5-on-5: New front office appraisal

It’s been several months since the NBA’s reigning GM of the Year, Masai Ujiri, was inexplicably let go by the Nuggets and replaced with Tim Connelly. Since that time the Nuggets have made a variety of eyebrow-raising moves that have accented the most turbulent offseason in recent memory. Now, in light of the Nuggets’ recent completion of putting together a full 15-man roster under the new regime, our team at RMC will divulge our first impressions of Connelly and Co.’s transactions in our latest 5-on-5. As always, we encourage you voice your answers to the following questions in the comments section below.

1. Now that the Nuggets finally have a full 15-man roster, what can we deduce about the new front office?

Tom: The new front office looks for low-cost players who do at least one thing very well. Foye and Robinson were both very good 3-point shooters last season and Hickson was near the top of the league in rebounding. All three of them combined to make less money than Tyreke Evans or Andre Iguodala. The new front office doesn’t yet seem to care about balancing the roster, employing three point guards who each played over 25 minutes per game last season.

Matt: What they did this offseason only makes sense if they have a win-now command from the Kroenkes, so I am not sure you can really judge them. Otherwise why bring in Nate Robinson, J.J. Hickson and Randy Foye who, counting the 2013-2014 season, will have played for a combined 13 teams in 20 years? They are veteran journeymen, average players who help a team win a few games but aren’t huge difference makers.

Vytis: That they got desperate real quick after Andre Iguodala left. Obviously it’s not the best of situations to come into. One of your best players leaves and you don’t really have cap space to find a suitable replacement. Meanwhile, the fans are expecting the team to be as good as last year. So instead of admitting defeat and developing young players, the front office went out and tried to get players that would help the team stay competitive.

Joel: Based on what’s happened so far, I’m fairly unimpressed and disappointed. Notwithstanding the possibility of making further moves which puts everything into a more favorable context, their apparent commitment to stacking the roster with middling contract, mediocre players of dubious trade value is frankly baffling. At present, it’s not apparent they have a vision for the future that is more solid and cohesive than grasping at straws. I hope they’ll prove me wrong, but I’m no longer holding my breath.

Kalen: That Masai Ujiri and the Nuggets front office salad days are as good as gone. Connelly deserves a chance and the moves he’s made thus far haven’t been atrocious, but the breadth in talent between the old front office and the new one is already being manifested. There was a time not too long ago when the Nuggets were on a sturdy path to contending for a championship. That path no longer exists — at least, not at this moment.

2. How will the inability to sign Erick Green reflect upon the new front office even if his rights are retained after this year?

Tom: I still hold out hope that a roster-clearing move is coming, and that Erick Green will get some D-league minutes and the occasional stint with the Nuggets. But I won’t see it as a big loss if he spends a year overseas refining his game and then comes in next season more ready to contribute.

Matt: While I disagree with the concept, since the team seems to be in win-now mode, not signing Green doesn’t matter. If Denver is trying to make the playoffs this season Nate Robinson at his price is a much better alternative to a rookie, especially with the added pressure point guards in Denver will face this year creating offense. This allows Green to take some time to develop in Europe and be ready once Robinson moves on.

Vytis: To be honest, the inability to sign Erick Green is way down the list of shocking decisions the Nuggets have made this summer. As much as I would love to see another young, big guard who can shoot on the Nuggets’ roster, I’m not that fussed about it. As long as his rights are retained and he can play overseas and join the team in a year or two, I’m fine with it.

Joel: This is not a big deal. Green did not hit the ground running at Summer League, and it seems like a year of professional experience overseas could benefit his chances of becoming a legit NBA player. More worrisome is the playing time Denver’s returning young, developing players may lose to the many new players the front office has signed. It seems self contradictory given how it was widely reported that Karl was fired, in part, for not giving the developing players enough minutes.

Kalen: It’s hard to say but from my standpoint it displays the new front office’s lack of experience. How many teams around the league draft players from the U.S. and don’t sign them that same year? The Nuggets knew they had a talented rookie and continued to sign players similar to in both size and skill set. Green would have saved the Nuggets money this year and created more playing time for a young up-and-comer instead a journeyman veteran.

3. Of all the moves the Nuggets have made this offseason, which is your most and least favorite?

Tom: My most favorite move is replacing George Karl with Brian Shaw. George Karl has consistently won in the regular season and lost in the playoffs. It was time to give someone else a chance. My least favorite move is trading Koufos for Darrell Arthur. I’m not sure if it’s a bad move exactly, it’s just a confusing move that doesn’t have any clear purpose.

Matt: My favorite is the Nate Robinson signing. The Nuggets need people to create offense for themselves and others and Nate will do just that as well as bring some long-range shooting. My least favorite is a tie between signing J.J. Hickson and trading Kosta Koufos. Out of Denver’s four probable rotation bigs (JaVale, Faried, Mozzy, J.J.) there are zero players in the group who have shown the ability to be average on defense consistently. That is troubling.

