5-on-5: Halfway home

The Denver Nuggets are now halfway through the 2012-13 season. It’s been a wild ride so far, full of disappointment, frustration, satisfaction and elation — basically, every sensation one typically experiences throughout the course of any given Nuggets season over the last decade. There have been revelations; there have been let downs, yet there is still so much we have to learn about this team. In light of reaching the midway mark of the season, we’ve decided to poll our writers on five of the more pressing issues currently facing the Denver Nuggets. As always with our 5-on-5 series, we ask that you too participate in the comments section by posting your analysis to each of the five questions we’ve posed below.

1. Who has been the Nuggets’ MVP through the first half of the season?

Charlie: Pepsi Center. This Nuggets team started the year with aspirations of competing for the Northwest Division and a top-four seed, but only seem interested in trying to meet those standards at home. That crutch needs to go away eventually, but even with a lousy road record the Nuggets have been good enough at home to keep hope alive.

Matt: Kenneth Faried. While every Nugget has been a bit inconsistent this year, the one that has had the least amount of those stretches is Kenneth Faried. He already has 19 double doubles, including 19/19, 21/15, 26/14, and 18/17 performances, with plenty more impressive double doubles that I didn’t list. While he has struggled defensively, the energy has been there in almost every game and kept the Nuggets in games when the rest of the team came out flat. Without Faried who knows where the Nuggets are right now.

Joel: Kenneth Faried. Denver is a team that thrives on energy, and nobody brings it harder, with more regularity. The fact that Faried has 19 double doubles illustrates his consistent production. On a team that misses so many jumpers, his offensive rebounding has been invaluable. He still needs to work on his defense, but he is improving in that area, and in a season when Lawson has disappeared far too often as the team’s engine, Kenneth has more often than not been there to drive the team.

Tom: Faried. He leads the team in win shares and is second in PER. He brings constant energy and hustle, and makes positive plays on both ends of the court. He’s also been the most consistent Nuggets player, with more great games and fewer terrible games than anyone else.

Kalen: Corey Brewer. Never in a million years did I think I’d be saying this at the start of the season, but I can’t think of anybody else who has been more consistent, played better defense and embodied everything George Karl tries to pass to his players on a daily basis at practice. On a team full of players who only flirt with reaching the pinnacle of their abilities, Corey Brewer is accessing every nook and cranny of his. I cannot even count how many games Brewer’s energy has saved his team from floundering.

2. Who has been the Nuggets’ biggest disappointment through the first half of the season?

Charlie: No one has been bad enough to warrant an unusual level of concern, but Ty Lawson sputtering out of the gate for as long as he did was a big disappoint for me. In his first two years in Denver, Ty wasn’t getting the trust or minutes he deserved and you saw unrelenting hustle and drive in whatever small opportunities he was able to get. Complacency and a sense of entitlement has crept into Ty’s game this season, which I never expected to see from him.

Matt: Ty Lawson. Beyond just the numbers drop so far this year the biggest reason Lawson tops this list is his terrible play in crunch time. It is becoming a reoccurring theme with Lawson that the Nuggets keep a game close until the end, and Lawson does all he can to make sure Denver can’t win the game. Turnovers, missed shots, bad shots, and now not even getting a shot up to end regulation in a tie game. It is a troubling problem for someone that was supposed to lead the Nuggets and continue to grow as a player following his extension.

Joel: Ty Lawson. After landing his big extension, this was supposed to be the season he took his game to the next level, but instead almost every aspect of his game has diminished. The slippage from last season goes straight across the stat sheet, with poorer shooting percentages in all categories, fewer rebounds, more turnovers and .072 win shares per 48 to last season’s .157. Even more disturbing is how his lack of aggression and confidence has held the team back as they tend to rise and fall due to his efforts.

Tom: Andre Iguodala. He’s the highest paid player, by far, but he’s barely keeping pace with Corey Brewer in terms of production and overall effect on the game. I expected a bit of an adjustment period, but it’s midseason and he still looks uncomfortable. The constant-switching defensive system has hindered his effectiveness as well.

Kalen: I don’t see how you could point to anybody other than Andre Iguodala. I’m almost intrigued at how disappointed I’ve been with him — and that’s a hard thing to do. Most of the time when someone disappoints, you become frustrated and intolerant. But with Iguodala, I’m just bewildered. The hype surrounding this guy coming to Denver was feverish. The sentiment was that finally, the Nuggets had a star! Instead, he’s been quite possibly the fifth best player on the team.

3. What is the Nuggets biggest weakness through the first half of the season and how can they fix it?

Charlie: What separates the Nuggets from the other top teams in the league are intangibles. Call it a lack of commitment, leadership, mental toughness or whatever. It’s obvious when you look at the other top teams that losing hurts more for them than it does for Denver. This team just needs more attitude and nastiness top to bottom. I do get the sense this is a group of Boy Scouts so enamored with not offending anyone that they share to a fault instead of just taking charge of the game.

Matt: Shooting. The Nuggets rank 29th in the league in three-point percentage; ahead of only the dreadful Timberwolves. What compounds this issue is the system that George Karl employs, one that is built on transition buckets, shots in the paint and threes. Unfortunately for the Nuggets there isn’t anyone on the roster that looks like they can fix the problem themselves. Jordan Hamilton can shoot but doesn’t get minutes and Gallo is turning out to be a very streaky shooter. The Nuggets need to make a move, or offense will start to come harder as teams pack the paint more and more.

Joel: Turnovers. With so many weaknesses it’s hard to isolate just one, but this is a problem that should be fixable. Denver’s style of basketball is fast and loose, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to play with greater discipline in taking care of the ball. Many turnovers occur as a result either of poor communication or one player playing hero ball rather than trusting his teammates. All of the players need to hold themselves to a higher standard of focus in controlling their ball handling and passing.

Tom: Free throws. The Nuggets have 120 more free-throw attempts than their opponents this season, but only 22 more makes. Poor free throw shooting has been a major factor in at least two losses (Jazz, Wizards) and could prove to be costly in the second half of the season. Ty Lawson is shooting better after a poor start; the rest of the team needs to make the same improvements.

