Staking a Claim is a column that takes a look at all things Nuggets through the eyes of an outsider. As those who follow me on Twitter know I am a Bucks fan, so it will give Nuggets fans an opportunity to see things through the eyes of someone who follows the team closely but isn’t necessarily a fan.
A little over a week ago the Nuggets season came to a disappointing end in a Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Over that time I have thought a lot about how to classify the Nuggets season.
Was it a success or failure? How much can be built on and how much should the team get away from? Can this roster compete for a title with a few tweaks or is there a major change that has to happen?
And finally after watching the Warriors continue their, to steal a term from Matt Moore, nova shooting against the Spurs things started to become much clearer to me.
As Joel announced a few minutes ago Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri has won this season’s NBA Executive of the Year award, becoming the third Nuggets executive to win the award after Vince Boryla in 1984-85 and Mark Warkentien in 2008-09.
UPDATE: Just minutes after posting this, it was announced on the official Denver Nuggets Twitter feed (@DenverNuggets) that Ujiri has officially won the Executive of the Year award. More details at Nuggets.com here.
Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) of DenverPost.com has reported that just on the heels of George Karl winning Coach of the Year, Masai Ujiri will also receive a prestigious NBA honor by being named 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year: (more…)
After a historic 57-win season including a franchise record 15 straight wins, George Karl has become the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy for 2012-13 NBA Coach of the Year. Karl received 62 first place votes followed by the Miami Heat’s Eric Spoelstra with 24. Mike Woodson and Greg Popovich finished third and fourth respectively. Karl becomes the second Nuggets coach in history to win this award after Doug Moe took home the honors in 1987-88.
“By the end of the 2003 baseball season I had learned something from publishing Moneyball. I learned that if you look long enough for an argument against reason you will find it.” — Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
As I sat trying to formulate a clever way to say the words “thank you” I had quite the epiphany: Saying “thank you” isn’t something that should be hard. The average person probably says “thank you” more than five times per day. It’s not something you think about. You just say it.
The greatest regular season in Denver Nuggets history deserved a better ending.
No one expected a return to the postseason irrelevance of Karl’s previous Nuggets teams, who frequently battled near impossible odds against heavily favored contenders on the road. This team was different. They were the favorites, having built a 57-win three-seed around a young core just one year removed from taking the Lakers to 7 games.
So what happened?
Capitalizing on the many mistakes made by the Warriors down the stretch, the Nuggets put themselves in a position to win this game near the end. They closed the deficit to just two points with 32 seconds remaining after having trailed by as many as 18 earlier in the fourth quarter. But with poor offensive execution in those final seconds, punctuated with symbolic flair by a missed Andre Miller 3-pointer on their final possession, they ultimately fell short of a comeback, and fell to their ninth first round playoff exit in ten seasons, eight (or seven) under the tenure of George Karl.
There is a lot that could be said about this one game. But it was essentially a microcosm and extension of the entire series. The Nuggets were (more…)
As George Karl was forced to make adjustments to counteract Stephen Curry and the Warriors new small ball lineup in the series, two main thoughts started to pop up. First let Curry get his points and limit his teammates and second play a big lineup, like Denver has done all season long with two traditional bigs instead of Wilson Chandler at the power forward spot.
Unfortunately for the Nuggets, despite a victory in Game 5, doing those things may not be possible together. One of the important parts of the Nuggets playing with two bigs is Kenneth Faried playing Harrison Barnes on the defensive end. But Faried has struggled a bit in that role as his unfamiliarity of defensive rotations has allowed Barnes to get a lot of open shot attempts, some he has knocked down and some he hasn’t. The following are four examples of the problems Faried has had, three makes and a miss, from Game 5 when Barnes had 23 points.