo (which he looked like during part of the season)/JHam/QMiller/Chandler/Fournier), and c) somebody steps up as a perimeter defender (most likely Stone, but maybe JHam, QMiller, etc). We also need somebody that can improve as a post defender to save Faried from difficult height disadvantages. Hopefully that’s McGee, but I actually like both Koufos and Moz as backups, depending on the matchup.

    • Poz_303

      I agree, especially with point #3. However, I believe we already have the players to defend the perimeter, and having McGee also enables this more than ever.

      The issue was not so much with individual players but with rotation. this will be worked on this training camp and I think we will see a much better cohesive effort this coming season.

      • Andrew

        I agree with you. Hopefully, with McGee starting, the rest of the Nuggets will not feel the need to sag off of their men so much and that perimeter d can be shored up.

  • Poz_303

    Looks like Kalen has rocked the boat a little with this BLOG. Yes, I said it, blog. Not a factual news piece but an opinionated and speculative article. After all, in general, that is what a blog is. And a good read I might add. It certain has sparked some debate and some unwarranted responses.

    His last words “For now, Ujiri is still untouchable.” should resonate with everyone.

    There was certainly some head scratching when Nuggets selected Evan Fournier at 20, mostly because he wasn’t on people’s radar, but obviously was on the Nuggets draft board. I think the hype surrounding PJIII and Sullinger, both assumed lottery picks not long before the draft, had people foaming at the mouth when they were still available at 20.

    “For now, Ujiri is still untouchable.” meaning Kalen, at the end, still trusts what the Nuggets are doing but is it so wrong to want to discuss/debate the merits of their pick?

    As fans we want the best team possible, I believe Kalen was right on the money with White and Nicholson being the Nuggets prime targets, but they were off the board at 20.

    He is certainly just in discussing Fournier’s desire to play this year against the Nuggets desire to have him stay in France. It’s obviously something the Denver FO have to address. Was this an oversight by the Denver front office to assume that Evan would be OK with playing out his contract in France? Perhaps. And hence, its worth discussing.

    You may agree or disagree with the article (or Kalen’s take on the situation), hence the opportunity to post your comments.

    I, for one, enjoy reading the comments when they either support the opinion or have an interesting/different perspective.

    But personal attacks or inappropriate comments really only reflect poorly on those who make them and detract from what is an open forum for Nuggets fans to debate and discuss the team we all support.

    • Andrew

      One of the best posts in awhile, POZ 303. Well put.

    • Gordon

      Was something deleted? I haven’t seen the level of inappropriateness you’re talking about.

      I think Kalen’s articles/blog posts are great, certainly better than the Nuggets reporting in the local paper. His offseason work has been stellar. That’s why I cruise by here. I hate seeing good articles have 5 comments on them, so I’m glad this one’s getting some run.

      But (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) the gist of this article is:

      1) Fournier was not the BPA, and admitting it’d be a nice option to stash him for a year “proves” it
      2) The only reason to stash him is because George has too much control of this org
      3) George is a moron who should never have talent input
      4) So Masai might have made a mistake, but let’s not jump to conclusions even though we just did

      Believe me, I wasn’t thrilled about drafting him, but his desire to come over doesn’t mean anything if we don’t let him come over. He has one more year on his club contract. Unless we buy him out or he arranges it himself, he’ll play there.

      And if he makes the roster here instead, then it should still be for “basketball reasons” and not because Masai somehow made a mistake by taking a kid with that option.

      The other options given for the BPA, Jones and Sullinger, were all passed on by 10+ other teams if they were top-10 talents. I’m pretty sure all of them weren’t abandoning the BPA philosophy themselves, so there had to be real, legit reasons they used to determine that those guys were not the best available, and Masai apparently agreed. No reasons are given – other than Masai’s consideration for stashing Fournier – to suggest the Nuggs didn’t believe Fournier was the best player at that spot, all things (including injury or cajone-size) considered.

      If Fournier comes out in Summer League and faceplants, and THEN the Nuggs put him on the roster and ground his hapless self on the bench all year, then I’d be happy to make some apologies on this thread because I’ll have a lot more evidence on this side of the argument.

      Of course, after all that Fournier could still take advantage of his stateside coaching and light it up in 2013-14, making all those points moot.

