Rapid Reaction: Suns 88, Nuggets 72

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.

Follow me on Twitter
  • JetLife82

    Four straight losses. I hope this team can pull it all together in the next few days. I think they should all rub chalk on their hands before each game though. The turnovers are becoming a big problem…

  • CJP32

    Didn’t get to watch the entire game, but clearly these guys were tired and probably wish they never turned up for this one. Shooting and TOs were the main issues.

    Ty, Fournier, Faried and Brewer combined for 20 TOs. JHam needed to have a good game and whilst he didn’t shoot well he did score 15 pts and 10 rebs in 26 mins – maybe GK will take note of that? Brewer didn’t have the best shooting game, but was solid on defense and took 3 charges, but 6 TOs is way too many.

    Ty just vanished this game, 2 pts and 3 asts doesn’t cut it for a guy possibly getting 45 million. Andre Miller was solid with 4 rebs, 9 asts, 4 stls with 0 TOs.

    Wilson Chandler looked bad, made his first jumper then rushed everything else, conditioning is his issue. McGee and KK looked solid in limited mins. AR shot bad but almost had a double double.

    Right now the issues are defending the perimeter, playing team defense and turnovers. Thank god the PS is over. Bring on the 76ers and the 3 game east road trip.

  • Bob

    I wouldn’t put too much stock into a preseason loss. the most important thing was not to get injured before the season. Ty especially has just been chilling out.

    Couple things:
    I hated the fournier pick in draft day, but he’s slowely won me over. With john welch helping him with his stroke over the year and next offseason, and hess bulking him up, he will be a good rotation player next year.

    Jham is ready to enter the rotation, and i’m more comfortable with him in the 6th man role than chandler

    Third, Koufos is going to end up a legitimate candidate for the MIP award this season. He looks better and there’s more big man minutes available with Al gone.

    • ryanvdonk

      this was the first preseason game i watched, but kosta is very limited by his athletic ability. i don’t think i’ve ever seen a seven footer before who’s entire game is below the rim. he has a very good hook shot with both hands, but seems to miss layups and tip ins at a high rate. defensively he gets boards by his great positioning, but unfortunately that’s about it, he’s just not a threat to block shots so other teams drive at will…he also fell asleep and got backdoored a few times.
      while mcgee is inconsistent i say we just take our lumps and let him get his groove. even with him being on and off, he is still a big deterrent on the defensive end. and as for this whole “chemistry with andre” thing, i think it’s overrated. the reason he doesn’t have it with ty is because THEY BARELY PLAY AT THE SAME TIME.

      one more thing. jordan hamilton is our best rebounder. he’s a SG, yet he works to box out, tries to grab the ball at his peak, and continues to fight after the first tip…he should give a clinic to mcgee and especially faried on boxing out, position make boards 100x easier.

      • JD

        This is wrong on many levels. J-Ham is not our best rebounder, koufus and faried are. koufus is also very athletic for his size, he is 7′ 270 pounds and has a 38″ inch vert, about the same as Russel Westbrook. I agree that he spends too much time below the rim and that he misses too many close shots but it’s not because he aint athletic enough.

        • https://twitter.com/denbutsu Joel

          It is true that J-Ham is the best rebounder among the Nuggets guards and wings. At least, according to last season’s rebound rate numbers:

          Jordan Hamilton 14.0
          Wilson Chandler 11.1
          Andre Igodala 9.6
          Danilo Gallinari 8.7
          Julyan Stone 8.1
          Andre Miller 7.1
          Corey Brewer 6.8
          Ty Lawson 6.2

        • ryanvdonk

          he does not have a 38 inch vertical, that would mean he could out jump dwight howard. you seriously believe that number? (btw, best pre-draft number i could find is 33)
          my reason for saying jham is the best rebounder is simple, faried is inconsistent at best when it comes to boxing out, but he can make up for it with freakish athleticism and relentless intensity. koufas is good at boxing out, but doesn’t have the same timing to get the ball like hamilton and gets beat out by more athletic players when he can’t fully body them. are their rebound numbers better? yes of course, hamilton plays the wing and they play down low.

  • Ban Johnson

    1. Fournier and Hamilton both looked like unquestionable NBA talent. That’s probably the most important thing. As for minutes this year, I agree that there’s not much there for either one. Hamilton has got to be chomping at the bit…Nuggets clearly have 1 too many wings.

    2. Brewer didn’t have a great game, but there’s a confidence and comfort to his game this year that is eye-opening. He just seems like a perfect 7th or 8th man for this Nuggets team going forward, as it grows into a contender — a Matt Barnes-type, only a little faster and more decisive. He’s ridiculously quick for a 6’8″ guy.

    3. Nuggets have too many good players. See #1. It’s not a bad problem to have, but it’s a problem. The Anthony Randolph signing is looking a little gratuitous right now. You mean Koufos, Gallo, and Chandler couldn’t have handled the backup PF duties?
    Mozgov is clearly around just to handle other behemoths (probably not a specialty position the Nuggets will be able to afford starting next year.)

