Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 105 – Washington Wizards 102

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.
The following two tabs change content below.

David Walker

Freshman at FSU. Love the Nuggets, the beach, and the game that involves a ball that occasionally goes into the hoop.
  • heykyleinsf

    impressive win.. these guys aren’t quitting.
    Next year with everyone back…
    we’re going on the up.

  • Richard Pesicka

    It does show promise for next year if they can stay healthy..

  • EWilson

    Vesely apparently bruised his ribs, to that means Anthony Randolph. Personally, I think Vesely should get the majority of Hickson’s minutes just to see if he can develop. Randolph has had his chance.

    Though Faried’s price tag may be going up, at least there’s the prospect that he’ll be worth the price they’ll need to play. At the beginning of the season, because of his popularity, I was worried that he’d get re-signed for big bucks even though he lacked an offensive game and an understanding of defense. Had that persisted through the season, it would have been a bad move. In fact, I might have advocated trading him in that situation.

    Now, however, he’s showing that he can take coaching and will work on his game. Sure, he still has short-comings, but at least the money will be somewhat better spent. (Hopefully, anyway. He might revert to form as soon as the bucks start coming in.)

    • Nugman

      Do you really believe that a quality young man like Faried wouldn’t “take coaching”? All these ideas that these young men don’t play hard like Shaw suggested earlier in the season, or they can’t play defense or they can’t be coached is just crap. They’re all open to learning and improving if coached properly

  • heykyleinsf

    those who hoped we could tank to have a shot at Wiggins..
    May not be out of hope.
    He played like crap today.
    Bad enough that I don’t see any way in Hell he goes #1 overall.

    • gimpcom187

      It wasnt for wiggins. It was a top 5 pick. Where were you after the last game?

      • heykyleinsf

        Nuggets or Jayhawks?

        • gimpcom187

          I tend to agree wiggins is not a generational talent like durant, but he has a skill base/athletic profile similar to rudy gay, paul george and tracy mcgrady. If your floor is rudy gay and ceiling is mcgrady….

          And of course that ignores there are 4-6 other players in this draft with good shots at becoming all star types. That is why this draft made sense to tank. Top 5 pick gives you an 70% shot at all star talent. Most drafts its 30- 40% after the first pick andwhich is an 80% shot as we have detailed previously.

    • Heisenberg

      He also had a 41 point game a few weeks ago.

      The potential’s there, the biggest question is regarding his “killer instinct” and ability/willingness to take over a game.

      • gimpcom187

        Agreed.

  • James Duff

    they can’t even tank well this season

  • heykyleinsf

    Throwing an entire season away..
    for some kind of flimsy delusional hope that one 19 year old kid
    is going to change everything and make it all better..
    and save the franchise..
    and right the course forever…

    Is easily the most stupid basketball philosophy I’ve ever heard in my life.
    If you’re this much of a sucker…
    I’ve got some great ideas how to spend your money.

    • Omar Wenceslao

      You sir are very wrong, a lot of the top teams were built around young 19 year olds. You should know that if you followed Denver during the Carmelo era. Carmelo single handedly turned around this franchise.
      It’s never guaranteed but if you do land that one guy…..then it makes everything so much easier.

      Indiana- Paul George
      Chicago- Derrick rose
      Washington-John wall
      OKC- Kevin Durant
      Denver-Carmelo Anthony
      Cleveland- Lebron James
      Portland- Damian Lillard
      New orleans- Anthony davis
      Golden State- Stephen Curry

      • ryanvdonk

        anthony davis? you mean the guy on the team with a worse record than the nuggets in a down year? and lilard has LMA to carry the load.

        • Leo

          not to mention lillard is already 23 years old

        • gimpcom187

          If you cant see the difference between player development and team success thats your business. Pelicans have had similar health issues to nugs with a weak bench. Davis is pretty clearly a top 10 player in the league at age 20 (he turned 21 2 weeks ago.