Kalen: Consistency. The Nuggets have accrued all sorts of talent. They are a young team, but one capable of beating anybody, anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately, they’ve also proven to be a team capable of losing to anybody, anytime, anywhere. Growing up I was always taught that playing down to the level of your opponent was a sign you were lacking mental toughness and composure. If that’s the case, then the Nuggets have the cerebral consistency of Jell-O. A more strict, more demanding George Karl would certainly help.

4. Should the Nuggets make a move at the trade deadline or stand pat and continue to build continuity?

Charlie: There aren’t too many compelling reasons to stand pat with this group and expect to win in the playoffs, but making a deal for the sake of dealing doesn’t make sense either. I would love to see the Nuggets get anything for Mozgov and perhaps pare down some of their depth for a future asset or more flexibility going forward. I still expect moves by the deadline, but not necessarily earth-shattering ones.

Matt: Make a move. The Nuggets need to add a shooter, plain and simple. While it isn’t exactly clear right now who would be available, the Nuggets have to listen to any and every offer they get that would include a shooter. J.J. Redick and Mike Dunleavy come to mind as players that may be available but who knows what else pops up as teams fall out of playoff races. But to continue to get better the Nuggets can’t stand back. There just isn’t any help from inside coming to fix the shooting problem.

Joel: Make a move. The chemistry of this team clicks at times, but more often they’re not on the same page (unless that page is “chaos”). Things have improved, but Denver is jelling too slowly to compete at the highest level anytime soon. Save perhaps for Faried, no player is indispensable to the Nuggets’ future. The roster is deep, but there is a talent redundancy accompanying unmet team needs. A roster shakeup carries risk, but the chance to improve balance and cohesion supersedes it.

Tom: If a great opportunity presents itself, the Nuggets need to jump on it. But don’t shake things up just to make a lateral move.

Kalen: Although I’d be tempted to ride the season out and see what this current roster could do in the playoffs, I’m also a realist and understand the opportunity to improve your team is always priority number one. During his tenure with the Nuggets, Masai Ujiri has never passed on the chance to parlay his assets into what he perceives are better players. With so many big-time names on the trading block this year, I have a hard time believing he sits this one out.

5. Fill in the blank: For the Nuggets to be successful in the playoffs this season they must ________.

Charlie: Commit to a common goal and start holding each other accountable for trying to reach it. That means playing games on the road and expecting to win. It means having the willpower to change your own circumstances rather than lamenting how tough they are. It means making fewer excuses and instead looking closer at what the Nuggets themselves can do to build a championship culture.

Matt: Defend like the end of the Golden State Warriors game. The best stretch that the Nuggets played all year came in the end of the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter against the Warriors on January 13. The team caused turnovers, limited good clean looks and rebounded the ball. It led to a convincing win and plenty of tweets saying this is what we expected the Nuggets to be this year. If the team can get there consistently the team we expected to be a threat in the West will show. If not, the inconsistent shooting will continue the inconsistent season.

Joel: Fire George Karl. Yes, I know this won’t happen. But the problems that drove Nuggets fans nuts in the Melo era – those we expected to disappear along with the so-called “Thuggets” – continue to plague this team: too much switching and laziness on defense, deflated first-quarter efforts, poor screen setting, just plain bad (if existent at all) plays out of timeouts, giving up big leads in fourth quarters, etc. Nearly the entire roster has turned over, but the song remains the same. That’s on Karl, and the tune won’t change until he’s gone.

Tom: Implement and execute better strategies on both ends of the court. This will probably require a coaching change.

Kalen: Look, George Karl has proven to be an extremely underwhelming playoff coach. Though the Nuggets have had a vast array of talent pass through Denver under his watch, he’s never been able to really make anything substantial out of it. But I want to see what he can do this year. He finally has a team he’s been asking for, so it’s time to put up or shut up. If the Nuggets play good defense and run plays (yes, it’s that easy), I have no doubt they could make another trip to the Western Conference Finals.

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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)

  • Landry

    Totally agree with Kalen that C-Brew has been our MVP. Only man playing to his potential and has kept his air balls to a minimum this year. Hope we bring him back in free agency next year!! He eptimoizes the energy that is need for the Rocky Mountain Way.

    • Landry

      *a

  • Michael (anotheraussienuggzfan)

    On the trade topic, knowing some of the fans and writers here were high on Moultrie in the draft and have also been keen on Nick Young in the past I put together this possible (yet unlikely) trade scenario….

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=atv69vn

    This gives us a true backup PF to develop and an explosive SG off the bench and only costs us Mozgov and Randolph to give the 76ers some much needed size and backup/fill in for Bynum while he recovers.

    • AaronCAPS

      I like that trade :D Only problem though is that we would be stuffing ANOTHER SG/SF in the mix, & knowing GK I doubt he would even look at Nick Young just because he has attitude issues. Other then that though, id love to see this trade happen.

    • dynamo.joe

      Well anytime you can reassemble the 2011 Washington Wizards, you gotta do it.

    • Patrick

      Yeah, Javale and Nick Young together again! It would be disastrous but how much fun!

  • googergieger

    1. Who has been the Nuggets’ MVP through the first half of the season?

    Gallo. Even when he gets credit around here which is hardly ever, it is for the wrong reasons. He is the only player the Nuggets have that understands you can impact the game in other ways besides scoring/filling up the stat sheet. He has been our most consistently good defender. Iguodala is our best but often times he lets his struggles on offense carry over to his defense. Gallo is probably the only guy on our team that boxes out for his team mates. Though Koufos has been doing that lately as well. He has hit a lot of clutch shots for us this year but has also come up with other clutch plays as well. His only fault is he isn’t aggressive enough. He needs to become this team’s leader and not wait for George Karl to give him that mantle. Karl wants Ty but Ty clearly doesn’t want it. Gallo is begging for it without actually speaking up it looks like. Every guy on our team including Faried has been inconsistent. Which happens when the rotations and such are so random. But outside of that Faried can’t play with foul trouble and god bless him needs the right assignment on defense or just becomes a bit useless out there. At least Gallo knows how to front and deny.