Vytis: Most favorite: Can I say not signing Monta Ellis? No? Fine. Honestly, it probably has to be signing Nate Robinson. I love watching him play and while he has a lot of flaws I think the price is very good for what you get.

Joel: No isolated moves made this summer are incredibly bad, but trading Koufos for Arthur, and then signing Hickson strikes me as the worst flub. Koufos should have landed more value. Denver essentially traded a starting center for a third- or fourth-string bench warmer. Among newly signed players, the best contract is clearly Robinson’s, but the best move overall was hiring Brian Shaw, who is Denver’s best hope of making sense and success of this mostly hurly-burly offseason.

Kalen: Obviously cutting ties with Karl was necessary and long overdue. That was a good move. However, letting Ujiri and Iguodala walk was disastrous. As for the players, I really like the addition of Darrell Arthur. If he can stay healthy he has the potential to be an excellent pick-and-pop option off the bench. Conversely, the signing of Randy Foye confuses me. His stats are seriously underwhelming and I’m scared he could take time away from younger guys who need to develop.

4. Many believe the Nuggets are gearing up for a trade. Knowing this, what realistic trade scenario should the Nuggets pursue that would bring a star player back to Denver?

Tom: With Dallas gearing up to miss the playoffs, Dirk Nowitzki might be available. He could be had for Kenneth Faried, the currently injured Danilo Gallinari, and the contracts of Andre Miller and Anthony Randolph. Dallas gets two very good, young players to build around while probably improving their draft position. Denver gets a veteran All-Star who could guide the team to a championship. It would be a risky move, but the upside would be worth it.

Matt: Denver’s two best assets are Lawson and Gallinari, but I can’t see the Nuggets trading either. Faried is most valuable to contenders so the best that comes from him is a late first-rounder, and you can’t move the new guys until December. So what’s left? Hamilton, the Millers, Fournier and Chandler who has to start until Gallinari returns. Omer Asik would fix a lot up front defensively though, as he would instantly be the Nuggets best big.

Vytis: The two All-Star players most available right now have to be Rajon Rondo and LaMarcus Aldridge. If a trade does happen it will likely be mid-season, especially if it involves Rondo. Problem is the Nuggets don’t really need Rondo with Lawson on board. As far as bringing a superstar to Denver goes, it’s not looking very good and it’s very hard to speculate. The most likely scenario would be waiting till Danilo Gallinari returns and using him as trade bait.

Joel: Come mid-December, if there’s any chance of trading Mozgov in a package including Andre Miller and/or one of Denver’s many power forwards for Houston’s Omer Asik, then Denver should try. Asik reportedly wants to be traded, and the Rockets need to bolster their depth at the one and four. Flipping Asik for multiple players might be their best chance. Between his post defense, rebounding prowess, toughness and sound play, Asik would be a great complimentary player to McGee.

Kalen: I’ve been on the Pau Gasol bandwagon for a while now and have no intentions of jumping off anytime soon. He just turned 33 and still has a good three years left in the tank. He’s the exact type of veteran presence — a guy who’s won titles and been named an All-Star — the Nuggets need to take that next step as a team. A combination of Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari and J.J. Hickson might be enough to incite the Lakers to bite.

5. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the new front office’s ability to construct a hierarchical, 15-man roster?

Tom: Incomplete. Right now we know this front office is capable of adding a few free agents to an existing roster, and capable of salvaging value from an outbound free agent. But we don’t have the full picture yet. Until at least one big trade or another offseason materializes it will be hard to separate what this front office is trying to do from what the previous front office dropped in their laps.

Matt: Three. This team looks like a capped-out seven or eight seed, which is the worst place you can be as a franchise. Unless Brian Shaw is actually the greatest defensive coach of all time this is going to be one of the worst defenses in the league and there isn’t a ton of room to make that better without unforeseen, massive improvement or overhaul. Since a great defense is a must to win a title, that is crippling.

Vytis: Four. The front office addressed the spacing issue by adding some decent 3-point shooters, but other than that, very little makes sense. Koufos, the team’s best and pretty much only good post defender, was discarded while Hickson, Robinson and Foye, all of whom have an inherent difficulty to commit to the defensive end, were brought in. There is also very little indication as to who will soak up the minutes off the bench, leading to a whole lot of uncertainty.

Joel: It’s hard to discern a pattern to Denver’s offseason moves, but it seems they basically want guys who can shoot reasonably well, and are athletic (defense be damned). But the Nuggets’ new identity remains elusive, and I’m concerned about this offseason’s potential long-term harm. However, it’s far from over, and because it’s too soon to make a final verdict, I’ll give the front office a provisional five. That’s higher than my gut tells me, but the lowest I can go without being prematurely unfair.