    4. Lawson and Faried haven’t been all that good. What makes those 2 special is that extra-gear. Here’s hoping they both bring it out on Halloween. When Ty is pushing it breakneck style and the Manimal is out, this should be a wholly different team. Both are contagious, for good and ill. I need me some Manimal.

    5. Lawson/Iguodala/Gallo, Chandler, or Brewer/Faried/McGee might be the fastest conventional lineup in the history of the league. Sounds like exaggeration, but name another that beats it…

    6. Unless Ty unexpectedly takes control of this roster, George Karl’s job this year is really hard. It won’t be a smooth ride to 50+ wins.

    • dynamo.joe

      Well, I said it this summer and I’ll say it again, AR15 was just JaVale insurance. Nuggets management was kind of caught in a vise. They had to move on the Bird amnesty (whether because of his legal problems or because Karl had frozen him out), but that would have left them with only Faried/Koufos/Mozgov under contract.

      That’s a pretty bare bones frontcourt and if JaVale’s agent didn’t use it to get a higher contract he should be fired for incompetence. Enter Anthony Randolph.

      Now Masai tells JaVale’s agent “look we want McGee here for the long haul, but we don’t NEED him here. We’ll move forward with Koufos, Mozgov, and Randolph manning the 5.”

      But once JaVale signs the extension, ya, Randolph becomes a bit gratuitous. Great athletic talent, questionable decision making. Taking that 3pt shot last night ill-advised. Deciding to bring the ball all the way up court instead of dumping it off to the point guard and streaking to the basket for an alley oop, ill-advised.

      Know what you can do and what you can’t do, then do the things that you can do and refrain from trying to do the things you can’t do. That’s how you will move from superfluous to valuable rotation player Anthony.

  • GK4Prez

    Pay the man already, so we can get the real Lawsome back on the team.

  • FanZed

    So it appears that our top 7, at this point, are as follows: Lawson, Iguodala, Faried, Gallinari, McGee, Koufos, and Miller.

    Randomly sub in JHam, Brewer, Chandler, and even Fournier.

    I really don’t see how the Nugs can put enough talent on the floor to go head-to-head with the best from the Thunder, Lakers, Spurs, or Clippers. And when it comes to the closing minutes of a game, it is all about the team’s first unit. Is there any reason to expect more than a 5 seed and another first round loss from this group?

    • Evan Woodruff

      The fact that we have 2 potential allstars in galo and lawsonn, a allready-allstar in iggy and four 7 footers will go a long way. Also one of the best benches in the game will blow a lot of games open before the end.

      We can hack a Howard for days and days if we HAVE to. Iggy will lock down kobe/durrant in crunch time better then anyone else in the league, so we actually have an advantage defensively in “crunch time”.

      Scoring will not be a problem.

    • dynamo.joe

      Lawson>Westbrook
      Iguodala=Harden
      Gallo>Perkins

      That seems pretty even, especially when chucker Westbrook is denying shots to all their better shooters. I’d say edge:Denver.

      Lawson<Bryant
      Gallo>Peace
      Faried>Gasol
      Koufos<<Howard

      Again pretty even, the problem being Nash makes everyone better, so maybe last years performances by the Lakers are not relevant. On the other hand, this roster is riddled with injuries and players who attended Kid n Plays Pajama jammy jam back when they were in college.

      Lawson<Crawford
      Gallo=Barnes
      Faried>Griffin
      Koufos=Jordan

      Relevant questions are they smart enough to give Turiaf minutes? Is Lamar Odom uncrazy?

      Lawson>Parker
      Igoudala=Ginobli
      GallinariSplitter
      Koufos>Duncan

      Relevant info: Pop>>Karl.

      Talent wise we match up really well against all of those teams best 5. And in general our bench can destroy the bench of all those teams. For all of Karl’s problems, he can certainly out coach Del Negro and Brown, and is probably a wash with Scotty.

      In short we are probably 2nd or 3rd in the west and lose in the WCF in 6.

      • dynamo.joe

        Damnit, I must’ve used some html prompt accidentally.

      • Herman VanNess

        Lawson is not better than Westbrook. Period.

        • dynamo.joe

          You are right, ceaseless chucking trumps all.

        • Evan Woodruff

          He isn’t BETTER…. but this year he is close…

          AND…
          …well

          He’s far more efficient.

          • dynamo.joe

            I think what you and Van Ness mean is Westbrook is a better athlete and Westbrook is more dynamic.

            I would agree with either or both of those statements.

            But he is also an inefficient scorer and a bad distributor and since that is 90% of the job of a pg he isn’t a very good pg.

            OKC would be better served getting a real pg and moving him to the 2.