    2. Who has been the Nuggets’ biggest disappointment through the first half of the season?

    Karl. He has his dream team more or less. He preaches so many things and then goes against it with his line ups and rotations. Not to mention constantly lowers expectations instead of lighting a fire under his team and making them not okay with losing. He needs to be the leader of this team if he isn’t going to give that responsibility to anyone else on the team. And him making Dre team captain or telling Ty he has to be that guy doesn’t count.

    3. What is the Nuggets biggest weakness through the first half of the season and how can they fix it?

    You can point to free throws, shooting, and defense. But free throws can be fixed by making them something mandatory to practice. Heck hundred before you sleep, hundred before you head out in the morning would do it. Shooting isn’t that important when you have a team that can dominate the paint like us. Defense is something that also has to become mandatory and something that can conceivably be done by the team you put out on the court. Make it mandatory to fight over screens or trap the pick and roll. Don’t put Dre or Ty on the court together if you need someone to check a Westbrook. Don’t put Faried at center if you are asking him to guard a Pekovic or Howard or even a big PF like Aldrige. Etc. Karl is my pick for weakness. His inability to be flexible and use his depth hurts this team more than anything else. Not to mention him only holding players like McGee accountable. He constantly puts his players in positions that are almost impossible to succeed in except for the random times it works, and all it does is make for inconsistency to become the norm. How someone can claim to be a go with the flow type zen dude, but be so incapable of shying away from your game plan is beyond me. Especially when it isn’t working.

    4. Should the Nuggets make a move at the trade deadline or stand pat and continue to build continuity?

    Really depends. If we take on anyone we have to give up at least two or three players in return. Our problem besides Karl is almost too much depth. If we get a Reddick, Chandler, Iguodala, Brewer, Miller, two or three of those would have to go so we could use Reddick and whoever else is left properly. Same if we get a big, Mozgov, Koufos, McGee, Faried, two of those would have to go. If we can get a guy who is going to play angry and fired up and can spread that intensity to the entire team, then even better.

    5. Fill in the blank: For the Nuggets to be successful in the playoffs this season they must

    Be consistent. Actually be competitive. Karl has to be willing to play the hot hand and put line ups that can actually defend out there. Gallo needs to start getting more touches and being more aggressive. Everyone on this team needs to start being more aggressive and tough and play like they did in that OKC game. Everyone played(except Iguodala who I hope can turn it around and start looking like a guy that wants to play here which I sometimes see) angry. Everyone played like they were disrespected and like OKC and the refs weren’t going to take that win away from them. They need that kind of attitude from everyone(including Karl) in order to have success in the play offs. They need that kind of attitude starting since the start, but I’ll make due with them getting that kind of attitude now.

    • GIANLUCA

      quote . GALLO MVP

      trade IGOUDALA for JJ REDICK
      trade LAWSON for VASQUEZ
      trade MILLER for BLEDSOE

      • GIANLUCA

        Gallo needs to start getting more touches and being more aggressive. Everyone on this team needs to start being more aggressive and tough and play like they did in that OKC game. ( CIT. )

        KARL want TY and MILLER ..

        the real leader and the best playmaker of this nuggets ( for the Number ) IS GALLO !

        • Aaron

          Couldn’t agree more! EVERY single Nugget has had his share of magnificent games and dreadful ones. The only thing standing between this team and the 4 seed out west is aggression. If Ty can score 5 points in the first half against Washington and finish with 29 on the night, (even despite his hot shooting) it shows that he was much more aggressive in the second half. It may sound crazy, but I think the asset this team is missing is the type of player who gets techs and suspensions for being too emotional. Every guy on our roster is cool as a cucumber, and it shows on the court. We need someone who is clinically insane.

      • Zack

        2 of your 3 trades are so bad Masai would never even consider them (Iguodala for Redick and Lawson for Vasquez). While I would love to get Redick, trading AI is not the way to do it.

        The third is so bad for the Clippers they would laugh at hang up before Masai could even get finished saying “Bledsoe for Andre Miller”.

        Do you really think that the Nuggets should trade Iguodala and Lawson for two players than are inferior in terms of talent?

        And that third trade would be sweet for the Nuggets but the Clippers are going to ask for a lot more than Andre Miller for Bledsoe.

      • AaronCAPS

        Wow! You have Gallo as your MVP?? Would never have guessed that! lol

  • pietre

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=bcbsoun

    It’s crazy, but how about that! we end up saving money, getting one of the best three point threats in the league, yes, we have to lose gallo, but it’s either him or chandler, and After watching Gallo for a few years now, he’s not a three point guy, maybe one day he will be, maybe one day he will hit them back in the face of chandler while guarding him in the playoffs on another time and we’ll be pissed we let him go. If winning right now is more important, I think this solves it.

    With all that said. I’m content with this team. Where did patience go? oh yeah, that left humanity in the 90’s. Did OKC get better from trading away durant when he shot terrible his first year? They developed from with in. Just as wee should. I’m pissed at george these days for the same reasons as always, say one thing, do another. This IS the team he wanted, but i do not believe they are ready for themselves. We are young, super young. And a little bit dumb. I say ride it out. let us learn, let them get to the playoffs again and see what happens. Change nothing. how many changes have we already had this year just with this team and their injuries? they don’t know how to play together because they haven’t played together. give it some time. I like our team, I like our team a lot!

    • Trevor

      No way Jose!

    • Coxy

      You been drinking. Gallo for that junk? One of
      Our top 3 guys for some role players?

    • Zack

      This trade is just plain dumb. While I agree that the Nuggets need 3 pt shooting to space the floor better, getting rid of Gallo (one of our top 3 players) for a Mike Dunleavy led haul is crazy.

      I don’t like this trade one bit.

      I think if we can get JJ Redick, we should do it.