      If somebody doesn’t like the pick, I’m cool with that. It certainly doesn’t thrill me. But to say it’s illustrative of Karl’s lich-like reach in this org and another example of Masai bending knee to King George seems like a stretch, when the simple answer can just be, “Fournier was the guy we liked best – and yes, we can space out our picks better this way too.”

      I’m really looking forward to Kalen’s breakdowns of those summer games – they should be exceedingly interesting, and right now I’m craving more data on Q and Fournier for sure.


      • Poz_303

        Some comments were removed. I just think its inappropriate to personally attack Kalen for offering his opinion. I actually disagree with some of Kalen’s take in this article but certainly enjoy discussing the merits on which his opinion is based.

        Definitely Kalen’s insight on the players available to the Nuggets in this past draft is much appreciated and well informed.

        I am looking forward to the summer league and hope to catch some games on NBA TV, then coming to RMC to see their insightful take on players performance.

        • Gordon

          In that case I absolutely agree. I come here for the quality opinions (even in the few cases where I disagree). Let the insult machines go bag on Klis for the poorly thought out flame-baiting articles he writes.

  • Gordon

    I don’t get why people are so pissed about Fournier. Because we didn’t get to see him in the NCAA tournament and fall in love with him? Because we already have players at his position? Because he’s been labelled as terrible after watching 5 minutes of video?

    Ujiri made his bones – and got his front office stripes – in international scouting. If there’s anybody I’d trust with a foreign player in the first, it’s him. From his statement he obviously had concerns about Sullinger’s back, and Perry’s sprained motor might have been a concern even if his knee wasn’t. We were lucky to get Miller later, but all the talk was that Dallas really wanted Fournier a couple of picks after we drafted him, so they felt about him the way we felt about White and Nicholson – robbed when he didn’t fall to them.

    Masai was asked whether his plans changed after Nicholson went off the board, and he basically said yes. If White or Nicholson were there we’d have gone a different way, but they weren’t. So Masai’s choice was to take one of the guys on the remaining tier with the option to stash him and go from there. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    So now we just wait and see if Fournier turns into a player. If we’d drafted Sullivan and his back surgery caused his retirement would that be on Masai’s head? Or would he get a pass because it’s what people here would have done and was therefore “reasonable?”

    I don’t know enough about Fournier to be thrilled with the pick, but I’m sure drafting Tony Parker went over like a load of bricks in San Antonio too. These things can work out.

    And we got Miller as well, a more comfortable American with a ton of upside who could have been drafted at 20 without any of this screaming (ed. note: I love Q, so I’m big on this pick). Masai said that Miller was a spot or two behind Fournier, same tier. So be glad for that, and see what happens.

    I guess my question is this: is Masai a good GM because he agrees with you, or because all of his ideas (most of which you agree with) seem to work out?

    If it’s the latter, then forget how you feel about the pick and believe that a) it will work out and b) if it doesn’t work out, well, he’ll get most of the other calls right so we’re still in the black.

    Of course, then you’d have nothing to blog about. Never mind – carry on.


    • Poz_303

      People have a tendency to fear the unknown. And as most of us weren’t expecting Fournier to be drafted by the Nuggets it was a bit of a shock. Like you said, if anyone knows about international players it would be Masai. Certainly he would not draft a player merely based on the fact he could possibly “stash” him overseas for a year just to leave a better prospect on the board.

      And I think Masai, Josh and George Karl are all on the same page, as they should be, otherwise it would just not work. Hence I believe the Fournier pick was a consensus pick.

      By the way, I have enjoyed reading your comments.

  • Ryan

    While I wasn’t a fan of the Fournier selection, Ujiri says he didn’t “skip” a tier to take him simply because he had the option to stash him overseas. We’ll just have to take his word on that one and it doesn’t seem too unreasonable, as virtually every mock draft had Fournier going in the mid-to-late 20s, so it was a mild reach if anything.
    The main problem that I see is the coach having the ability to influence what his bosses do. This should never be the case. Ujiri should give Karl the best players he can and Karl should do the best job he can developing and improving said players. End of story. Karl’s dislike for rookies should never impact what Ujiri does in terms of the draft or free agency, which is what I took from Kalen’s post. I agree with this whole-heartedly, as Karl has never won a title, has been embarrassed in the playoffs numerous times with multiple organizations, and has a history of being disliked by several prominent players. For whatever reason, Karl is treated like a coaching savant and essentially gets free reign over the Nuggets, which has led to our never ending cycle of 1st round exits. Until Ujiri has the stones to mandate Karl to play the rookies more and stop letting Karl keep his “trust” guys for as long as he wants, it’s hard to see the Nuggets becoming a championship-level organization.