Kalen: Five. The Nuggets signed a lot of decent players this summer. If you look at the roster from 1-15, there’s no deeper team in the entire league. But that doesn’t meant the pieces will all fit together in unison, nor does it guarantee success come playoff time. The Nuggets had a team full of great role players with several fringe All-Stars and simply added more solid role players to the mix. Furthermore, the type of player the Nuggets went after in free agency (non defensive minded) was somewhat frustrating.

  • herpderpnuggets

    sorry but whoever said trade faried miller and gallo for dirk….oh boy…..that to me sounds horrible. Wouldnt be completely opposed to Asik being on the team though. javale and asik on the floor would be beastly

    • TomRMC

      It would be risky to give up Faried, Gallo, and filler for Dirk. It’s tough to give up two great assets for a guy who might only have a couple years left. But it’s also got championship upside.

      Imagine a starting five of Ty, Fournier, Chandler, Dirk, and JaVale. How does any team in the league successfully defend a Lawson-Dirk pick and roll with two good shooters on the wing and JaVale just waiting for his man to leave for a split second so he can go up for an alley-oop? That’s a big, athletic lineup that could play great defense with the right scheme. Robinson, Foye, Hickson, and Mozgov make up an adequate bench, though either Jordan Hamilton or Quincy Miller would need to step up as a backup small forward.

      That said, I’d also be all for trading a couple of bench players for Asik. He’s no star, but he’d be frighteningly good alongside either Faried or McGee.

      • herpderpnuggets

        You make a solid argument, but as pointed out by others, dirk would fit the “win now” scheme, and who knows….hes getting older he isnt going to be the mvp that he once was.

      • LBJ

        It wouldn’t be risky to trade Gallo and Faried for Dirk – it would be foolish. Getting rid of 2 young talented guys for a couple of years of Dirk – would ruin our future (Joshy and Timmy signing bunch of retreads is already heading us in that direction). I like Fournier as much as the next guy, but to think he can start at SG for a title contender is wishful thinking. I also seriously question the ability of that team to defend. Dirk is no lock down defender, McGee can’t box out, Chandler fouls too much and Lawson is average at best.
        As far as trading for Asik, I like the guy – and wished we would have signed him instead of McGoof. However, trading for him doesn’t make a lot of sense – as he would be in the same situation as he is bitching about in Houston. He would be backing up McGee (granted that gives him a lot more minutes than backing up Howard). A 3 way deal, where Asik goes to NO, one of our PF goes to Houston and we get a 2/3 from NO makes more sense.

        • Bricks

          Good comments, LBJ. KronCon is not going after a 5, period. JaVale’s being given the red-carpet, because Josh wants to see a return on his $44M investment. (This is THE main reason Kouf is gone!) I’d love to have Asik, but Nugs won’t touch him, because Josh, in particular, does not want a controversy at C.

          About Dirk, not only is he not a lock-down defender, he’s a waste of 7-foot flesh on the boards. All that said, I’d still love to have him in Denver (but not for Gallo and Faried).

    • Clive Lee

      i heard dirk and cuban are like bff’s.

  • Herman VanNess

    Best move. Not signing Iguodola. I would have hated to see them bogged down 2 or 3 years from now with an aging non-shooting, free-throw bricking, liability on offense. Sure, he gives effort on defense but, all of this lock down defender stuff is hogwash. He’s a high priced, overhyped version of Dante Jones.The Nuggets have enough assets on reasonable deals that they will be able to move them or let them walk at the end of their contracts in an attempt to get a real shooting guard. I’d much rather go that route than have a 34 year old Iguodola taking up cap space at the end of his deal. He appears to be on the decline and is in my opinion one of the most overrated players in the league.

    I’m taking a wait and see approach but I’m happy to be off of the George Karl treadmill. Last years team, moving forward was not going to win anything in the playoffs. Last year, this year, or any other year. Koufos would not be a starter on any championship team that didn’t have LeBron James on it. He’s a back up. Plain and simple. He gets way too much credit for being not terrible. I’d rather swing for the fences and take my chances on an A talent with a C game (that flashes some A game) with room to grow rather than a C- talent with a C game.

    • Clive Lee

      i get what you’re saying about AI’s limitations. nevertheless, GSW got a pretty awesome deal. AI for $12M/yr? there aren’t many teams in the league who wouldn’t jump on that.

    • Paul Griggs

      I liked iffy because he was one of the few team players and played hard. He wasn’t worth the money and he definitely seemed irritated with the immature play of most of his teammates–Denver was not the right place for him.

      • Bricks

        Iffy. Freudian slip?

    • gimpcom187

      If by hogwash you mean: when iggy played the defense was commensurate to a top 5 defense. When he was not they were BOTTOM 5. Also he played much better the last 40 games than the first 40 on offense and he was easily the most valuable player on the nugs in the playoffs. Get ready for a HUGE points per posession increase. Even thibs would have trouble keepingthis team in the top half of league on defense without iggy, koufus, and gallo (wont be the same until next year.)