  • pietre

    I mean, it’s all what if’s at this point with our team. What if ty turns into this, what if wilson stays healthy, what if gallo starts shooting consistently? I know that where all these guys are, and how the NBA works, and player development works, that I feel we would just mess up if we trade anyone before we know who they really are. Yes, we might get less when other teams figure out what we have to trade, but WE will be better for it. The NBA loves to promote potential, potential, potential. Well, our who team from top to bottom has that. We are in that unique situation though. We have the top to bottom potential, we get to decide who goes and who stays. and when most of these guys hven’t had but a sniff of the playoffs, who are we to judge what they’ll do. And even if they mess up the first time, they SHOULD get better because of the experience. Some don’t I understand that.

    I say three is the magic number. Keep this team for three years. and judge the players by three mistakes. Ty, you mess up once, it’s ok, twice, it’s on you, and the third you are pulled. Same goes for everyone. You want to play fast George? be fast on the trigger to get those that aren’t playing hard and sub them, we are that deep. And if this team, with George at the helms, is struggling in that third season (which maybe is next year depending on which season you start at, I like starting at last year) get Josh to pull some major triggers.
    done.

    • ChuckinJapan

      Potential isn’t worth a hill of beans in this league no matter who tells you what. Durant is younger than Gallo and Westbrook is younger than Ty. Not only are our guys never going to be better than them, but KD and RW have both taken their games to another level this year while you could say ours have regressed. Good players can become stars, but great players can become even greater. Ours are just hoping to someday be stars.

  • Trevor

    1. Who has been the Nuggets’ MVP through the first half of the season?

    Trevor: Kenneth Faried. Hands down no debate. WP48=.242 (14th) Wins=6.44 (8th) PoP48=4.4 (14th) (#) is rank out of all NBA players.

    2. Who has been the Nuggets’ biggest disappointment through the first half of the season?

    Trevor: Ty Lawson. WP48=.047 (11th) Wins=1.4 (7th) Pop48=-1.6 (11th) (#) is the rank out of Nugget players. Ty has been a huge disappointment. Out of all Nuggets who have played meaningful minutes he has preformed worse than all but Brewer and Chandler.

    3. What is the Nuggets biggest weakness through the first half of the season and how can they fix it?

    Trevor: Coaching. Fire Karl, it’s long overdue. He is not developing the roster, trots out terrible lineups, doesn’t preach defense, and never draws up plays when the game is on the line. Every important late game inbound is still a disaster, why hasn’t this been fixed? It appears so easy for the other 29 teams.

    4. Should the Nuggets make a move at the trade deadline or stand pat and continue to build continuity?

    Trevor: Yes. I think the team should trade Andre Miller, Iggy, Brewer, and Chandler for what ever young talent and draft picks possible. This is not a team that can contend for a title. Time to ship the vets out and let the young core and role players get all the minutes and hope they can progress. No more Andres to rely on at the end of the game. Either Ty or Gallo needs to put the team on his back. BTW Iggy has been my favorite player for the past few years. I love defense, so I wouldn’t trade him unless I really thought it’d benefit the team.

    5. Fill in the blank: For the Nuggets to be successful in the playoffs this season they must ________.

    Trevor: Be taken there by Ty, Gallo, Faried, and KK. And fire Karl… Rather than retread my answers to Q’s 3&4 I’ll define what a success this season would be to me. Showing up ready to play and competing for a whole series, every game. I have no delusions of a Championship, I want substantial progression/improvement by our young core. Baby steps to becoming a legit contender over the next 5-10 year.

  • googergieger

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=ao6zcjz

    Just because Karl is always going to play Miller big minutes especially to close, not to mention we have a pretty big log jam. Do have an SF for the future in the trade as well. Who can defend the perimeter and looks like Faried’s dreadlock twin. But seriously, he looks like he’ll become a good three point shooter and a tough versatile defender. We get a tough veteran who can defend multiple positions and actually defend your Griffin’s and Lee’s. Bring some much needed attitude to our team as well. Young point guard who can shoot the three and isn’t that bad a defender. On an expiring contract as well. Also we free up some money.

    I actually love Miller and want to see him finally make it to the second round, but Karl relies on him so much and will never sit him if he’s a liability. Problem is, Miller is really important to our bench and Karl would die of a broken heart if we did it. But still I think this would be great for everyone involved. Of course it’d push us back a bit chemistry wise and we’d have to wait till next year to see what this team could really do. So maybe just better off standing pat and waiting for a new coach next year if Karl gets bounced out of the first round again. *crosses fingers*

  • GIANLUCA

    So maybe just better off standing pat and waiting for a new coach next year if Karl gets bounced out of the first round again. *crosses fingers*

    googergieger is in my MIND ;)

    • Jacob

      Man goog what a compliment… You should have told me this guy and you shared the same train of though, I NEVER would have questioned your opinion had I known that.

      • googergieger

        If you always get your ass handed to you in these back and forths, why do you always come back for more?

        Man, wise up.

        • Jacob

          I find it humorous to see how upset you can get over comments on a blog.

          But seriously, declaring who “won” an argument? What are we, in middle school? How would you judge this? Who’s opinion you agree with more? Obviously then I guess you would consider yourself the winner. I guess if I had to judge who “lost” an argument it would be who resorts to name-calling first and by that criteria you would “lose” every single argument I’ve seen you have on here with anyone, and from the looks of things that is quite a few.

          • googergieger

            Who is upset? How on earth can one make such an assumption on something read when not clear indication or implication is given to suggest such a thing? Come on knob. Wise up.

            Suffice to say you never have arguments. Your “arguments” tend to be of the, “that is bad because that is bad” variety. Where as I bring substance and actual opinion to the table. Hence me winning them.

            But yeah, “who insults people?”. Want to take that one back? Cause firstly, an insult is an insult only if one gets insulted. Secondly, somewhere there is a pot and kettle laughing at you.

            • Jacob

              The name calling usually implies the upset part. You just can never be wrong, sorry for even wasting your time high and mighty one. Here give me sec got find my exact quote… From Giancula: “googergieger is in my MIND” … Haha that is rich…

              • googergieger

                How do you figure? It takes zero effort and emotion to call someone something. If someone calls me something, I don’t assume their angry or in love with me, depending on what they say. I just think they wanted to call me something, so they did it. Again, wise up.

                You are right, I can never be wrong. Because I think before I say or do something. Might want to try it sometime. Luca agreed with me? Good for him. A few others do as well, I imagine. Some others don’t. Way these things tend to work, knob.

