Take a mediocre team, remove its best player, add a dash of All star weekend on the horizon, a pinch of road game, a dollop of blowout fatigue, a sprinkle of “what’s the point, we’re not making the playoffs anyway” malaise, and BOOM, you’ve got yourself a 30-point loss to a sub-.500 team.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 11 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -14
Arthur was Denver’s one and only hope of mitigating Love’s impact but a confluence of bad fouls and horrendous offense didn’t really give him much of a chance. His inability to hit that mid-range jumper, AKA his only real offensive move, is becoming more and more alarming. Without it he becomes just a one-way player, one that would loss minutes fast in an unforgiving big man rotation.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -22
The “Kevin Love responsibility” fell to Faried, at least for a time, and Love’s 32-11-8 game as well as Faried’s wonderfully indicative -22 pretty much summed up his effectiveness tonight.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 30 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -19
In an offense that seemed akin to a car with every one of its tires blown to shreds as it careened off the Grand Canyon, it was comforting (?) to see Chandler play relatively the same game he’s always played. The fact that he merely put up a chaotic 12 points, posted zero assists, and played sub-par defense in this, his most typical game, is rather less comforting.
|J.J. Hickson, C 25 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 13 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -11
Hickson also played his typical game: 13 unearned rebounds, 14 discordant points, and a defensive performance that was masterful in its lack of effort and utter incompetence.
|Randy Foye, SG 33 MIN | 3-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 8 TO | 10 PTS | -32
Asking Foye to run the pick and roll as the primary point is just cruel. He can’t do it and shouldn’t have to. His offense is being highjacked by a desperate team need he is wholly unable to fill. Ricky Rubio consistently beating him off the dribble, though, is another thing entirely.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 33 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -3
Hamilton’s numbers are surprising at first glance but less so when considering that they were mostly accrued in a garbage time that spanned the entirety of the second half. Still, if Denver’s going to lose, might as well lose giving the young guys sufficient minutes.
|Quincy Miller, SF 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | -3
Oh Quincy. This was a particularly poor performance in a game that seemed only made up of them.
|Anthony Randolph, SF 15 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -7
Anthony Randolph is the king of taking over games that ended two quarters ago. Still, you can never knock the guy’s effort, just the way he implements it.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 31 MIN | 3-8 FG | 3-6 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -14
Mozgov had two behind the back passes and shot a corner three. He gets an A+.
|Evan Fournier, SG 33 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -10
Fournier is in the Foye boat, he can’t be asked to run the offense by himself. We’ve had about a full season, if you combine the second half of last year and the first half of this one, worth of play to evaluate. He seems to have manifested his usefulness as a spot up shooter who can occasionally beat him man off the dribble. Spear-heading a pick and roll attack is just not in his repertoire.
Games like this serve as a nice example for the people who love to tout the “the team has quit on their coach” narrative. The last four games have not been the greatest of endorsements for Shaw’s ability to coach in less than ideal conditions but, then again, its hard to know what exactly to expect with this team, especially with how hobbled they are. You can cite the team’s poor effort as an indictment on him as a coach but, at some point, you just have to accept that not many first year guys, guys who are still wrestling with what they want their team to be, can “coach up” a team missing five players.
Two Things We Saw
- Forgive the lack of grades, the recap machine was having a bit of trouble digesting this horrid excuse for a basketball game. Lets just pretend its an ardent statement by me, that I don’t have to do my job if the team doesn’t seem to want to do theirs. That sounded good right?
- Shaw’s offense is predicated on the pick and roll and Denver came into this game with literally no player on the active roster who could properly operate it. The offense devolved into a series of chaotic cuts and haphazard jumpers, vain attempts to beat the shot clock with an attempt from anywhere on the court, guarded or not. This meandering offensive style leaked into the defense, and soon turnovers were turning instantaneously into two points for Minnesota. This is how blowouts happen, and whether the Wolves won by 30, 20, or 60, it really wouldn’t have mattered. Denver came unprepared through no fault of their own yet also willfully played to lose. What that means in the grand scheme of things, aside from the now near impossible dream of a playoff birth, is unknowable. Maybe this was the first sign that Shaw was not cut out for the job or maybe this was the moment Denver realized they needed to re-work the current iteration of this team. All we can do now is painfully indulge in the mires of sub-mediocrity, and pray for a brighter future.
Next up: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m. (MST) vs PHX. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.
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