      • Herman VanNess

        TEAM defense and a defensive concept is far more valuable than any one defender. Can Iggy really lock down Kobe, Durant, Westbrook, or LeBron? No. How did he do against Curry? The idea he’s a lockdown defender is hogwash in my opinion.

        If the new coaching staff can implement a solid defensive scheme, he can be replaced.

        • gimpcom187

          Actually he played less than half the series against curry as thompson would go off when iggy wasnt playing him. I recallcurrys 2 best runs I the third quarters were with iguodala NOT guarding him. Not to mention curry is a dominant shooter on pace for the best in the history of the nba. He was great against the spurs until the ankle injury again in game 3?

          His great defense disrupts the opponent which obiously seemed to make the team defense run better. Dominant defenses need good team concept AND at least one disruptive force. Most of the time it is abig like duncan hibbert, etc. Its rare for a wing to have that type of impact (pippen, maybe bruce bowen, lebron james is pretty much the list) iggy seems to statistically fit that profile.

          Seems like just wishful thinking on your part as the statistical evidence doesnt support you.

          • LBJ

            Exactly. Iggy had Thompson pretty frustrated in several of the games.
            Iggy does a decent job on the aforementioned stars – but I haven’t noticed too many guys in the NBA “locking down” LeBron, Durant, Kobe.

  • Sócrates Manzoni

    Why trade Gallo? His trade value is at its lowest until he returns from the injury, he has a very manageable contract and between him and Lawson we have twi guys who would be the second or third best players in a contender. Gallo is the type of player you trade for not the one you trade away. His talent level is that of a top 10 pick and though he will never be a supestar, he is better than 90% of all NBA players (top 50)

    • Clive Lee

      Good point. I think having 5 guys like that is really the only way for midsize market teams to contend for a championship. (Unless your team’s executive is a sly devil named Pat Riley)

      • Bricks

        You’re right about Riley — he’s a sly devil — but Miami’s not a mid-market team. They’re one of the biggies. Most stars want to go where they think they can win, not necessarily to a big market . . . unless you’re Mr. La La Vasquez.

        • Clive Lee

          http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2011/03/nba-market-size-numbers-game/

          conclusion: we need our own sly devil. Someone buy Connelly a better suit and a tub of hair wax.

          • Bricks

            Very good article. I was honestly not aware of the very slight differences in size between NBA markets commonly referred to as big, medium or small. And definitely was not award that Miami is only a slightly bigger market than Denver! Thanks . . .

  • Clive Lee

    i want to see boykins resigned (He played 8 games for houston last season!??!) and go 1-on-1 with Nate Robinson in practice. Ty takes winner.

  • Charliemyboy

    I feel relieved that most of the comments by Kalen, et. al., are how I feel. Destroyed a potential contender due to egos and stubbornness. One more year with what we had would have been fun. Then Karl could have gone if he wouldn’t have went further in the playoffs. But now? Iggy was #3 free agent and new management knew it and tried as best they could to address that major loss. There is a reason a player gets what he got. Like Ty, and Gallo. Now we have a handful of good people it appears, but not impact players like Iggy, even collectively. Defense is what wins championships. We will miss KK, watch. We will be able to make excuses for Shaw for a couple of years. I guess I’ll be happy with some wins. But I don’t expect a year like last for several or beyond. Only if McGee and Faried play team ball and defense can we excel with this team. I just don’t see anyone out there that might apply, either. I think Josh made a rash decision. The team must have the jitters. Let’s see how Shaw handles it.

  • Clive Lee

    The only problem with getting Asik is that Morey would work his dark magic and fleece us. He’s probably biding his time to choose his next victim. Before we realize what happened, we would have given him bunch of picks, assets, and physical trainer Hess. Oh and he would have convinced us to KEEP Andre Miller. :((((

    • Daniel Winston

      lol

  • Vitor Lago

    If they really wanted I think this team has enough assets to get both Rondo and Aldridge. Could send Faried, Fournier, Hamilton and Miller to Portland for Aldridge and some expiring contracts and then trade Lawson, McGee and Chandler for Rondo and some more expiring contracts. But this isn’t NBA 2K14 so I doubt we would ever make such a bold move. But really, if Rondo and Aldridge really wanted to be in Denver that would be a really solid core to have along with Gallo.

    • toluene hawk

      Trade a Starting 5, a 6th man, and a role player for two starters and some junk contracts?

      Sign yourself up for greatest post in the history of the internet.

    • Evan Woodruff

      IF THE LEAGUE WAS 2 ON 2 THEN SURE BUDDY

  • eds322

    I’m still scratching my head at the Foye pick-up but other than that, I think the Nuggets did fine for an off season where Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Andre Igoudala, Andrew Bynum, and Josh Smith were the headliners.

    What are the positives we can take away from losing Igoudala, Koufos, Brewer, and Stone and gaining Robinson, Hickson, Arthur, and Foye?

    Checking pure stats from last year, we improved in the categories we were near the bottom in the league in. We improved in free throw percentage and three point percentage. Two categories where we stunk and yet we improved already through FA, good job.

