Denver Nuggets offseason to-do list

I’ve been doing the Denver Nuggets offseason to-do list for four years now. It’s become a tradition, and it’s a great way to analyze the roster and cap flexibility heading into summer. Every year presents its own unique set of circumstances surrounding the roster, but I do have to say, I can’t remember an offseason being this difficult to forecast. As Joel recently pointed out in his Dearth of financial flexibility post, the Nuggets desperately need to make moves yet have hardly any room to maneuver – like Austin Powers attempting a three-point turn in Dr. Evil’s underground lair. It’s really anyone’s guess as to how Tim Connelly will go about doing his job this summer, and though it seems likely the Nuggets do less as apposed to more, here are some suggestions regarding how the team can position itself to win more games down the road while decreasing its long-term cap strain.

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5-on-5: Player’s Ball

If there’s one thing the Denver Nuggets could hang their hats on this year, it was the players. Denver has lots of them. Most of them good, some of them marginal, a few not so marginal. Some had career seasons, while others couldn’t quite live up to expectations fans set in the summer months leading up to tip off in October. If there was anything gleaned from this season it came from the players, each and every one, good or bad. In our latest 5-on-5 we attempt to examine which of these players belongs in all the superlative categories associated with postseason analysis. Yes, this is our awards post for the 2013-14 season, if such a thing is possible after such a strenuous year of basketball. As always, we encourage you to pose your answers to the following questions in the comments section below.

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Videos: Best performances of the 2013-14 season

The 2013-14 Denver Nuggets season was not exactly what we all hoped for. It was oftentimes ugly, occasionally depressing and teeming with injuries. But there was also an assortment of quality performances turned in from nearly everyone on the roster — mainstays and midseason transplants alike. Although the gaudy numbers produced in these outings didn’t often add up to wins, they still made for some exciting basketball and alleviating moments of salvation in a season filled with what seemed like never-ending tension. Now if we can just get all these guys to replicate each one of these performances every night in unison, then we might have something…

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So you’re telling me there’s a chance

Messing around on my computer after I got home from work on Tuesday, I did the usual “Start randomly clicking on things and an hour later you’re pensively browsing the Greater Roadrunner entree on Wikipedia” routine, when in the process I ended up at ESPN’s 2014 Lottery Mock Draft generator — which is not a very productive place to find yourself if your favorite NBA team is in the lottery. At first I hit the “Play Lottery” button as a way to see all the different scenarios in which teams like the Lakers, Pistons and Bucks could maneuver in the top half of the lottery. And then I realized something. I realized the Nuggets actually have a chance of moving up into one of the top three spots on draft night. And although it’s a long shot –  a very long shot — the possibility alone intrigued me enough to write 800 words about the subject, which is 800 more words than I was planning on writing this evening.

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Dearth of financial flexibility and open roster spots may result in a quiet Nuggets offseason

Although chaos ruled last summer’s Nuggets offseason, this year it may be defined by calm.

Going into the 2014 offseason, the Nuggets have a roster likely to remain loaded up at or near the 15-player maximum. Of their current 15 contracted players, only two are expiring – Jan Vesely and Aaron Brooks. Another two, Darrell Arthur and Nate Robinson, have player options but have both expressed interest in staying with the Nuggets. And Denver will surely hang onto the only remaining player whose 2014-15 salary is not guaranteed. The coaching staff and front office have highly praised Quincy Miller’s progress this season, and will be looking to continue his development.

So if the Nuggets let Vesely and Brooks walk, they will be entering the offseason with only two open roster spots. (more…)

Roundball Roundtable: Predicting the Nuggets’ storybook ending

For the first time in over a decade the Denver Nuggets will not play in the NBA postseason. It’s an odd feeling and many fans are rightfully anxious about the team’s long-term future. For most casual sports followers, peering into the Crystal Ball of Tomorrow is simple. You know — for the most part — the security of your coach and team executives, as well as which players will return and which will hit the open market. But what about two, three, even five years down the road? After a season like the one the Nuggets had, isn’t that where all our heads really are? It was this very question that birthed the concept of our latest Roundball Roundtable where we attempt — although admittedly, somewhat blindly — to project where the Nuggets are heading in the very distant future based on developments from only this past season. As always, we encourage you to play along and submit your answer to the following question in the comments section below.