      • Aaron Durkin

        Dude most of thoes players where not top 10 picks. plus in the case of New Orlans, Washington, and Clevland have at least 5 lottery picks on there team and are still horrible. BUILDING THREW THE DRAFT DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!

        • gimpcom187

          What are you talking about? Every player on that list was top 10. 6 were top 3 picks. Really unless youre the lakers its the only thing that works.

          Heiny if this season plus 10-12 wins is your max its worth 3 sub 30 win seasons to get 1-2 young stars. Over and over the truth of you NEED to get one of your top 2 players out of the top 10 picks and realistically top 5. 16 of the top 20 us born players in PER were picked top 5.

          If you can look medium long term (5-7) years. The real question is: do I prefer a 43-50 win team for the next 5-7 years. Or do I prefer a team thats sub 30 wins for 2-3 years and has a 20% shot of not winning more than 45 , 50% shot of becoming a 48-55 win team (borderline contender) and a 30% shot of a REAL contender with a top 10 star.

          If you are happy pretending beating miami and the clips occassionally makes you a contender all power to you. Be a 43-50 win team (that ends up with 38 wins 1-2 seasons withbad luck in health.) Going draft doesnt guaruntee success at a wcf level. Its just your only realistic shot.

    • Heisenberg

      It’s even more delusional to think that this team has a chance at beating OKC, Houston, San Antonio, or the Clippers in a 7 game series. They couldn’t even beat Golden State in the playoffs, with HFA (and GS had to deal with an injury as well, with significantly less time to make adjustments I might add). Would it really have been better for the Nuggets to make the playoffs so they could get swept by OKC or the Spurs?

      This team is a top 15-20 player away from being a contender. Maybe a better coach as well (the jury is still out on that one). I don’t see LeBron taking his talents to the Rocky Mountains, so they have to get that guy through the draft, especially with their cap space limitations.

      I’m not sure if Embiid, Parker, Wiggins or Randle are capable of turning around a franchise. I am sure that the current roster isn’t working. This team is, at best a low seed in the West and out in the first round. Maybe the young guns aren’t the answer, but I’d rather take the plunge and find out than stand pat and continue down the road this franchise is headed.

      • Thomas

        Agree 100%

      • heykyleinsf

        the current roster had 4 players lost for the year.
        Four entirely integral players.
        You can’t surmise any status with that situation.

        • James Duff

          what better opportunity to tank? you get healthy players back next year + a high draft pick in a good draft…instead we are playing lawson 40+ a game, constantly pushing our best player who is already at a physical disadvantage in this league (% of sub 6′ players who keep going after 30 in this league can’t be high)

        • Heisenberg

          Even if they’re all healthy and back to their normal levels, they still aren’t beating any of those teams.

          • heykyleinsf

            Clippers, Thunder, Heat, Pacers.
            We’re beating those teams without them.
            I guess that doesn’t count

            • Heisenberg

              Regular season basketball is not the same as playoff basketball.

              The Heat especially, they are pretty much on autopilot so I really wouldn’t put much value into any regular season wins against them.

        • LBJ

          In reality, only one of the four matters.

          • heykyleinsf

            Two starters, a 6th man and our leading rebounder.

            WHAT FKG EVER.

    • Aaron Durkin

      Thank god I am not the only person that sees tanking as a horrible way to rebuld a frachise. It would be poetic justice if neither Phili, LA, Boston, or the Jazz get in the top 5 picks

      • gimpcom187

        In fact it is impossible for philly to be out of top 5 (assumming they stay 2nd worst). In this draft theyve assured themselves a good shot at an allsrtar potential player as there are 4-7 of those.

        Unless embiid develops and stays healthy I dont see any players capable of being top 5 in league and even top 10 is a stretch. There isnt an anthony davis or durant. But there are more guys capable of top 30 than most drafts. Its a bad year to choose 37 wins compared to 27.