    • Charliemyboy

      Better forget about Karl moving. Too much success almost exactly as he predicted…a little better. Be realistic. There is no better coach for the Nuggets out there interested. He will get past the first round and be a contender for the championship next year if they keep this team together. Want to bet? CQI.

  • Josh

    I like the idea of trading Ty Lawson for Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe can be dynamic and his athletic ability is that of Westbrook; also he is a better defender than Ty. I love Iggy at SG because of his Defence and i think the combo of Gallo/Chandler is only going to get better. Reddick sucks and is only good for spot up 3s. His D is wack and he cant create.

    • Zack

      But the Nuggets need a player who can shoot 3’s with consistency to space the floor. Redick can bring that and he’s a great FT shooter. If GK won’t give JHam some time, why not try to get Redick?

      Lawson for Bledsoe is interesting, but I don’t think the Clippers would do it. Chris Paul and Ty Lawson wouldn’t work well together on the defensive end, and Lawson isn’t a good enough shooter to not have the ball in his hands that much (i.e. in our system with Andre Miller, it’s not a great fit).

      • nugswin

        Yeah, it’s not something that could happen straight up (which would be perfect), but there has to be something with adding another team or two that could be worked out. Like maybe including Dallas in the deal since they covet a PG and Ty would fit the bill.

  • DH

    1. MVP = Faried, with Brewer as a close second. My thinking is simple. I’m just considering how many times I have thought “we wouldn’t have won this game without the contribution from _______”. For those advocating Gallo, I understand your thinking. But I can’t ignore his horrific start to the season. By the end of the year, he should be our MVP – if Karl is smart enough to start running more plays for (and/or running more offense through) him. And yes, I recognize and appreciate everything he does on the floor in addition to scoring.

    2. Disappointment = Iguodala, no doubt, especially with Lawson’s recent improvement. Count me among those who thought Iggy would be a perfect fit – an athletic, fast, unselfish player who can finish, pass, and create his own shot – and whose specialty is lock-down defense – on a running team that’s defensively challenged. But whether it’s his inability to adjust, or the schemes, or the redundancy of his skill set with Gallo’s, it hasn’t worked out at all, so far. He’s an All-Star and an Olympian, and we aren’t seeing anything close to that.

    3. Weakness = Leadership. Everything mentioned by each of the 5 writers is spot on and hard to argue with. I have been saying since very early in the season that free throws and turnovers are going to doom this team. So those are the easy answers. But there are multiple other problems that are evident now, and those might make the more specific things, like free throws, almost irrelevant. So I’m going with leadership. We need someone to quarterback the defense and keep everyone in line on that end. We need someone on the floor to recognize when the other team is starting to make a run or when our team is losing focus, and to take control. We need someone to be in Karl’s ear (like Chauncey would) when he sees something that Karl isn’t seeing. And so on. How can they fix this? Barring a trade, time and experience is the only way this can be fixed, sadly.

    4. Make a move = Probably not. Of course, if a golden opportunity opened up, we would have to take it. The other caveat depends on how the organization feels about whether or not Iguodala will eventually fit. If they deem it a failed experiment, then they should move him while they can. However, at the end of last season I felt like we were 2 to 3 years away from being a contender with this core group. So although some players have disappointed, I still think it will take the rest of this year and maybe even part of next year to know just what we have. With that said, I should point out that a minor move like trading Moz is fine. And at some point we have to address the glaring problem of not being able to defend certain power forwards.

    5. To be successful in the playoffs = Defend and have a plan on offense. I am combining Matt’s and Tom’s points. This team is not going to be the offensive juggernaut that previous Nuggets teams were. We have to make great strides on defense, even if it’s just turning up the effort consistently (yes, a better scheme would help, too). On offense, it has looked like we have no idea what we want to do, going all the way back to preseason. We need some sets. We need to get Gallo more involved. We need to get the defense moving to open up space. We need to find mismatches and take advantage of them. In other words, lets take some of the random out of George’s “random basketball”. And yeah, it will help if we can make some free throws and quit turning the ball over.

    Sorry if I repeated things that others have said. I didn’t have time to read through all of the comments – yet.

  • White Urkel

    I just want to say to all the hot headed fans: George Karl is a basketball genius. I’ve criticized some of his ‘on the surface’ moves in the past. But the amount of intricate and calculated thought he puts behind each move is far greater than he gets credit for.

    He may have become overrated at one stage because of his longevity but he’s now become incredibly underrated and disrespected by many fans.

    I also hopes he becomes an analyst one day because he has so much insight to give.

    • magster

      If we lose in the first round again, especially if it’s a 4-1 or 4-2 series where we are barely competitive on the road, then it’s time to get rid of Karl.

    • Jeff

      I tend to agree with you Urkel. I have criticized him as well, getting caught up in the Fire GK bandwagon, but he turns out to be right about a lot of his controversial decisions.

  • Herpderpnuggets

    Jordan Hamilton is gonna get traded, thats why he has been ridin the bench for the last month…just my guess though

  • magster

    Biggest disappointment: 2nd place is McGee.

    Biggest surprise: Brewer and Koufos.

    Big Picture: The Nugs are just shy of a 50 win pace again. Not bad considering the first half schedule.

    It’s hard to look at the big picture when we lose to the Wizards, but Denver’s in pretty decent shape, considering we won the GS series, have road games in hand against Memphis and Houston, are holding serve against LAC, SAS, OKC, and Utah. The most endangered tiebreaker is against MN, and only because we traded home losses with them, and who cares because Love is out forever?

    We need to be a 4 seed against GSW or Memphis. If we lose in a competitive series to OKC, then we’re moving up in the world compared to last season. I’m impatient as hell for a gold ball, but I don’t see it happening this year barring an unrealistic trade. We need a lights out shooter and better play from McGee to get to the Finals or WCF. I’m nervous about McGee.

  • CkWizard

    Gallo is by far the best player on the team to this point… Igoudala is second. Have you seen the chemistry between those two grow as the season continued. Gallo is a better defender because Igoudala communicates better and between the two of them Denver is a better defensive tem than last year take one of them away and Denver will struggle defensively.