            • Nugswin

              “OKC would be better served getting a real pg and moving him to the 2.” I’ve been saying this for a couple of years now. Westbrook is better suited as an SG.

              But there is not a planet where he is not a better player than Ty. Despite not being as good at being a PG, his athleticism is so far ahead that it trumps anything Lawson (who also has a lot to learn about being a PG) has the advantage in. Frankly, it’s not even close.

      • Matt

        A report just came out the OKC has traded James Harden to the Rockets

        • dynamo.joe

          Holy crap, OKC got robbed!

      • Evan Woodruff

        you forgot iggy in those.
        Lawson = Nash.. but the matchup would go to lawson, because he’s too quick for nash.
        Iggy = Kobe because of his D and passing/rebounding abilities, someone else can score.

        • dynamo.joe

          I didn’t forget them, but I did use a formatting which ultimately lead to it looking that way.

          I think my take on LA was:

          Nash way over Lawson
          Iguodala over Kobe
          Gallo over Peace
          Faried over Gasol
          Howard way over Koufos (who I think is the nuggets best center)

          • Nugswin

            Faried is not better than Gasol. Not as good a scorer. Not as good a passer. Not as good at defending other bigs.

      • FanZed

        I think your argument would be stronger, or more interesting, if you listed for each team all 5 players that will probably be on the floor in crunch time.

        For Denver, it’s not really clear who’ll be out there, but I’ll guess we’ll see Lawson, Miller/Faried, Iggy, McGee/Koufos, and Gallo.

        For OKC, we’ll see Durant, Westbrook, Sefalosha, Perkins, and Ibaka. Advantage OKC

        For the Lakers, we’ll see Kobe, Gasol, Peace, Howard, and Nash. Advantage: Lakers

        For the Clippers, we’ll see CP3, Griffin, Jordan, and ???.
        OK, maybe this one is even. We’ll see.

        For the Spurs, we’ll see Parker, Ginobili, Duncan, Leonard, and ???. If healthy, the advantage goes to the Spurs.

  • Herman VanNess

    Somewhat troubling how much better Andre Miller runs a team compared to Ty. Ty appeared to be going through the pre-season motions which is fine I guess but, he just doesn’t seem to have the type of command necessary to get other guys good shots. He’s decent getting his own shot and distributes pretty well off of drive and kicks but, in terms of really orchestrating an offense he isn’t very good in my opinion.

    Fournier is a natural basketball player. Sound fundamentals with good instincts. Wish he was a better shooter though. His ceiling may be as a back up point guard. We’ll see.

    JHam does some things instinctively very well. He’s a natural rebounder. His basketball IQ is suspect when it comes to the rest of his game though. Doesn’t know when to shoot and simply does not have the handle or athleticism to get to the bucket with any regularity. He needs to spot up, hit his shots and root out some boards.

    Randolph has a long ways to go. He’s a great athlete with some skills but, in he appears to have a limited understanding of how to play.

    • Evan Woodruff

      It’s not troubleing at all…. comeon. He runs a team better then almost every point guard in the league.

      save you know.. paul, nash… um… kid maybe etc.

      • Herman VanNess

        I guess my expectations are greater. He has been constantly prodded by Karl to be a leader, take the reigns. I’m hopeful but, I really think it’s not Ty’s personality to be a vocal floor general that knows how to get his teammates in position to be successful. Again, I’m hopeful.

  • ny nugs fan

    i havent watched the nugs since the end of last season so after all of the trades and restructuring i was really interested to see what the team was all about

    man i was so sick to my stomach after watching that game… these dudes have one of the top 5 talented teams in the nba but they really suck

    seriously. last preseason game. suns. shouldve been over in the first half but the nugs really struggled to put them away

    that was really horrible last night

  • Fraser

    What are everyone’s thoughts on having J-Ham at the 6th/7th man (along with dre miller as the 1st guys off the bench).

    He gives scoring, stretches the floor with his 3-ball and is tough on the glass. Especially the way chandler has been HOPELESS ever since returning from china…

    • CJP32

      I cannot see JHam getting minutes in front of McGee, Miller, Chandler or even Brewer at this stage. Whilst Chandler has sucked so far, its his conditioning that is slowing him down, so it wont take too long

      I can see JHam getting spot minutes when scoring is needed and being on the road alot during the 1st 2 months of the season, there would be needs for JHam. But to be honest, I don’t think we will see alot of JHam soon, there are just too many good players ahead of him.

    • Jeff

      I like that idea. He might make some bad mistakes for a couple weeks but he will learn. That is the only way to learn.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    I smell a trade on the horizon.

    • Zack

      I completely agree with you Mark. It seems like the Nuggets have too many good players, which is not a bad problem to have. But they need to get some of these guys some playing time (i.e. we need a 2 for 1 or 3 for 1 or 2 trade to happen). And I think it will at some point. I look for Chandler and Mozgov to be potential trade bait.