    • Furious_Stylez

      I used to be the leader of the tank train… and then I watched the tourney. Embiid has back problems at 20. That’s a major red flag since backs get worse and become a lingering injury. Wiggins and Parker shrunk big time in their games and did not look like top NBA picks. You expect guys with that much hype to take over games and impose their will (see Anthony, Carmelo in the 2003 tourney). Randle played well and probably upped his draft stock. After this weekend, I’m actually glad that the Nuggets won’t have to choose these guys as “the future”.

      In regards to your “tanking is stupid” philosophy, it just depends on the player being drafted and how the team builds around him if he’s chosen to be the savoir of the franchise. Worked for Denver, OKC, and Cleveland, but failed for many other teams (Charlotte, Milwaukee, Minnesota).

      • Andrew

        Randle is the guy I thought looked best early in the season, too. The Embiid back issues are very scary.

      • LBJ

        I’ll take my chances with either Wiggins or Parker.

        Melo wouldn’t have sniffed a NCAA title without McNamara (he failed to score in the last 13 minutes of the championship game.

  • Nugman

    “Foye is great”…did you see Ariza lite him up in the first quarter? He’s a high risk defender. He either gets smoked are makes some fancy block.
    No comments about Shaw leaving Brooks and Ty in for the last couple defensive possessions?
    At least Shaw only tried to trap the high screen 3 times in the 4th. Wiz scored all 3 times.
    DA looked good and Faried actually tried to use his right hand a couple times.

  • Furious_Stylez

    All that matters from this game: Airwolf outplayed Andre Miller. They got similar minutes and Vesely had a much better game. Say what you want about the Miller-Shaw fued, but Miller is done as a player. He’s old, slow, and his YMCA game no longer works. Trading him opens up $5m for next season, so all in all, it was a smart move by the FO (maybe their first).

    • LBJ

      I believe it only opens up the amount of Vesely’s expiring contract salary.

      Also, only $2 million of Andre’s contract was guaranteed.

  • heykyleinsf

    For you tanking fans.. We’re talking 34 years here.. OK??
    If for 34 straight years.. this is true.. WTH works with your philosophy??
    DO THESE TEAMS TANK??
    Is that how they did this??

    Since 1980, every NBA Finals has involved at least one of the following teams: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, or San Antonio Spurs.

    • heykyleinsf

      And the converse of those examples ..
      the perennial lottery teams..
      wouldn’t tanking “fix” everything by now?
      Bobcats, Wizards, Raptors, Kings, TWolves, Cavs, Pelicans, Magic.
      Yeah. Let’s tank.
      Brilliant plan.

      • James Duff

        Whats the consistent theme with those teams? Mismanagement. The good teams blew it up to get where they are, they just didnt stay at the bottom long.

      • Heisenberg

        All of those teams have terrible management. If the Cavs had just a decent front office, LeBron probably would’ve won a title in Cleveland.

    • Andrew

      I haven’t read the whole string here, but everyone of the those teams you mention were lead by superstars. If I’m not mistaken, they were all top 5 players (and only C Bill, Shaq and Lebron were aquired through trade). Celtics (Bird), Bulls (Jordan), Pistons (Thomas/C Bill), Rockets (Olajuwan), Lakers (Magic/Kobe/Shaq), Heat (Shaq/Lebron), Spurs (Duncan).
      The point is, history shows you need a top 5 player to win it all, and unless you pull off a major heist of a trade, you have to get that player in the draft. Only way to do that is to be crappy or snooker a crappy team into trading away their #1. It’s obviously not a lock that a top 5 player will lead you, but you have to have one to have a chance. It’s not like football. There are only 5 players on the court at one time, so if you have the best player, your team is more likely to win.
      I do not ever agree with players or coaches “tanking”, but for an organization like Denver to get a top 5 player, they have to either trade with the right team or be crappy enough to get a lottery pick to have a chance at getting that top 5 player. So, unless Josh and Connelly think they can package Chando and Hickson to come hapless team for their #1, they have to be thinking that a losing season like this will at least give them a chance to land a star.