    • Gordon

      — “The main problem that I see is the coach having the ability to influence what his bosses do. This should never be the case.” —

      See, I dunno if I can agree with that either. Every coach has a style. The Spurs have a style of player that they draft, because there’s a style of player that works well in his system.

      George has a style. Drafting Sullinger, who may need to get up the court in a wheelchair, does not fit George’s style. Would I prefer that we draft ultra-athletic types who can play D and rebound? Sure.

      Except that’s who we drafted with Faried and Hamilton, and we’re getting that from them. Masai is taking players who can play in George’s system and hopefully decrease some of the deficiencies inherent in that system. No primadonnas, but a bunch of blue-collar go-getters. He fired or traded the lazy players – I can call Al many things last year but lazy is not one of them.

      Does George have issues overusing “Trust players”? Sure. Is the answer to that to get him nobody he can trust, or fire every player he overplays? No. You don’t survive a marriage with your wife by cutting up her credit cards, selling her car and telling her it’s for her own good.

      Ironically, if Masai would screw up in talent acquisition more often he might have more room on the roster for a late-first-rounder, but he keeps being successful. Which allows George to not play too many rookies. If Hamilton explodes on the scene this year after a full season to adjust and not get into bad rookie habits, how is that bad?

      The more Masai is able to get George to understand the plan (remember, George was here with the head cases when our plan was, “find the next shiny thing and overpay for it” and Masai is a very recent addition) the better we’ll be. George already said it was great having players listen when he coached, and he stopped sucking cough drops long enough TO coach.

      He’s got George’s buy-in on making players better and keeps praising our whole staff for their efforts. He’s accomodated George’s reluctance to play rookies while standing firm when there’s a rookie that needs to be played, to the point of clearing the way for him via trade. In return, George sounds like he’s eager to play the rookies in year two and is throwing down the gauntlet on Hamilton rather than reluctantly accepting his roster presence. And Masai’s made sure George understands what’s happening.

      Building bridges of communication is good. Creating trust with the coach is good. I’m actually fascinated to see how the team progresses with a summer to work together and perhaps implement that thing called 3-point defense.

      George is not my favorite coach. Watching him play Harrington the last quarter and a half of ballgames was infuriating, especially when Al played center. But he’s a very good coach, and he does actually know how to coach defense (I watched those Sonics teams; he really can when he chooses to). Maybe with a full summer we can get some sort of defensive presence, even if a small one.

      But a coach is not the puppet of him GM, and neither should the GM bow to every whim of his coach. If they can’t work together, the org is screwed, which is why most Gm/coach pairings are taken as a whole. If they screw up, both men tend to get blamed.

      Masai and George are learning to work together. There are worse things.


      • Landry

        When I look at the nuggets, I see a team that is well built. We have a hall of fame coach, a budding GM, and budding players. The George Karl is the most adaptable coaches in the NBA. If we were ever to try and tank with terrible players, I’m sure we would still be out of lottery contention because of his ability to win NBA games. Now the post season is an entirely new arena. A 7 game series takes not only defense, commitment, but also a little luck and to go with that hard work. This is why my favorite player on our squad is Corey Brewer as he is the only person whom knows the “intangibles” of winning.

        So with our current roster, I believe we have a clutch point guard to hit 3’s, Lawson. A defensive specialist in AAA. A dominant rebounder in Faried. And finally we have a shot blocking/fast Center in McGee if we resign him finally absolving the Nuggets of their center by committee strategy. The only position I am at a loss at is our SF position because if Brewer knew how to shoot, he would be my number 1 option as I don’t think I have ever seen Gallo block a shot or play clutch defense, he just doesn’t have the timing for either and that’s something your born with. Frankly, I wish GK would play Gallo at the Center position or the Stretch 4 rather than Big Al whom actually plays tough, Gallo’s ridiculous flopping may actually be taken seriously by the refs as he attempting to actually defending the rim compared to the usual Gallinari defense of a SF just dunking from the perimeter after his failed flop attempt.

