Thanks to an unstoppable night from DeMarcus Cousins and a late Ty Lawson miss, the Nuggets dropped their 2013-2014 season opener 90-88 to the Sacramento Kings.
|J.J. Hickson, PF 33 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +1
Early on Hickson struggled defensively, at one point he literally spun in a circle off the ball, but his late game defense on DeMarcus Cousins kept the Nuggets in the game. Offensively he for the most part kept himself inside the paint and finished pretty well there.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 15 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -6
Remember all preseason when people tried to warn against getting too excited for Anthony Randolph? That was because of things like tonight. Offensively, he just stood around outside the three point line all night and defensively he lost his man and John Salmons blew right by him. He shouldn’t have played 5 minutes, let alone 15.
|JaVale McGee, C 10 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +2
The Nuggets want this to be JaVale McGee’s team. Part of why George Karl is gone is because he wouldn’t play McGee enough. McGee played 10 terrible minutes tonight. Maybe it wasn’t all George.
|Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 5-15 FG | 8-8 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 20 PTS | +12
Early in the second half Lawson looked terrific, exploding in the open court and finding shots at the rim. Then it all abruptly stopped. Denver needed Lawson to take the game over late and he didn’t deliver. The missed layup at the end hurt but he needed to be better before that shot as well.
|Randy Foye, SG 33 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +7
Foye played his role exactly like Denver wants him too. He hit a few threes and a long two. He did ruin Denver’s possession with a lazy pass that Isiah Thomas knocked to half court and almost stole, setting up a chaotic sequence that ended in an Evan Fournier missed three.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -8
Arthur played ok defensively for the most part but his indecisiveness cost Denver greatly. He waited too long to go and double DeMarcus Cousins which led to Ty Lawson not rotating down fast enough to box out Arthur’s man (Jason Thompson) who dunked home the eventual game winning basket. But he closed the game because he can defend and spread the floor and did well for the most part.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -3
Faried just doesn’t seem comfortable. He tried to post up throughout the night but his teammates never seemed to actually look for him. His one highlight was ripping an offensive rebound from DeMarcus Cousins for a basket. He just needs to stick to energy things to be effective because trying to do more than that made him invisible tonight.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 20 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +4
Mozgov was terrific for the Nuggets and it was a surprise he only played 20 minutes. He was physical on both ends of the floor and did a great job of staying vertical and not swatting at the ball, leading to three blocks and just two fouls. Now he has to build off it.
|Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -13
Miller is going to be so important for Denver. He arguably the best half court offensive player on the roster and tonight showed how important that is for a Nuggets team that will at times struggle to score. He jolted the Nuggets awake when he entered and helped them stay in the game throughout the night.
|Nate Robinson, PG 18 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -6
Nate seems lost. Playing off the ball isn’t his forte. It will be interesting to see how things develop in regards to his role and minutes as the season goes along.
|Evan Fournier, SG 21 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | 0
Fournier was rocked with bouts of indecisiveness and after a few turnovers, a lack of confidence leading to a rough shooting night and as many turnovers as assists. He may be the type of player who needs to start quick to be effective.
I had two main gripes with Shaw on the night. One was his closing lineup which left JJ Hickson trying to defend DeMarcus Cousins. It worked but I’m still not sure it was the right move as Cousins got a few good looks. It seemed like a time for Mozgov who was playing well on the night. The bigger one was how the Nuggets shot selection broke down but more on that below.