      • heykyleinsf

        34 years. 7 teams.
        When is the last time ANY of those teams tanked?
        How about the Spurs? Heat?

        Amazing what people will do to convince themselves.

        • James Duff

          the heat were tanking to get the d-wade pick.

        • Andrew

          Well, I haven’t convinced myself of anything. The numbers convinced me about the necessity of a top 5 player. Only teams with top players, picked in the top 5, seem to win the championship. But, I do not think you disagree with that.
          So, I think the issue may be just semantics with regard to the word “tank”. If by “tank” you mean the front office intentionally making moves (or not making any moves) that put the team in a position to have no chance to win, I think it is sometimes hard to tell if a team is tanking or not. But if by “tank” you mean just having a bad record and getting in the lottery, well, I think all of those teams you mention that drafted top players, including the Heat and the Spurs, had horrible records that resulted in getting top 5 picks.
          So, I laughingly talk about the Tank Train, but I do not think Shaw or the Nuggets are trying to play poorly. They have horrific injuries this year. If there is any intentional tanking going on in Denver, it would be with the front office not being aggressive with more trades to try to improve the team during the year. Is that because they did not see anything out there that really helped them? Is that becaause they wanted the team to do poorly to put them in better draft position? Who knows? Maybe. The bottom line is that if the Nuggets get lucky and pull a top 3 pick, they will have a shot (if that player turns out to be the next big thing) at going on to win it all. Without that top 5 pick, they seemingly have no shot. Think about it, they’re best team in the last couple of decades was when they had both Melo and C Bill (and, I would argue that C Bill was more important because he’s a winner). Both of those players were top 5 picks.
          That’s just my 2 cents. All of these posts are just us fans talking 2 cents…or nonsense. It’s fun to play “Online GM”, though, that’s why we keep doing it!

          • James Duff

            yeah, i’m not a fan of advocating to lose, but that is the easiest way to become a contender in the nba today. Hopefully they change something – the draft set up as is is stupid and the players being able to pick and choose super teams in large media markets is a giant middle finger to fans. However, with our injuries, etc…playing lawson 40+ and risking an injury that slows him down is ****ing stupid. With the games left its obvious that there is nothing much they can do to improve their standing, so its kind of looking back in hindsight.

        • LBJ

          The Spurs tanked to get Duncan.

          • heykyleinsf

            that’s not true.

    • James Duff

      Only team on that list that I can’t remember tanking is the spurs, as I didnt watch basketball before robinson was playing…but they were pretty bad before getting him. They also got extremely lucky with the #1 to get duncan, so they didnt have to tank for a top pick, it fell into their laps.

      • Andrew

        That’s right. And wasn’t Robinson injured the year the Spurs got lucky and got Duncan? I seem to recall their record was pretty bad that year, as well.

        • gimpcom187

          You are correct andrew. They did in fact lose robinson for most of the year for a 20 win team AND fired their coach midseason and sean elliot was missing half the season. Notto mention they had 3 straight bad seasons to end up with robinson and elliot in the late 80s.

      • Heisenberg

        The Spurs held out Robinson even when he was healthy.

        It’s widely believed they tanked for Duncan.

        • LBJ

          Exactly.

        • heykyleinsf
          • Heisenberg

            LOL. While I will agree with part of that article in that the Spurs didn’t enter the season in tank mode, they definitely held out Robinson even though he was healthy to play toward the later part of the season.

            The Lakers didn’t enter the season trying to tank either, but they sure are now, keeping Kobe out (even though he could probably play) and limiting Gasol’s minutes.

          • gimpcom187

            I haven’t said the spurs tanked, which is just an argument for the sake of argument. The concept is you need to have a couple of seasons with close to league worst record to give yourself a chance at multiple top draft picks to get 1-2 stars that will make a difference to make a championship run (be a top 5 team in the league for 3-5 years).