        So I like our SF by committee plan at the moment. With Gallo, Chandler, Brewer, and Q.Miller we may have both youth, versatility, and trade assets as I believe Brewer is our most consistent and untouchable trade asset at the position. Hopefully either Gallo or Chandler learn to run the lane this year as Brewer does because they are already much more accomplished 3 point shooters than he will ever be. The lanes are the most underrated buckets in a half-court offense as they both free space on easy back-door cuts(I mean watch Ray Allen do them) and Ty can better learn to operate the half-court set more like Andre Miller.

      • Ryan

        Are you comparing GK to Popovich? Uh, how about he wins 4 rings, or at least one, before we make that comparison. My point was that many time it seems like Ujiri and Karl are NOT on the same page (i.e. Ujiri having to give Nene the boot just to get Faried playing time). “Trust” guys are only valuable when they actually improve the team and help develop the young players. Miller loafing on D and hogging the ball or Harrington jacking up 3s every other possession is counterproductive. An astute coach would park them firmly on the bench, not tolerate their sub-par effort and selfishness because they are veterans. You can continue to laud Karl with praise for his 1,000 plus regular season victories, but I prefer to dream of bigger things than first round exits year after year.

  • imready

    I like the Nuggets strategy. I think a team with many very good players have the potential to defeat a team with a couple of stars and a mediocre supporting cast. I think upcoming season will give us a better idea how effective this strategy can be but if last season is any indication , I’m stoked for the future. Considering the team had no off season to speak of last year they played remarkably well together and if it wasn’t for injuries maybe they would have had another 5-10 wins. Growing this team into a cohesive unit by keeping them together makes sense, that can also factor in to overcoming a team that may have statistically an advantage with 2-3 of their players. Having a bench with a closer level of talent to the starters keeps you in games and wins some for you. Not have a key player or two for defenses to focus on for that final shot is an advantage. I like everything the Nuggets are doing, because it’s different make it wrong. I love people who think outside the box, that’s what we have here in Denver. That what has me excited about this coming NBA season.

  • A$AP Sancho

    We dont got patience of a high school teacher, we need to win now. The west is wide open for us. The lakers won’t win they got old stars in Nash, gasol, and Kobe. Buynum doesnt love the game he’s just out there playing for a paycheck. And I know okc is a really good team but people fail to realize is that there ganna lose either Harden or Ibaka. As we seen this offseason teams are ganna break the bank for those two and okc won’t be the same. San Antonio is old, Dallas misse out on deron Williams and the clippers are a good team but if Paul or griffin get injured then there season is lost. Memphis is also a good team but z bo is aging. The west is wide open all the nuggets need is a big move and we might get in the finals. Its great that we have all this dept but we need a player to get us into that next level. I believe in Masai that he will pull off a big move either this yet or in the incoming years, and Im not big on Karl he’s overrated hopefully he’s gone.

    • A$AP Sancho f

      Cont. he’s gone in the next few years. But if Masai makes the nuggets Championship contenders (which I think he will) and we manage to win that golden ball theN I will cry, ive been a nuggets fan since 1999 I’m only 18 but I will cry and it will be the second most wonderful thing I’ve ever witnessed.

      • dynamo.joe

        Was it boobs? It was, wasn’t it? It was boobs.

        The nuggets don’t need to make a big move. They have the player you make big moves for already. Most advanced stats say Faried is a top 20 player in the league. As a rookie!

        At least one advanced stat (WP48) says that Faried is the 2nd best player in the league, behind one Lebron James. As a rookie. With limited minutes! With no off-season, due to lock-out!

        I would have preferred that the nuggets had NOT signed Andre. Not because he isn’t a good player, but because his presence slows the development of two guys that I think are/can be better than him. They could have signed an undrafted rookie to ride pine in case of injury (like Jesse Sanders, he also would get us 1 step closer to the white-wash).

        Andre’s money could have been given to Landry fields. The 20M/3yr he got seems fair.

        I’m OK with giving Gallo another year before making a decision.

        I probably would have moved or amnestied Al because I don’t think Karl is capable of limiting him to 16 mpg. There are a couple PF FA out there Ilyasova/Ryan Anderson. At least when George over-played those guys at least he would be over-playing productive guys.

