|Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 5-14 FG | 11-14 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 23 PTS | -3
Gallo was about the only player on the Nuggets roster who was looking to be aggressive. He also made an effort to play hard, which can’t be said for most of his teammates. This is the type of Gallo the Nuggets need in order to be a real threat in the West.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -14
What the hell is going on with Faried? For the second game in a row he played more of a complimentary role than that of the starter he truly is. His head is down. He’s not even trying to rebound. Something is clearly going on between the ears because this is not the fun-loving, energetic Faried we’ve come to know.
|Kosta Koufos, C 27 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +8
Koufos was just kind of there tonight. He didn’t make his presence known at all, especially on the glass like we’ve become accustomed to in the preseason. If he’s going to play this much he needs to turn up his level of aggressiveness in a major way.
|Ty Lawson, PG 38 MIN | 6-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 12 PTS | -13
The energy was there tonight for Lawson. He was trying to make things happen; they just weren’t. There’s a certain amount of blame that should be put on his shoulders, but at this point, it’s nothing compared to what his teammates need to be shouldering.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 36 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 9 PTS | -10
I’m a little bit confused as to what Iguodala’s role is on this team right now. People were so excited about landing him, but the fact is, Denver’s most pressing need has always been a top dog who can get buckets when the chips are down — which is perhaps why Al Harrington had such a successful season last year. Iguodala just isn’t that type of guy, which is a bit disconcerting if you ask me.
|Corey Brewer, SF 24 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -11
Corey Brewer: Great energy guy; not a great leading-role type of guy. The reason he bounced around so much after being drafted as a top 10 player in Minnesota is because his role has always been in question. But after winning a title with the Mavericks it became clear: great energy guy; not a great leading-role guy. Karl’s trying to make him the latter. Enough said.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 3 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +4
I do not know why Jordan Hamilton isn’t seeing more time. I really don’t. Is there a reason? Is it just because he’s young? The only thing I can think of is that he’s sometimes a little reckless with his shot attempts. But at this point, he’s the perfect remedy for what the Nuggets are missing. Even if he takes several bad shots, at least he’ll be out there trying to make things happen. Plus, is there any doubt he won’t get at least 15 points if you give him ample playing time?
|JaVale McGee, C 11 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -9
Another dumbfounding stat line, highlighted mostly by the 11 minutes played number. You can’t do anything in 11 minutes. It was the same story last game when Hamilton started buy only played a little over 10 minutes. It’s just not enough time to do anything.
|Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -10
I thought Miller was the other guy out there hustling, playing smart and playing good basketball in general. Even on defense he’s turned up the heat, which is a definite improvement from last year.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 19 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -4
Chandler is not playing in the flow of the offense right now. He’s lost. He doesn’t know when to attack and where, or how, for that matter. Everything he’s doing is off. In time he will improve but until then he should step it up on defense to make up for his wavering offensive skills.
|Evan Fournier, SG 7 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3
Again, can’t say much here. It would have been nice to see him knock down a shot but he was playing in garbage time anyways.
Three Things We Saw
- Mo Players Mo Problems: About halfway through the game it became clear to me that George Karl is completely at a “loss” with the amount of players he has. He doesn’t know who should play with who, when to go small, when to go big — and it’s mostly because he just has too many options. Perhaps no sport emphasizes hierarchy the way the NBA does, and yet, the Nuggets have none. This entire team is composed of guys who, if given 35 minutes per game, would average anywhere between 12 and 17 points. Nobody is really that much better than the next guy ahead of or behind him. It’s just one giant collection of good, but not great, players.
- Piece the Puzzle Together: George Karl has a lot of talented (but not great!) players on his roster and its his job to figure out how to use them best. That’s what he gets payed for. Playing Faried and McGee a combined 31 minutes and Koufos 27 is just not a recipe for winning basketball no matter how you slice it. Corey Brewer has proven he deserves minutes, but not the fourth most on the team! If you’re going to spend two games messing with lineups, then mess with lineups!!! Give Jordan Hamilton a chance to prove himself. Same goes for Anthony Randolph. And play bigs with other bigs! Why is it that Koufos and McGee can’t see the floor at the same time? Above all else: Play your best players together! Faried, McGee, Gallo, Ty and Iguodala should be seeing the most amount of court time, period; but also the most amount of court time together, as the one unit. At this point, I’m not sure if that combination of players has even seen one minute of action together!
- It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It: I’ve always said that there are multiple levels to losing. Right now, it’s not the fact that the Nuggets have lost their first two games that’s upsetting, it’s HOW they’ve lost them. They have had two golden opportunities (one against the Sixers without their best player and one against a team projected to be the worst in basketball this year) to start the season off on a good note and have completely taken them for granted. Last year all we heard was how the Nuggets needed a real training camp. But a year later, with a full training camp, what’s the difference? How the hell does a team with this much talent come out and play this bad? What’s the excuse this time? I’m not overreacting to two losses — no way. I’m just legitimately curious as to how a team with so much time to prepare has come out this flat, this disinterested, this lackadaisical, this… just plain bad. It doesn’t make any sense. None at all.
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