            Given that and the article the issues I have. He doesn’t mention what the eta of a 4th metacarpal injury might be. As Mr. White indicates it was likely he could have come back from that injury. As well the writer did not mention that Sean Elliot didn’t play again after early February (missed half the season). Apparently the injury was right quadriceps tendinitis. I can’t imagine too many scenarios that would take an NBA player out for half the season with tendinitis. Usually it’s more like 5 games missed, comes back for 10-20, then 5 games out again and in last 10-20. These are tanking tactics once you have figured out the team is out of contention.
            Also the writer only writes where the spurs were in relation to worst or 4th worst record in league when Robinson did play. He conveniently forgets to identify that the 8th place team in the West was a 36 win team. The spurs were 3-17 at the time. Prior season they went 59-23. Assuming they had a similar though slightly worse percentage of wins the rest of that season they would go aroun 40-20. That would have gotten them the 6th seed. It didn’t make sense to tank at that point because the construction of their team was older and Robinson was still in near prime shape for a year or two.

            Who knows if they tanked the last 30 games or so. As was said they didn’t go into the season with the intention of finding the least amount of wins they could (as opposed to Philly completely tanked before and during the season and Utah just did the before season part). They bottomed out and got REALLY lucky to get the number 1 pick in a once every 5 year talent came along. Winning only 20 games worked out for them.

            As has been indicated the nugs are in no man’s land. Not nearly good enough to be a contender and not bad enough to get that type of talent.

    • Heisenberg

      There are several reasons why those teams win. One is that they have great management/coaching. Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, and Gregg Popovich are three of the five best coaches of all time (I’d say Red Auerbach and Chuck Daly round out the top 5).

      Name one of those teams that won without a top 15-20 player. You could maybe argue the 04 Pistons, but that team had several top 30-40 players (the Nuggets have maybe 2, and that is a stretch), a great coach, and were outstanding defensively.

      You are outside your mind if you think this roster, even fully healthy has a chance at beating SA, OKC, Houston, or LAC in a 7 game series. They couldn’t even beat Golden State. Yeah yeah, Gallo was out…..so was David Lee, a 20-10 PF and GS had two days to adjust. The Nuggets had several weeks.

      • James Duff

        They could beat the clippers. Not that they would, but they could. Overrated hacks.

  • heykyleinsf

    Read these two articles.
    They say it better than I can and I don’t want to plagarize.
    Bottom line.. TANKING DOES NOT WORK.

    http://wagesofwins.com/2012/04/13/tanking-used-to-work-in-the-nba/
    http://slumz.boxden.com/f16/why-tanking-doesnt-work-1997720/

    • Heisenberg

      Those articles offer some skewed data and present the notion that if you don’t win a title then tanking was a failure. Which is a ridiculous thought to have. They also didn’t list Wade as a lottery pick that won with the team that originally picked him and he’s just one obvious guy that came to my head. It’s kind of hard for me to trust an article that doesn’t account for a 3 time NBA Champion (and future HOFer) that was a lottery pick, top five no less.

      There’s also other ways tanking can improve your team that wasn’t accounted for. When the Celtics tanked for Durant/Oden and didn’t get the pick, they traded it for Ray Allen. The Nets also traded a couple of top picks to acquire Deron Williams.

      • heykyleinsf

        skewed data??
        Like lottery teams perpetually staying lottery teams?
        Championship teams perpetually staying championship teams?

        What is “skewed” is looking at Wade and Duncan and saying
        “Tanking works” when 32 other examples for those two prove that.. it doesn’t.

        • Heisenberg

          Because most teams don’t have a direction after they tank. The surrounding talent typically isn’t there.

          The Nuggets didn’t get a really good player that could complement Carmelo Anthony until they got Chauncey Billups. Incidentally, that was when they made the WCF and had their best shot to win a title.

          Teams without superstars don’t win titles. And teams without the supporting cast to complement a superstar don’t win either. The Nuggets have the supporting cast. They just need the superstar.

          • heykyleinsf

            I will agree with that wholeheartedly.
            I just think tanking is more harm than good.