    Now, onto KK^2. Yall talk like Koufos is our lord and savor. What happened in the playoffs? I’ve never seen a guy so lost on the court as I did KK^2 in the playoff series against Golden State. Did he all of a sudden lose his powers to the Munstars in Space Jam or something? Goll-ey. How many times did he fumble the ball when he was passed to in the paint? How many NeNe-isque floaters must I see when he’s 2 feet away from the basket? He had his good games but man, yall sound like we lost our best player.

    Overall, A+ on not resigning the Curry-Lover and firing Karl. 2014 would have been another year, another first round exit with these two on board.

  • PlatoPlaysBasketball

    Nice article, I enjoy 5-on-5’s where we get to see differing yet intelligent evaluations. For all the talk about playoff wins, win-now and the like, I see a team that will win 50 games in the regular season but fail in the playoffs. Two reasons, depth concentration and defense. When you look at what wins in the playoffs, it’s not star power per-say, but rather a concentration of talent. Great teams have a star or two, then the rest of the players have concentrated skill sets. A nine deep rotation of talented player is what depth looks like, not 15. The nuggets are the deepest team over the entire roster, so If we got points for playing backups vs backups, we’d be sure fire contenders. The office knows this, so perhaps they are using this year as a competition between our young promising players and our new journeyman signings
    We also failed to improve player wise against the thing that killed us most all season long: 3pt defense. Only Fournier among the guards has the length and potential to play solid defense at the arc. Part of those issue last season were schematic, and part were effort based( see Andre miller), but our guards are too small to really present a shot contesting threat to Kobe, Westbrook, curry, or even against role players like Gary Neal or mike miller. For failing to address this, the FO gets a 4.

  • Jazz

    A. Miller and W. Chandler for the Loul Deng(Bulls). Bulls get a back up to Rose and a Small forward to back-up Butler who they like. Your thoughts Go Nuggetsssssss

    • herpderpnuggets

      i think its possible, but not probable, and luol has a pretty big contract too and i dont think the nuggets could take that on

      • Bricks

        I’d give up any of our 4s for Deng, but I agree with you, herp.

    • PlatoPlaysBasketball

      I would prefer Chandler to Deng, cheaper, better shooter and slasher, still a good defender. We are set at SF with the Gallo/Chandler tandem. Need to bolster SG, but its a slim position. Best hope is Fournier to develop.

    • Vitor Lago

      The Bulls have Kirk Hinrich who is a better backup PG than Miller is at this point in his career. I would rather unload Miller along with Randolph for nothing more than a decent draft pick and stick with the current squad.

  • Ernie

    The worst move to me was letting Masai go. Every move before seemed to make sense, every move since can be questioned. This includes draft picks, trades, FA pickups, front office moves, whatever. Only area of doubt is on hiring Shaw, hoping that one pans out but obviously too early to tell.

    • PlatoPlaysBasketball

      I agree Masai was a rare, valuable GM, and I wish Josh had paid what he had earned. That being said, its possible Josh did make an offer, but Masai wanted to go to Toronto anyway. An unknowable quandary. One thing to note about Masai, many of his moves seemed dubious at first, but time showed them to be shrewd. Let’s offer Tim the same luxury before any final judgements are passed.

      • Ernie

        We know Josh made an offer to Masai, the issue was he didn’t sign him to an extension before Masai’s contract was complete and the Toronto job opened up. Something about playing out every contract before a new one is signed. Just a poorly thought out policy and decision by Josh as it means your best people are more likely to leave.

        As for Masai’s moves, I think most fans felt on every trade he got the best he could. Maybe people weren’t happy he helped Dwight go to LA but it brought AI. And maybe they didn’t like Fournier in the first round even if they admitted if he switched rounds with Quincy Miller in the 2nd it would have been well received. But it always felt like Masai was playing chess when in the past the team played checkers.

        The fact that we seem to get older and shorter with each move since doesn’t help. But it’s not like I won’t watch the team this year to see how it works out.

      • Bricks

        Masai’s reason for leaving the Nugs was all about wanting to work for, and be associated with, the man he respects most in basketball — Bryan Colangelo — also the man who will be able to help Masai achieve his lofty goals far more quickly than he could being employed by the Kronks.

        • LBJ

          Actually, Masai is pretty much taking Colangelo’s job. I suspect the $$$ had a lot to do with Ujiri’s decision.

    • Clive Lee

      And Masai is turning things around in Toronto so quickly! He got a first round pick out of Bargiani! HOW’D WE LET HIM GO?

  • Brad Murdock

    “It’s hard to say but from my standpoint it displays the new front office’s lack of experience. How many teams around the league draft players from the U.S. and don’t sign them that same year?”