        Try to sign Javale for 10M/yr. If he wants more than 50M, then you might as well just let him walk and ask Camby if he’s willing to come back for a year.


  • Mark from Charlotte

    The Nuggs need to Amnesty Birdman and KK. Give FOURNIER AND QMILLER A CHANCE TO PLAY THIS YEAR, resign Mcgee and with a full summer and training camp this team will be contenders in the west. FOURNIER AND QMILLER should play on the summer league team.

    • Poz_303

      Well, you can only use amnesty once and on a single player. I would amnesty Birdman but there is no need to amnesty or release K2. And why would you? With Rudy gone and amnesty of Birdman we could sign both Fournier and Q. Miller.

      PG – Ty / A.Miller / Stone
      SG – AAA / JHam / Fournier
      SF – Gallo / Chandler / Brewer / Q.Miller
      PF – Faried / Harrington
      C – McGee / Mozgov / K2

      That’s your 15 man roster. If we stash Fournier in France for a year we either keep Birdman or amnesty him and sign a FA.

      • Andrew

        I’m actually good with this roster, but wouldn’t it be awesome if we could bring on a big PF that can defend and a proven shooter (like, maybe, Ray Allen)? Just speculating.

  • Swaggy P

    Trade gallo. He’s mentally weak. Hamilton is better than him and quincy miller will be as well

    • Poz_303

      Why would you trade Gallo? Mentally weak? And who would you get for him?

      Gallo showed signs of being borderline all-star early in the season before he badly twisted an ankle. Denver FO have high hopes for him.

      I think I would at the very least give him another season in Denver. He is only 23.

  • GK4Prez

    It seems like a lot of people are getting riled up over nothing, wait until the rotation shrinks to 8 over-used players before blowing a gasket. This should take all of about 2-3 weeks worth of games.

    • Poz_303

      I cant imagine the rotation being less than 9 players and probably 10. Every position has a strong back-up. There will be situational subs due to match-ups but for the most part this team runs 10 deep at a minimum.

      This depth gives the Nuggets every opportunity to push the ball for the entire 48 mins.

      • Poz_303

        By the way, Chu Chu will be playing in the summer league. Looking forward to seeing how he has developed. Would be awesome to see him make the roster one day. He post-draft interview last year was full of modesty and just made you wish he beat the odds and found a roster spot sometime in the future.

  • MK

    How many times do we Nuggets fans have to say this:


    Get a coach that will play the BEST players at a given position and let’s the friggin’ GM do his job. No wonder this team can’t get outta the first round–the executives can’t get out of each other’s way.

  • Swaggy P

    John callipari is the guy

    Knows how to deal with talented guys and develop them.

    Likes his teams to get up and down the floor and preaches defense.

    He is the stern influence our young players need without being thrown into GKs doghouse.

    Plus an added bonus is we might even become a bit of an attractive destination for some of those Kentucky guys when they become free agents. That’s probably a stretch but still

    He is a players coach despite being extremely disciplined

    • Zack

      I sure hope not. I don’t know about George Karl as much as the next guy, but I don’t think Coach Cal will be a very good NBA coach (as shown the first time he was an NBA coach) and I think he knows it. He’ll stay in college because he’s a good college coach. And I think if he did come coach in the NBA, he would want a big city type of team (think Knicks, Nets, Lakers, Clippers etc.).

      All that being said, I don’t know how much more I can take of Karl’s 2 point guard lineups. Andre Miller should be a backup PG, and no more. Ty Lawson should be able to run the show for 35 minutes per night. Period.

  • asdqqq

    Hollinger on ESPN is reporting that Andre Miller’s contract is partially guaranteed in the third year and is close to the mid level. That probably means it is a little more per year than the 3 million we’ve been thinking, but is shorter than we’ve been thinking. Personally, I like that trade off.

  • gfacekillah8

    Not sure if anyone is still commenting but has anyone noticed that everyone and their mom has been given an offer sheet so far……except Javale? i mean i can’t think of another restricted free agent that i haven’t heard of at least talking to multiple teams (most have gotten offers already) and i haven’t heard a peep about our boy Mcgee? i think this bodes well for us in two ways either 1. Mcgee wants to stay in Denver and isn’t entertaining other offers or 2. the market for Mcgee isn’t as good as everyone thought it would be and we will get him for cheaper than expected. anyone have any thoughts on this? maybe i am just missing something here but i think this bodes really well for us resigning him to a reasonable figure.