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Thanks for reading

Let’s make this short and sweet: You love the Nuggets. We love the Nuggets. The only difference is that we take all the frustrating, ecstatic, befuddled, dogmatic thoughts that float around in our heads all year round and turn them into words for you to optically digest and hopefully enjoy. We try our best for these words to make sense, for them to tell you things about the Nuggets that transform you into a more informed fan; and though we don’t always succeed we certainly appreciate you giving us a chance. So on behalf of all our writers here at Roundball Mining Company, I’d like to thank you, the readers, for making our site what it is today. If we knew there was nobody out there reading our verbose rants and neurotic raves, we wouldn’t be doing this. And we really, really like to do this. So basically, in a roundabout way, you make this happen. Though your fingers aren’t typing, and though your brains aren’t going completely maniacal over that very typing, it’s your collective conscious (aka, Nuggets Nation) that’s always on our minds when we do this. So again, thank you for reading — and in a weird way, writing as well. And as always, Go Nuggets!!!

Rapid Reaction: Golden State Warriors 116, Denver Nuggets 112

Welp, that just happened. The 2013-14 Denver Nuggets season has officially come to a (somewhat brutal) end. The Nuggets fought hard the whole game but just didn’t bring the right type of mindset from the start to win. Throw in Jordan Crawford scoring a career high 40-something points (no box scores are working for this game) and that’s pretty much the recipe for a terrible way to end the season!

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 105 Los Angeles Clippers 117

The Nuggets fell behind early and never led in their penultimate game of the 2013-2014 season, a 12-point loss to the Clippers in LA.

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Potential found in a lost season

Much has been made this season about what the 2013-14 Denver Nuggets are not. They’re not a good team, first and foremost. They’re not healthy. They’re inconsistent. They lack defensive fundamentals that are often a hallmark of championship-contending teams. But for everything the Denver Nuggets are not, there are many things they are — which deserve recognition as dusk approaches on the season.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 101 Utah Jazz 94

In a less-than-meaningful game between two lottery-bound teams, bad offense ruled the day. Then, the second half came along and Denver exploded for 67 points, defeating the Jazz for their third straight win.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 100 – Golden State Warriors 99

#MOZGOD. #MANIMAL.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 123-Houston Rockets 116

The Nuggets really, really tried hard to blow another game to the Rockets with a bad fourth quarter performance but they were able to hold on and defeat Houston 123-116. Randy Foye turned into a human fireball with 30 points, including a 22 points third quarter to secure their 11th straight record with a winning record in Denver.

Grades are below the jump.

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Video: Quincy Miller’s 19-point outburst vs. Houston

I think it’s fair to say Quincy Miller hasn’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations Nuggets fans had of him when he was drafted back in 2012. Yes, he was a second-round pick, but he was a high-profile high school talent who many thought would eventually challenge Danilo Gallinari for the starting small forward role a few years down the road. (OK, so maybe that was just me.) Miller’s minutes have fluctuated greatly this season and he hasn’t always been given the most room for on-court improvement; however, his recent 19-point performance against the Rockets should give fans revived hope that he can in fact play a legitimate role at the NBA level. Miller has five more games left to show Brian Shaw that his improvements in practice can translate seamlessly to the bright lights of real, in-game NBA action. Let’s just hope he has a few more of these up his powder-blue sleeve.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 125-Houston Rockets 130

Denver had the upset in their hands thanks to a furious second half rally but ultimately they forgot how to handle double teams leading to turnovers and missed a big late free throw before falling in overtime to the Houston Rockets .There were bright sides for Denver though as Aaron Brooks and Quincy Miller had great games and Evan Fournier and Kenneth Faried had great second halves.

Grades are below the jump.

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