    I Love and Hate C Brew… Denver has lost games simply because of him and they have won games simply because of him. INCONSISTANT in all aspects of the game. Fans love his hustle and effort but he is not the MVP of this team simply because he is inconsistant.

    Ty and Coach Karl are tied at the hip for the biggest disappointment because simply If Ty become the player Karl wants him to be (I think he is slowly becoming that player btw) Then the Karl coached Nuggets are a good if not great team… The problem with the nuggets is simple and Two fold. When Ty is getting assists and being aggressive the Nuggets are awesome and one of the best teams out there. When Ty is not performing as asked by coach Karl IT IS KARL’S RESPONSIBLILTY TO FIND WAYS AROUND TYs STRUGGLES. Karl has faith in his players and will ride their struggles at the expense of The talented players he doesn’t trust ie “Hamilton”.

    • magster

      While Gallo does not win my MVP vote, I think that he is the most indispensible player on team. I was down on him over the summer with his fishlips FB posts and not seeming serious about off-season improvement on the heels of his disappointing Lakers’ series, but he has been a big part of this team’s success so far (notwithstanding his inconsistency). His defense, FT shooting and 3 point shooting have been huge at times this season.

      • googergieger

        He played with the Italian team most of the off season to get back into game shape and be ready for the season…

  • Jeff

    1. Gallo is MVP. Plays with pride. Hits freethrows. Hits 3s. Plays hard D. Gets a little gassed towards the end of games but he’s still been pretty clutch.

    2. Jordan Hamilton, whether it’s his fault or not, has been the biggest disappointment. I was hoping he would take on a JR Smith role this year.

    3. Free throw shooting is the biggest weakness. Shoot free throws in practice, or something.

    4. I think they need continuity, I wouldn’t make a big move. I would say they should go get a shooter but they have Fournier and Hamilton sitting on the bench and I’d rather just use them rather than mess with the team to get a new shooter.

    5. To be successful in the playoffs they must get home court advantage in the first round.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    MVP:

    Faried

    All other Questions:

    It all rolls down to KARL… A real coach would light a fire under Ty’s backside… If he plays poorly, you put in MILLER.. When he is balling you sit Miller on the bench.. You always play with atleast 2 bigs on the court.. You actually “COACH” and draw plays up for GALLO… YOU WIN TIMEOUTS… You try to build young players confidence and games, rather than punk them on a consistent basis… No matter what trade we make it doesn’t change the fact that KARL is our coach…. In a league of re-treads he is the poster child…. He has figured out the NBA formula for mediocrity… Get a team of vets and ride them to a late playoff seed. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose in the playoffs, as long as you get there. (Of course this formula doesn’t work in LA or BOSTON… Where teams actually want to win rings).. He trade or dumps his young players for more old vets. Players with NO UPSIDE in their game.. The young players with POTENTIAL are too “RISKY”…. So your team is always slightly above average, but good enough for the playoffs……. RISK = REWARD… KARL= NO RISK (& STUPIDITY)…

    YO JOSHY & MASAI:

    I AM CALLING YOU GUYS OUT!!! GROW A PAIR AND MAN UP, AND DITCH KARL ASAP… I hear Scottie Skiles needs a job .. At least he gets fired up..

    • pietre

      I love that idea! I Second this hardcore! Skiles! especially right now, he would be so freaking fired up! And i think he’s the perfect guy for our team, this team! AI backing him up on the court, I think it makes everyone on our team better! and a coach that can coach defense. He can only coach if he promises to use a 12 man rotation. I do not know how deep he went in Milliwahkay (trying to make that sound like the pronunciation from Wayne’s World) with his team, I mean, their team is not nearly as deep as ours, but I say Scotty’s fire and heart and D, and keep running and gunning on Offense! Shouldn’t every coach in Denver history try and run down your opponent because of the altitude? Either Scotty, or just firing Geroge for the sake of getting some fire into the team because hes certainly not doing it, and I really only remember like 5 times over the course of his nuggets career get REALLY fired up. Like old school Furious George style from the Sonics! He took that team to the finals with fists of fury alone! I remember watching his face get so so so red! I mean i hate to say this, but i bet the doctors tell him that he needs to keep as calm as possible for his cancer’s sake. He’s had that crap twice now? It’s like when MJ was on the Wiz, yeah, they were ok, and definitely more fun to watch with him, but still not great, because MJ himself could not be great anymore because of his body.

      Any of the above options, George needs to go. There is someone better right now, the teams needs it, and hate to say, but the man might jsut need to call it quits.

    • Charliemyboy

      Ditch Prospecter asap. He is a narrow thinker and offers nothing. Better suck it up. Karl is staying and the Ngugets are winning.

  • Legalize Denver Nuggets

    MVP- I’m going with Gallo. Big buckets. He also has been exhibiting prowess on offense that should want more players to embody. He drives to the hoop, he is finding his shot and doesn’t take tooo many questionable shots, gets to the line and (gasp) makes his free throws, he’s finding open team mates, and playing tenacious defense.There are several other nuggets who should take note- Igudala, Lawson, Chandler (although his play has impressed me so far), and really all of our guards need to be more involved with all those areas if the nugs are going to re-find their high-octane offense. While Gallo started in a shooting slump he has also proven to be the most effective clutch player. Faried is a close 2nd- if he made slightly more free throws and played more consistent defense, he’d probably be a shoo-in mvp, but he has those nights he gets dominated or disappears. His energy is awesome, but he’s not our only energy guy (Corey Brewer 3rd best so far).

    Disappointment- Gotta say Lawson. I expected him to be more of a leader on the floor. Time for him to step up! He needs to be unafraid of shooting more outside jumpers or 3 point shots. It’s IMPERATIVE that his shooting ability is respected by the opposing defense so the floor is spaced out a bit more. I think that would open things up so much more for our offense and I think Ty is a good enough shooter to take on a bit more of that responsibility. But at the same time, there has been his piss-poor crunch time attempts so its becoming harder to trust him with that responsibility. Its hard to know what to do with the kid…
    Igudala has been a bit disappointing (mostly because of his contract), but I guess I expected more from Ty whereas I didn’t really know what Igudala would bring and he has delivered with his defense.