    • DAN

      I think it is widely believed that Denver would match an offer on McGee. Other players like Brook Lopez are in the same boat.

    • GK4Prez

      Brook Lopez Aaron Brooks, Lou Williams, Ryan Anderson, there are still plenty of guys out there that haven’t signed an offer sheet yet.

  • nugzin2040

    I like and agree with a lot of the article. Think it is strange that the Nuggets find the need to justify the Fournier pick. It’s almost like they had to defend them staying where they were and not moving up in the draft.

    Only thing is, the Nuggets don’t have to get Fournier next year. He’s under contract with his team in France for next season, and if they don’t get a considerable buyout from us it’s pretty likely he is staying overseas for one more year. Ultimately, the team has to make that decision. Is he ready, or not? Him playing in summer league might help with that decision somewhat.

  • Peter

    A lot of optimism here, which is good, but I don’t think people should really expect a chance of a championship coming out of the “we have good players at every position but no stars” model. If research has shown us anything it’s that you need superstars to win in this league. I know this is not news to most of you, but I want to look at where I think the Nuggets need to get better. If we are hoping that one of our guys turns into the all-star/go to player I believe that JaVale is the most likely candidate. You probably think I’m crazy, but I think he has the most upside of anyone on the roster. Plus with the lack of centers in the NBA I could see him getting as good as the 2nd best center in the west behind Bynum. You would naturally think Ty should be in this position as he is currently our best/most consistent player, but due to his lack of height and better players ahead of him at his position I don’t see him being an all-star any time soon. Chances are the team we face in the playoffs has a better point guard. With that said I think we are in good shape at the 1 and the 5 and those two players are good enough to win a championship if they are your starters and your 3rd and 4th best players in whatever order. Every championship team has a go to player that you run the ball through and can count on in the clutch. Way too many times for us that ends up being Andre Miller…A guy who has never won a playoff series in his life. The guy with the most tenacity, fight, energy, guts and will to win is without a doubt Kenneth “the manimal” faried. Unfortunately he is still extremely raw and flat out lacks the size to ever end up becoming a dominant big. He can be a great first big off the bench or fifth starter on a championship team. And that leaves 2 spots. As much as I like Aarron Afflalo he is at best the first or second guard off the bench for a championship team unless he is the fifth starter with 4 other all-stars. And if Gallo is your 3rd or 4th best player you can win a championship if your top 2 guys are all first and 2nd team all NBA. So all in all we have a bunch off good players but no great ones, which gives us about the same ceiling as Memphis/Indiana the last couple of years. Also known as, good enough to make the 2nd round sometimes, then overwhelmed by star power. I do like the job Massai has done so far. I believe he will be mostly judged on the trade he has yet to make which should come within the next 1-2 years. If the Nuggets are seriously considering going forward with this core and not making any significant moves and think they can win a championship with this nucleus they have to be kidding themselves. Unless Jordan Hamilton, Quincey Miller and Evan Fournier are the next coming of Richard Hamilton, Kevin Durant and Manu Ginobili…We can only hope.

  • John

    We needed to pick up Ray Allen, but he wants a ring…

  • http://yahoo mile high

    So it’s GK’s fault now if Masai drafted the wrong guy? What a lame excuse. If Fournier somehow works out and becomes a top player, does all the glory then goes to GK too?

    As the writer himself said, this entire article is moot. Not only is it based on speculation, its logic is all wrong. Even if the coach likes the current team and it will be difficult for the first round pick to crack the roster, it does not mean that the general manager should and would deliberately not pick the best player available in the draft. If you are stashing a player away, you should still stash the best player available.

  • Gahhhhhhrbage

    Ah yes, classic Kalen pulling out strings and making outlandish unsupported claims in order to villainize goerge karl. Nice work Kalen, this type of conjecture is definitely going to help your career move forward…

  • dnuggz

    Hey, George Karl is a very good coach. He coaches to his players strengths, and his teams style of play. Just look at his wins! You guys have no argument.