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!
Because no box scores are available, the Rapid Reaction generator is not working; therefore, we’re just gonna have to do this thing old-fashioned style…
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- First and foremost — WHEN IS THE NBA GOING TO STOP THIS RIDICULOUS 10:30 p.m. EST GAME TIP OFF CRAP!!! I mean, how ridiculous is it that, if I live on the east coast, just to watch my favorite team play basketball I have to stay up till 1:30 a.m.?!?! It just doesn’t make any sense for anybody involved — none. People on the west coast do not need games to start at 7:30 p.m. I hate to break it to the NBA, but, believe it or not, fans actually have real lives and jobs they have to attend to at early-morning hours. Not everybody sleeps in till 10 a.m. and goes to work whenever they get around to it in the afternoon!!!
- As you read above, Jordan Crawford scored something like 42 points this game. It was just flat out stupid. The Nuggets couldn’t do anything to stop him… and that’s when it hit me: This team has hardly any good defensive players, especially athletic wings who can move their feet, fight around screens and hang with other shifty NBA wingmen. During the offseason it’s vital the Nuggets address this issue. Gettng Chandler healthy and Gallo back will certainly help, but it won’t fill the gap left by Iguodala and even Arron Afflalo before that. Perhaps they solve this issue in free agency; perhaps they do so through the draft; but if the Nuggets want to be serious about contending out West, they need somebody who can hang with the Westbrooks, Lillards, Pauls, Kobes, and for cryin’ out loud, the Jordan freakin’ Crawfords of the world!!!
- Speaking of defense, the Nuggets really need to get their crap together on this side of the ball this offseason. Shaw cannot continue to think he’s Phil Jackson, eschewing defense until his team desperately needs it. Shaw does not have Kobe or Shaq or Pau Gasol. He does not have all-time great players. What Shaw has is a team that needs to play as a unit in order to win, and the best way to do that is through defense. Of course, having two-way players who can actually play defense at a high level certainly helps, but Shaw’s the conductor here. He’s the one who composes the score. He’s the one that has to get everybody on the same page. When the entire band starts playing out of tune — as has been the case with the Nuggets this season — it’s up to him to correct it.
- Evan Fournier may have finished with a decent stat line, but he had a truly awful game. Every other time he touched the ball he was either turning it over or hoisting up an ill-advised 3-pointer, often with all sorts of time left on the shot clock. Fournier had lots of playing time this year to prove he could be Denver’s shooting guard of the future, and though I hate staying it, I don’t think he even came close to solidifying his position as an NBA level starter in the near future. Maybe Fournier puts in buku work this summer and comes into training camp ready to do damage next year, but as of now I have a hard time seeing him cracking the rotation in 2014-15, especially if Denver lands someone like Gary Harris in the draft.
- Timofey Mozgov had a great year. He improved more than I ever could have imagined. But he still has lapses in his game that show his inexperience at the NBA level… like this game, when he got posterized, then missed a dunk and airballed a 3-pointer all within about 15 minutes of each other.
- Aaron Brooks got ejected for mouthing off to the ref. I don’t know what this means and I’m not going to try and pretend like I do. But it was kinda weird and it’d be sad if that was the last thing he did in a Nuggets uniform.
- Anthony Randolph started the season on the floor, so it’s only right he ended it on the the floor as well. It was sort of the perfect conclusion to an incredibly imperfect season. We finally came full circle, and that circle revolved around Anthony Randolph doing things. Jesus.
- Lastly, hats off to Jim Gillen, the Nuggets longtime head trainer who’s retiring to spend more time with his family after 23 years with the team. Gillen hasn’t missed a single practice or game in that entire span and has certainly had to deal with a glut of stinky, oversized feet and personalities that would make most of us cringe. Thanks for taking care of our favorite athletes for over two decades Jim, and good luck in the next chapter of your life!