    Biggest weakness- Kalen, Matt, and Joel covered shooting, turnovers, and consistency cover, so I’ll go with coaching/ team strategy to incorporate all 3 LOLZ! We need better shooters (or current players to step up) who space the floor for us. This is mostly an issue with the lack of shooting threat on our roster, but I also feel as though its fair Masai would have expected better shooting from this roster through Ty (his efficient shooting nights feel like a distant memory), Gallo, Chandler, and Igudala. Since opposing defenses (correctly) disrespect our shooters and pack the paint, I think we need more half court sets to counter this. I still feel our primary tactic is to run, but we have looked too lost and confused on offense at times which contributes to bad turn overs. When the other team is locked into defense (by this I mean we have no opportunity for a fast break bucket), and they have negated our inside game by going big and packing the paint, we seem to fumble our gameplan. I’m all for trying to assert our game on other teams by running, and trying to get all our players involved with all aspects of the game with a loose offense, but when that isn’t working, we seem to have trouble, players are indecisive, we pass 1 or 2 many times, and turn the ball over. This is a big reason Gallo is my mvp- in those situations he can at least get the opposing d to stretch the floor by shooting (hopefully well), or get to the line with some consistency (poor ty doesn’t get to the line nearly enough… I’d be pretty frustrated about that if I were him).

    Trade?- I don’t see why not, but probably only for a big name or shooter. We have enough expendable pieces but I’d only want to lose the likes of Gallo, Chandler, Igudala, Brewer, Javale, Ty, or Koufos for an elite shooter with other abilities, or a star (J. smith, Gasol(s), Howard, Gay, JJ reddick, Cousins). Unless its an elite, well rounded shooter or a potential new best player on the team, I wouldn’t trade any of those guys, although they are all tradable. Faried is the only Nugget who is untouchable. Fornier, the Millers, Moz, and hamilton are expendable for a shooter or really any upgrade Masai could swing. I don’t see us parting with Fornier or stone though. All that being said, if we don’t make a move, thats fine and it wouldn’t surprise me. With all these talented pieces, we will be in good shape for the foreseeable future and should nab someone on our terms. Bottom line- it’s kind of disappointing that when you think about it any player but Faried is dispensable for the right player (although I’d certainly be sad to see several of them leave).

    Fill-in-the-blank- Score on more possessions. We get enough offensive rebounds, steals, blocks, and transition opportunities. We just need to score the rock more efficiently and bring our offense back up to a top 2 scoring machine. This probably isn’t realistic with the current coaching staff and a lack of executed strategies (like Tom said), but I think with our current group of players, even if our defense stayed where it is now (even though I think it can and should improve a bit more), our offense is not reaching its high-end potential. In other words, if our offense was doing its job, having a middling defensive efficiency, like we do (improved from last year, I believe), would be good enough to compete at a high level. So we need improved game planning or a better shooter- ideally both.

    Phew- if you read all that, I’m seriously shocked. I needed to purge my Nuggets thoughts for me more so than you all haha! Obviously feel free to argue, comment, or be a hater though if you by chance did read all that.

  • Gorillabuddy

    1. Who has been the Nuggets’ MVP through the first half of the season?

    Kenneth Faried. On an otherwise inconsistent and occasionally lazy team, he has been the one guy the Nuggets can always count on. Honorable mention goes to Corey Brewer for similar reasons.

    2. Who has been the Nuggets’ biggest disappointment through the first half of the season?

    Andre Iguodala. He hasn’t been a leader, and he’s barely(if at all) an upgrade over Afflalo, yet he costs $6 million more a year. It feels like he doesn’t want to be here.

    3. What is the Nuggets biggest weakness through the first half of the season and how can they fix it?

    Focus. They’ve repeatedly started out games flat, are dead last in free throw percentage, and tend to lose coming out of timeouts. Although it would be nice for someone like Ty or Iguodala to step up and prevent the team from doing this, the only person you can really lay the blame on is George Karl. It’s rare to see him visibly interested in what’s going on, and I think this is rubbing off on the team. He needs to actually give a damn every game, not just against the likes of OKC.

    4. Should the Nuggets make a move at the trade deadline or stand pat and continue to build continuity?

    I wouldn’t mind a small trade to pick up a sharpshooter like James Jones in exchange for a big man like Mozgov who rarely plays anyway, but I think it would be a bad idea to mess up the core. There are obviously still chemistry issues seeing as how often they turn the ball over and how inconsistent they play. The Nuggets have plenty of talent; it just needs time to gel.

    5. Fill in the blank: For the Nuggets to be successful in the playoffs this season they must ________.

    Improve their shooting. This is a team that lives in the paint, and must draw defenders away by making outside shots.

  • Michael (anotheraussienuggzfan)

    Another unlikely trade scenario…

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=b9tcqaa

    The heat get Mozgov who they have been rumoured to be interested in but have to give up Battier to balance the books.
    The Grizz get rid of Gay but get Iggy and Battier back in return.
    We get Gay who would hopefully put up better numbers (at least offensively) than Iggy.

  • Michael (anotheraussienuggzfan)

    One more trade…

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=ajtj7f8

    We get Millsap to provide solid support at the PF and the Jazz get to clear up their logjam at the PF/C position a little and get much needed improvement at SF and a young PG prospect.

  • Ban Johnson

    1. MVP = Faried (which is sad, because Faried is maddeningly inconsistent.) (Gallo very close 2nd, for his versatility and clutchness. Iguodala 3rd. Lawson 4th. Koufos 5th. Brewer 6th. Miller 7th. McGee 8th.)

    2. MDP = McGee! (this is partly on George Karl; he really shouldn’t be hamming it up about his frustration every time McGee does something dumb out there; instead he should be doing whatever it takes to harness McGee’s talent). (Iguodala 2nd. Ty 3rd. Gallo 4th — for his horrific shooting to start the season.)