    How many 2nd round picks are signed to playoff teams the year they are drafted? How many 2nd round picks pan out in the NBA? There’s a reason Green isn’t on our roster. He just isn’t good enough at this point in time. I feel like all the Nuggets journalists look at Green through rose tinted glasses. He was a second round pick. Not a first. He does not deserve to be signed until he has beaten out the other players on this team. Applying your same logic, you should be upset that Joffrey isn’t on the team either. He’s also a second rounder from this year.

    • Clive Lee

      that’s true. Spurs do that all the time. and I hear they’re pretty good :P

    • PlatoPlaysBasketball

      As a devil’s advocate I offer this. Green was a steal as a second rounder. Many experts had him going in the first round. He was also the NCAA points leader. Some would argue that is a more desirable player on the roster due to potential, cheap value, and creating ability than our overpaid, undersized point forward Andre Miller. It would seem an inefficient training model, to some, not let Green practice with the big boys.

      • Bricks

        Stat-wise and accolades in the ACC made Green look like a steal. But the SL games I watched . . . there is no one on the Nugs roster who I’d replace with Green. It may be time for AMiller to be gone — even though he’s still capable of single-handedly winning a couple games for a team — but the thought of replacing him on the roster with Green is asking for a rook buried dead last on the bench. At least ‘Dre can contribute some valuable minutes NOW.

        • PlatoPlaysBasketball

          How will dre get valuable minutes? Robinson and Lawson should be taking the bulk of the minutes, and dre should never be on the floor the same time as Lawson. If we are going to have someone deep on the bench I’d rather pay them a rookie salary than dre’s 5million. Plus being on the roster will allow green to practice against real nba talent, not some d league dregs. Potential will remain such without incentive to harness it.

          • Bricks

            NateRob will not only play PG, he’ll see minutes at 2. And if AMiller remains on this roster, you can bet you’ll see him and Robinson in the backcourt together for a few minutes a game.

  • Paul Griggs

    I had to leave the country the FO moves were so bad. Anyone building a team around Novitski is crazy–he’s old and soft and would demand too much money and we’d lose too much talent to get him. I’m a huge Karl fan–I think we’ll see a huge drop off but Shaw has by far the best possibility for an upside. Robinson is a huge mistake, Arthur is a nobody, Foye is a joke, Dickson is OK. I think there’s a disconnect between a defense minded coach and nobody who will play consistent D. Karl got the most out of this group–the talent isn’t as good as he made it seem. They need to build around Gallo, Lawson, Chandler, faired and Fournier. McGee is a mystery to me and to himself. Greetings from Vienna.

    • Bricks

      Nowitski no. Asik I like. I think you meant Hickson . . . who will prove to be the A-pick of the offseason. Nice comment: “McGee is a mystery to me and to himself.” Nice work, PGriggs.

      • dynamo.joe

        The only problem with the Asik scenario is we just traded Asik to get Arthur.

        • Bricks

          LOL! That is funny, and maybe true. Asik brings some better offense in the post, I think.

  • MacKenzie Pantoja

    The one move I can support is Robinson. I don’t care who he is, if you can get a guy who was the starting point guard on a playoff team, and he’s only 29, and all you had to give him was 2 years, 4 million, you couldn’t have made a bad move. He’s an average fit, but we got him for pennies on the dollar.

  • Jordan Queen

    I feel the Nuggets are being underappreciated for this next year. The team is in a good position for Shaw’s first year. We have a lot of mid level talent and competition for playing time which will allow Shaw to try out and pick a core group he likes. From there we will be able to trade the extra pieces. We aren’t a big market so sometimes players like Igoudala are going to leave. We are very young, a lot of the players on the team have yet to play their best basketball. Along with that, we added shooting which is what killed us last year. Sure losing Igoudala will hurt on defense but we have added players who can hit free throws and long shots. This will help space the floor for lawson and improve our overall offensive efficiency. With our added guards Miller will not have to play a ton of minutes and we have added depth at Power Forward. Losing Koufos is not a big deal, teams figured out the “Koufos cut”, which led to him doing essentially nothing in the Warriors series. We now have players who can score at the 4 without being spoon fed a basket. This team is not a contender but if we grow this year and make a move next season we could be right there. A superstar is not coming any time soon so the way the Nugs are building the team is really the only way for a mid market to do it.

  • NuggZeit

    Y’all are some negative Nancies. The FO did a decent job with the hand
    dealt. Hard to blame Josh for Masai leaving – they both said so, I
    choose to believe them.

    Iguodala – that is a tough one to swallow, and maybe they didn’t do
    enough to convince him to stay, but come on people, he clearly has a
    man-crush on Mark Jackson and took less money to go to GS. Let’s not
    delude ourselves here, Iggy is a traitor and I hope we smash GS this
    year. At the same time, Iggy wasn’t a world beater for us – he’s
    obviously not a trouble maker, but he also didn’t really contribute to
    team cohesion, and all the stats say he was average – he is
    significantly over-rated – which brings me to my final point – we should
    have convinced him to sign and then traded him by the deadline for a
    real baller.

