A thoroughly entertaining Sunday afternoon game ends with a solid, albeit unnecessarily dragged out, Nuggets win.
Unfortunately there’s been some technical difficulties with the grades generator so I’m just going to do this recap stream of consciousness style.
- While the statistical bump in Faried’s numbers this month (he’s basically been a 20 and 10 guy in March) is probably not sustainable, it’s nice to see that he’s not just getting these numbers by hitting a bunch of shots he normally doesn’t make. His post game has shown legit improvement, there’s a fluidity to his moves that are flummoxing guys one on one. Even more impressive, his defensive awareness seems to have had an uptick, on many a pick and rolls during the game he knew exactly where to rotate and when to get back. Denver’s season may be over, but Faried’s still playing for future earnings, a prospect that’s getting pricier and pricer for the Nuggets by the game.
- Mozgov has really fallen off since the Allstar break, on both ends of the floor. What used to be a reliable hook shot has been rendered impotent and he doesn’t even seem to be trying to get it off after establishing good post position. On defense he’s out of sorts, sometimes showing, sometimes dropping back, but spinning widely and fouling profusely regardless of the scheme. Something to keep monitoring.
- It’s always nice to see guys who have well established roles in the NBA attempt to evolve. The coaching staff has been encouraging Darrell Arthur to extend his range from beyond the free throw line, and it seems to be starting to bear fruit. If he can get to a place where that three point shot is reliable, his usefulness as a stretch four can keep him on the court, which is always a nice prospect for the defense.
- Randy Foye is great and I love watching him play. It’s always hard for me to put a finger on exactly why, but I just do.
- I was a bit wary at first, but Aaron Brooks is growing on me. He’s like a mini-Lawson, only he loves to shoot jumpers. Shaw has been running some nice off ball stuff for him, and with Lawson and Foye on the flanks, Denver’s spacing on offense can really start to open up.
- Denver’s success rate on elevator doors (a set play ripped from Golden State’s playbook wherein a three point shooter squeezes between two screening big men who essentially close a door on the defender) has been incredibly low (at least anecdotally). It’s not a bad play to run for a guy like Brooks or Foye, but more often than not one of the screeners will do something inane and screw the play up.
- The J.J. Hickson news sucks, but seems to be par for the course during this snakebitten season. Grievances with Hickson’s play aside, his loss means rotation minutes for Vesley and Randolph, which means bad things for the Nuggets (which, at this point, is probably a good thing, tanking-wise). Also sucks because J.J. was really starting to turn things around, his new role as a bench player was just beginning to suit him.
- Speaking of the Airwolf, what a game! I’ll give him this, he seems to know that his window as a NBA player is coming to a rather abrupt close and, through an impressive amount of effort, seems to be doing everything he can to pry the window back open.
- I don’t think it was a coincidence that I had more fun watching the Nuggets offense in a game without Wilson Chandler than any I can think of outside of the first couple months of the season. Even amongst a team that fits together like ketchup on a banana, Wilson Chandler still sticks out like a sore thumb.