    3. biggest weakness = The best players are consistently inconsistent. Every time Gallo, Faried, Iguodala, or Lawson have a monster game, you can really much book a sub-par outing the very next game. Why? It’s maddening. Only Koufos and Brewer have brought consistency this year.

    4. make move? = When you don’t have a superstar and you have depth to burn, you have to think about upgrading. Pretty much anyone who will fit into the up-tempo Denver dribble-drive system should be considered. This includes Pau, Rondo, Josh Smith…

    5. must do = Defend the rim. This means 1) less small-ball, 2) better play from McGee. McGee’s schooling with Olajuwon this summer is looking like a disaster. It’s made him think he can make crazy fade-away 15-foot jumpers! Who needs that? Rebound and have your teammates’ backs on defense! That’s what a center does!

  • magster

    Rumored Iggy & Mozgov for P. Gasol trade…. any takers besides me?

    • Ban Johnson

      This is a tough one:
      1) Pau’s contract is huge through next season. Signing Brewer would be impossible unless you also just dumped WC for nothing in return (except maybe a draft pick).
      2) It’s not clear how much worse he is than he was at his peak. He’s clearly a bad fit as a stretch 4 in L.A. But if he’s still a good post player…then he’d be a close to ideal 5 in Denver’s system.

      I’m pretty sure this “rumor” was just Bill Simmons mentioning it to Zach Lowe in their column on the Lakers.

      Still, you’d have to consider it if it’s on the table. Excellent post scorers who can also play smart positional D are not easy to come by. Think how nice it would be to have someone to dump the ball to when the offense stalls in the half-court.

      • magster

        The FT%age alone would be a net plus, as would his mid range game. Iggy has been a disappointment, and with the emergence of Chandler from his injury, I think this trade would make us better.

    • Tom

      I love this trade! I like Iguodala, but he’s not and never will be as good as Gasol, and it’s not like Gasol has been any more disappointing than Iggy this season. It would also open up more playing time for Brewer, Hamilton, and Fournier at the 2 and 3.

      Actually, I would see if the Lakers would bite on Iggy and McGee for Gasol (and maybe some other scrub). This would set-up Denver’s cap situation quite nicely; I’d rather have my backup center making 3 mil per year than 11 mil per year. Gasol would start at the 5 with Koufos filling in at the 4 and 5 off the bench. Mozgov would be the third option at the 5.

  • googergieger

    Gasol in Denver would be pretty terrible. Defensively we don’t get any better and offensively we get much, much, slower. The only upside would be Karl probably not going small anymore because Pau is a “veteran”.

  • hobbs999

    One of our biggest problems the Nuggets have had the last 2 years is the 3 point shooting percentage that we are allowing. It has continually been near the worst in the league and game after game we are seeing players and teams having career shooting nights.

    I have been tracking this a little bit myself and I have noticed a few major trends. Some of it is system, including over switching and what seems like a direction that players collapse in too much on dribble drives. Which is somewhat interesting because this is one of the tenets of our offensive system, seems like the Nuggets should know better.

    Lack of effort off of high screens is another problem, this is a fairly universal problem for most of our perimeter defenders, Iggy is the exception. Ty and CBrew are especially bad at getting sealed off of 3 point shooters.

    Finally, I have noticed that several of our players are continually out of position on defense. Ty is probably the worst, he is often caught ball watching on the perimeter. I believe his lack of height is also a disadvantage as it further hinders his ability to effectively close out on his man. The desperate Ty lunge at a 3 point shooter has become a staple of our perimeter defense.

    CBrew also tends to be victimized this way, though he is a pesky on the ball defender he tends to be an aggressive rover and also gets caught out of position. Faried really struggle on stretch forwards and often seems uncomfortable away from the paint. Finally Andre Miller is often slow on rotations and is also caught out of position. Miller’s problems are mostly effort related, some nights he seems to want to play some defense sometimes not.

    Basically this means that out of our rotation players, only one Iggy is a plus team perimeter defender. It also does not seem to be getting much better. Going back to the system, it definitely does not seem that Karl is willing to work at all with dealing with the pieces he has. He continues to push his over switching concept, hoping the players will adapt. At some point maybe Karl should adapt his system a little, to compensate for the players he has.

  • Grant

    I’d trade Iggy for a can of refried beans at this point.

  • Charliemyboy

    Why keep dreaming about unrealistic trades? You think the GM cares? Our team was a machine during the third qtr against Houston.

  • Tom

    1. MVP: Gallinari. The guy takes and makes big shots, plays solid defense, makes free throws, plays smart, and hustles. When he’s playing well, the Nuggets are a very tough team to beat. When he’s not playing well or injured, the Nuggets are very average as evidenced by last year.

    2. Disappointment: McGee. We traded away a very solid player to get him and gave him a fat contract, but he’s the same old player he was in Washington. Paying a guy 11 mil per year to play 19 minutes per game off the bench is ridiculous. I would take Nene back in a heartbeat (look how much better Washington is playing now that Wall and Nene are healthy).

    3. Weakness: free throw shooting, and it isn’t even close. The Nuggets used to be one of the best free throw shooting teams in the league, and consequently perennially had a top-3 offense. Now they’re the worst team in the league. How can you possibly be the worst team and not even have Dwight Howard playing for you? If a few more free throws were hit here and there, the Nuggets would be vying for a top-3 seed right now. The Nuggets really miss guys like Melo and Chauncey in that department.

    4. Yes, make a trade. There’s no way this team will have success in the playoffs with the way they shoot. Free throws and three pointers matter. They also have problems defending the post. I see no reason for them stand pat. The only problem is there aren’t a lot of shooters on the market that would have a huge impact on the team. The player would need to be a JR Smith type. But there are some good post players being dangled out there, and the Nuggets should take a long look at them, especially guys like Pau Gasol and Josh Smith.

    5. To have success in the playoffs, the Nuggets need to get lucky. The teams ahead of them in the standings are all arguably better, and without home court advantage in the first round, it’ll be difficult for the Nuggets to advance. So they either need to get lucky and snag a top 4 seed, or get lucky as a road dog in the playoffs. Getting a top seed is more realistic than beating a good team on the road.