The Rapid Reaction generator isn’t working for me. This is the first time I’ve tried to use it this season so maybe there’s something I need to check out. Here is player analysis for whoever saw minutes tonight, followed by some things I noticed…
Brewer: He has games like this. He’s hot and cold. Tonight he was cold. Six points in 32 minutes won’t cut it in the regular season, however he did have a few nice plays throughout the game.
Faried: Mediocre. He had some nice dunks but was somewhat invisible considering he played almost 30 minutes. He needs to make his presence known more on the glass.
Koufos: I liked what Koufos did. He put up a really nice stat line considering the small amount of playing time he saw. His fundamentals are some of the best on the team. His natural ability is limited but he knows how to use it right.
Lawson: Usually he’s everywhere; tonight he was nowhere. The Suns did an excellent job of shutting him down but that can’t stop him come Halloween.
Chandler: I don’t even know what Chandler did. All I can remember is him taking one shot — one horrible shot, at that — and missing… badly. It’s only preseason and he’s rusty from injury, so we’ll let this slide. Perhaps incorporating him into the lineup more steadily as the season progresses would be best.
Randolph: One of the guys who stood out most. He took some bad shots and made a few ill-advised decisions, but overall he was not bad. He did a good job on the glass and blocking shots which is what the Nuggets need most from him.
McGee: So much better tonight than he has been throughout the preseason. He’s always going to make knucklehead plays from time to time, but he really cut back on the amount of these against the Suns. He’s by far the most talented and imposing big man the Nuggets have. While he hasn’t played well throughout the preseason I think this was a sign that he hasn’t regressed like many were thinking.
Miller: Impressive. He didn’t score many points but he did everything else well. What stood out most was his defense. He actually looked like he wanted to be guarding something with a pulse, which is refreshing considering his apathy towards defense last season.
Hamilton: Storyline of the game. A nice double-double in 27 minutes — that’s what the Nuggets need. Hubie Brown put it best: “When he’s on the floor he takes shot attempts. He’s a guy who can get you stats.” Plain and simple, Hamilton can fill it up. He’s too talented to be left out of the lineup in the regular season even though he does take one too many bad shot attempts.
Fournier: Kind of an enigma. He played like a veteran for much of the game, then started turning the ball over like he was possessed by a spurned AC. (More on this below.) Fournier has proven that he can be a nice stopgap if need be. Unfortunately, the NBA is riddled with an overwhelming amount of talent, which tends to exploit stopgaps on the regular.
Things I Noticed:
Fournier vs. Hamilton: This was a back-and-fourth battle all game long. Each player nearly mirrored the other in terms of where and when Karl inserted them in the game. If one guy made a mistake, the other guy was ready to check in. Hamilton won the battle in the end for his aggressive play and scoring ability. Although he took some bad shots, he also missed a lot of wide open ones which he usually makes. Fournier is young and will steadily improve, but right now there’s no doubt that Hamilton is more ready to log serious minutes in the NBA.
Scrub Night: This game was sloppy. You won’t ever find a game this chaotic in the regular season. The Nuggets scored 72 points. That’s really about all you need to know. Guys were hoisting up terrible shots left and right, which makes you wonder what these guys would play like without coaches. Randolph, McGee and Hamilton were especially questionable. You can’t look too much into this game but it was a decent platform for analyzing the echelon of bench players.
Speaking of Echelon: Right now we know Lawson, Iguodala, Gallinari and Faried are starting. Koufos and McGee are definitely getting minutes at the center position, meanwhile Andre Miller is the unquestioned backup point guard. You figure Wilson Chandler is a lock for playing time once healthy and with how well Brewer has been doing in preseason, he’d seem like a shoe-in for some time as well. That’s nine guys right there. Most NBA teams use a nine to 10-man rotation. George Karl has been known for using more compact lineups throughout his tenure with the Nuggets. This means there’s really only one more guy who might (MIGHT) see playing time. Where does that leave Jordan Hamilton? Randolph? And even Mozgov? Two of these three players will hardly see any time this year and while Hamilton seems to be the best, the Nuggets need length more than scoring. It will be very interesting seeing who’s in and who’s out of Karl’s Circle of Trust.
ACCCCCCCCya: Many of you already know, and if it wasn’t obvious enough tonight, AC and Ben Uzoh have been waived. AC was offered a coaching position by the Nuggets before training camp started but wanted to see what he could do on the court first. It seems like there’s a good chance that if he can’t find a home on an NBA roster this season he’ll return to Denver to take a coaching position.