    Grading the FO – 10 would be a nearly impossible feat like landing
    LeBron or possibly Howard (though that wasn’t happening even if Masai
    was here still), so a 10 is off the table completely. But let’s be
    realistic here 3-5 range is way too low – I think it’s more like the 5-7
    range.

    JJ Hickson and Nate Robs are both pretty good at there positions, they
    are great value pick ups for the Nuggs – anyone who can’t see this is
    blind. Are they perfect 2 way players? no, but good luck finding many of
    those – even Iggy isn’t that (highly flawed offense) – I think most
    analysts and commenters are far undervaluing these acquisitions. Foye
    and Arthur are trade garbage who might see limited minutes in limited
    roles ( & DA for specific match ups) or possibly contracts to make a
    trade work.

    It’s clear the worst move so far involving players was the Trade of
    Koufos – it seemed desperate, I really don’t understand why we didn’t
    let the pot stew a little bit and get more value. Arthur was never as
    good as Koufos has become. Koufos and McGee are a great mix to have to
    exploit matchups and play different types of games – Mozgov isn’t ever
    going to do anything, it would be smarter to let Mozzy walk and keep
    Koufos and not do a trade – that’s a big black mark – without this trade
    I’d say they did about as well as they could have and would have
    deserved a 7-8 – this trade knocks a full two points off the FO grade. I’d really like to see Josh or Tim try to explain that trade in a way that makes any sense.

    Finally, Shaw is a real unknown at this point. We’ll see.

    I think we’ll take a small step back this year as players adjust to a new system/coaches and rotations.

    This probably puts us battling for 6th place with ~50 wins, given the
    strength of the WC, but then again there are a lot of unknowns – will
    Howard integrate in Houston, how does Russell Wilson fare in his come
    back, do the aging spurs still have gas in the tank – could be a
    surprising season all around.

    • Graham

      What’s crazy to me is that Russell Wilson decided to just drop his starting gig with the Seahawks to play basketball. That’s really what we should be talking about. Nuts.

      • Bricks

        If you just played a nice sarcasm card, props. You get my vote up. Otherwise . . . Westbrook.

      • NuggZeit

        oops – too much football – lol

  • Ckwizard

    I am going to beat this drum until it breaks or becomes the catchy beat that Nugget fans want to jam to.

    Take a second a think about Ty Lawson our starting point guard and the evaluate the moves based on him? Ty wanted Iggy to stay and I thought Iggy complemented Ty well but what kind of players will make Ty more effective in the Half Court after Iggy left well…

    The Moves made should open up the Half Court Game for Lawson not to mention the athleticism and over all make up of this team should enhance the transition game. Robinson as the back up allows the Nuggets to keep the same game plan regardless of which PG is on the floor. The Subtraction of Brewer and Iggy and reduced playing time of Andre Miller will/should result in better shooters being on the floor with Ty at ALL TIMES. This team as currently constructed should continue to be a offensive team that is more effective than last years squad for two simple reasons. First there should always be rebounders on the floor or rather no more Faried leaves the game and the other team starts dominating on the glass, second this team should shoot a better free throw percentage.

    As for defense all that was needed to insure a better defensive team was to ensure that the “Lawson, Miller, Brewer” lineup would never again be used and that was accomplished, so in all likely hood this will be a better all around defensive team under Shaw unless he decides to play Lawson and Miller at the same time. While none of the moves are defensive stoppers , Shaw should be able to get them to at least care about defense which is something that his predecessor struggled with.
    These Nuggets like last years Nuggets are going to prove some of you pessimistic Paul’s wrong because these Nuggets are going to be pretty good!

  • Bryan

    I swear Kosta Kofous has become the most overrated player in Denver Nuggets history this offseason. Calling him a good post defender is laughable. In two consecutive playoff series he’s played so terribly he’s been benched. Andrew Bynum looked like Wilt Chamberlain going up against Kofous.

    George Karl liked Wilson Chandler as a better match up against Bogut. Chandler is actually a better defender, including in the post.

    • eddi0

      Agree on KK for the most part, he was a ghost in the playoffs. I think what a lot of fans saw during the regular season though was a highly efficient Center in terms of great FG%, good fundamentals in terms of defense and an above-average rebounder. If we traded KK because his playoff performance has been underwhelming then I get it. It would be great to hear from the FO however what the true rationale was. Have yet to read anything from them, just a lot of fans speculation.

      Wilson Chandler is our best defender, hands down, at this point. Hear a lot of people asking why we don’t trade him. With all the offensive heavy pick-ups this off-season we simply cannot afford to lose him. We need more defensive players on this team, plain and simple.

    • joefresco

      I just saw value. No big man was a better value than KK… would you really rather pay Mozgov more than just keeping KK? KK was likely the cheapest backup center in the league that can get some starter minutes without embarrassing himself. The perfect kind of guy that Dallas pays $10+ million/year.

      • Bryan

        The thing is embarrassed himself in the playoffs the past two years. I also have a vague recollection of JJ Hickson dominating him pretty badly last year.

        Also, while Kofous’ contract isn’t cumbersome now, he’s going to be overpaid on his next contract which I believe is in two years.

        I’d rather have Mozgov on an expiring deal than be overpaying Kofous who gives you nothing in a playoff series.

        If it’s about winning championships you can’t have a big that doesn’t show up in the playoffs. .

        • dynamo.joe

          Well, then you trade K2 AFTER he gets his big, shiny, new contract. Let’s say he got something like $6-8M/yr. Well you can trade that for a lot more than Darrell Arthur. At $8M he would be the addition of cap fodder away from trading for guys like Ty/Gallo/JaVale.

  • Poz303

    I think the FO made an error in not picking up Masai long term before his contract had expired, that would have been proactive but once he was off contract and Toronto came knocking, I don’t think the FO had much chance of retaining him.

    I don’t blame the FO for losing Iggy. I think he was already looking to leave. He was the mole that was talking to GSW in the playoffs about Nuggets strategy. To me, that’s unforgivable and can’t wait till GSW play in Denver, louder boos that what Westbrook got (unlike how crowd will respect KK and Brewer).

    I’m not overly concerned we let KK go, but I think we got poor value for him. Nothing against DA. I think he is a decent player but I see Faried and Hickson taking majority of minutes at PF. If the move was to get out of the first round, I think they could have found a team to just swap picks. A pick we may not even sign. Would have thought KK would have brought more value had we waited post draft to trade him.

    As for Hickson, I like the signing. He is a Faried clone, will swallow boards and will provide many second chance opportunities.

  • Bricks

    My 2¢. Overall I like the vibe I get from Josh. It took some kahunas to fire the cocksure George Karl after the best reg. season in Nugs history. Josh’s press conference explanation was commendable and confident, neither cocky nor youthfully intimidated. He took full responsibility for cutting GK loose, bluntly stating that he wasn’t sure that he and GK were on the same page as the team moves forward. In that PC, this is Josh’s remark that I think is most telling about the 5 new guys he and Connelly have brought to the Nuggets: Josh stated, “With our current roster, THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO WIN; there‘s a process to that.” Why is this statement so telling and significant? Because the ONE thing the 5 new guys have in common that not one player on the Nuggets roster could claim is this: Playoff Experience Past the First Round. Now they have 5 guys who have all been deep in the playoffs, and I do not think this was remotely overlooked as an important criterion for every new player and coach the Nuggets have signed this summer . . . Look at this: 1. Coach Shaw, 3 NBA titles with LAL (3 as player, 2 as asst. coach), East Finals with Pacers; 2. Arthur, West Finals with Memphis; 3. Hickson, East Semis with Cleveland; 4. Foye, West Semis with LAC; 5. Robinson, NBA Finals with Boston, East Semis with Chicago. So, what I like about the new faces the FO has brought in is this: If and when the Nugs get to the playoffs, there are five new guys who know what to do when they get there . . . Win Round 1.

    • Charliemyboy

      I’m not sure. Most prognosis has reduced our overall effectiveness by slowing down the progress we were making over the last two years. Not even a mention of an impact player or all-star on any of the acquisitions and a loss of the only one we had. Getting duplicates of Faried and Ty? There are a myriad of players with playoff experience out there; look at LA and Dallas, with no success over the last couple of years. You need three stars or almost stars and players who have played together. Not a gang of new mediocre players. Eg: Miami; San Antonio. Gallo and Ty are a hair away. Faried and JaVale? I don’t know, but potential should be today, now. No one else is close. And it has to be in the starters in the playoffs. Sorry, I don’t share your enthusiasm, but am willing to wait (one year). If we get 50 wins and through the first round I will eat crow. If not, Josh is just joshing about a championship and has shown immaturity in the game and ego and lack of judgment. We can’t wait several years in this game.

  • Erik Olson

    Media continues to discount Nuggets as always and even predicted to fall to the lottery… We still have comparable talent to last year, maybe not as cohesive picture yet, but talented. But mainly, listening to Shaw at his summer league courtside interview, I can’t wait to see where he can take the team this year and in the future

  • googergieger

    Ugh at trade suggestions. Aldridge is a decent option considering the logjam at the four spot though. Needs to get better defensively and with Shaw it might happen.

    Really the team needs to just hold itself together until Gallo gets back and gets into game shape. Ty is going to be much better and I think he is going to finally embrace being the guy in Denver. He was doing just that towards the latter part of the season and in the playoffs. Think Evan is going to make huge strides. Kid doesn’t make the same mistake twice and hopefully the refs will stop giving him the rookie treatment. I mean I think you’ll get consistent and great play from Ty, Gallo, and even Evan honestly. Team is going to need huge strides from Javale and Faried(Hickson?). Especially defensively, as right now the team’s best healthy defender is probably Chandler.