Hunt for head coach?

According to Philly.com’s John Mitchell, the Denver Nuggets are “believed to be interested in promoting [Melvin] Hunt to replace George Karl.” Mitchell is also reporting the 76ers are interested in Hunt for their current head coaching vacancy. This is the first time Hunt’s name has been mentioned in connection with Denver’s search for a new head coach since George Karl was fired last week.

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“What is happiness?” — The George Karl status quo

“What is happiness? It’s the moment before you need more happiness.”

This hauntingly apt delineation of human desire was uttered by the titular anti-hero of “Mad Men,” Don Draper, in a not-so-subtle metaphor for his own perpetuating unhappiness. For those who don’t watch, “Mad Men” is an AMC show that chronicles the death rattle of 1960’s culture through the eyes of either growing chameleonic or increasingly obsolete admen. It doubles, however, as commentary on the timeless endeavors of the human experience, one being the endless pursuit of happiness. Don, like nearly all the characters on “Mad Men,” suffers from perpetual disillusionment with his own status quo. No matter where he is in his life he always wants more, and the crux of the show revolves around life returning him with regressing amounts of less. His continuous failure to stop and be content where he is sends him careening toward a progressively vacant, self deprecating, and most of all, unhappy existence.

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Karl fired: What we know (with reaction!)

What. Just. Happened?

It’s been over 12 hours since news first broke of Karl’s firing and I’m still not entirely convinced this isn’t all some crazed, sports-obsessed dream. After all, I was bedridden yesterday due to food poisoning and I could have sworn I was delusional for at least a few minutes. These things happen, right? People enter trance-like states for extended periods on a regular basis… don’t they? Can someone pinch me? PLEASE?!?!

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UNLEASH THE MANIMAL! (But maybe from the bench)

The story of Kenneth Faried’s career is a very interesting one.

Despite being the all-time leading rebounder in modern-day NCAA history, Faried fell all the way the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA draft where the Nuggets scooped him up.

The reasons he fell were well documented; he was undersized, lacked an offensive game, and was an average finisher. But he also had some huge strengths; the rebounding prowess, the motor and his incredible athleticism.

He ended up in the perfect situation in Denver, a place where he was asked to rebound and run the floor, things he did very well. Because of that he burst on the scene as a rookie with highlight after highlight. He also captured peoples’ hearts and imagination; I have seen projections from various Nuggets followers that call him a future All-Star, a superstar and even Dennis Rodman 2.0.

But 2012-2013 should temper those expectations just a bit and raise a very interesting, and difficult, decision for George Karl and whoever runs the Nuggets front office going forward.

Is Faried better utilized as a sixth man?

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Link: A Closer Look at Ujiri’s Time in Denver

A few days ago in my reaction piece to Ujiri’s departure I mentioned talking with Sam Holako about how Raptors fans were unlucky to see Ujiri flee from Toronto to Denver. Now that the tables have turned, Holako recently caught up with me to discuss what Toronto is getting in their new general manager. You can view our conversation at RMC’s fellow TrueHoop blog, Raptors Republic. But if you’re short on time and want the truncated version, it basically went like this: Ujiri is a great GM, especially in regards to the draft, and Raptors fans are incredibly lucky to have him. Or, as Holako puts it in his article, “TL;DR: Masai Ujiri comes as advertized.”

Roundball Roundtable: On Ujiri’s departure

Masai Ujiri leaving the Denver Nuggets has the potential to be one of the most devastating franchise decisions the Kroenke family has ever made. Conversely, the Nuggets might hire the next Masai Ujiri and be just fine. Either way, the decision to let him speak with the Raptors and ultimately sign with his former Canadian squad said something about the Nuggets as a franchise. It said something about the Kroenkes and it said something about the order of the Nuggets’ priorities. Our writers have a few ideas about what that something is, which we’ve laid out below in our latest Roundball Roundtable.

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Reaction: Kroenkes more talk than walk

A few years back I exchanged e-mails with a Raptors Republic blogger (I think it was Sam Holako) about Masai Ujiri. Although he was still just beginning his career in Denver, it was clear Ujiri had the innate ability to evaluate talent that Bryan Colangelo lacked. I said I felt bad for Raptors fans, that they deserved better given their struggles since, well forever, but I also didn’t feel bad for them. After all, Ujiri was in Denver. It wasn’t my favorite team he’d be terrorizing. (more…)

Player Profile: Ty Lawson

The Summary of a Season:

It is extremely apropos that Ty Lawson would be the Nugget whose dichotomic year would be the best reflection of what truly was a polarizing season for Denver. It was a season that, like Denver’s, began horribly and made even the most steadfast supporter question the validity of his freshly inked extension, or in the team’s case, the perception of the squad as a dark-horse contender. Then things took a turn for the efficient, Lawson found his shot again, and the Nuggets were off to the races. 57 wins later and imbued with recency bias the Lawson-led Nuggets marched confidently into the playoffs, where they were tragically felled by the fiery hands of the Warriors and their parade of shooters (that inexplicably, and almost unfairly, included Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green). The ending to the season left a taint on the season, like a stain you can’t un-see on an otherwise glorious and pristine masterpiece. You can’t have one without the other. Lawson’s end of season numbers reflect this, the stain of his first half cannot be parsed from his incredible second because the imperfection is what makes him who he is as a player and is an inseparable part of his, and the Nuggets’, season.

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Five things we learned about the 2012-2013 Denver Nuggets offense

As the 2012-2013 NBA calendar winds down we take a look at the season that was for the Denver Nuggets, starting with an overview of the offense. 

The Nuggets finished with the fifth-best offense of the 2012-2013 season in terms of offensive efficiency. It was a record setting year with Denver securing a franchise-best 57 wins and the most points in the paint scored in a season in NBA history. Denver has now had a top five offense for five years in a row, but their fall to fifth represents a decline from last year’s third-ranked team and the league-leading Nuggets offense of two seasons ago.

If we dig a bit deeper we see the effects of horrendous shooting from the perimeter and the free-throw line reflected in the Nuggets True Shooting percentage, which fell all the way to 54.9% this season. While that is a solid figure good for 7th in the NBA, it’s also the Nuggets worst mark since the 2006-2007 season and rather pedestrian compared to what they did with similar talent in years past.

The Nuggets were still the Nuggets this season, but the offense clearly took a step back despite everyone’s best efforts to reorganize as a sturdier defensive unit under Iguodala (and the defense did improve). Denver scored enough points to win most games but it was on the offensive end where the Nuggets saw most of their flaws exposed, both with the roster and the style of play.

It’s pretty remarkable that a team with no shooters and inexperienced, unskilled big men still managed a top five offense and 57 wins. Looking at the numbers it’s clear the Nuggets had a plan to maximize what they do best and executing that consistently covered up many individual flaws. I took a look at what else can be gleamed from the Nuggets offensive numbers this past season and here are five revelations, if you will, as we wait to see how the Nuggets try to improve in the draft, free agency and beyond.
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More Ujiri rumors: Does a glimmer of hope remain?

There was a sudden whirlwind of rumors and reports last Friday during the time leading up to and just after Masai Ujiri met with the Raptors to discuss the possibility of leaving the Nuggets to take the helm at Toronto’s front office. But hings quickly went silent thereafter, and few whispers have been heard on the matter since the tumultuous events of last weekend.

However, Steve Kyler, editor and publisher of Hoopsworld and an NBA writer for USA Today, was recently answering some questions on Twitter (follow him here), and if his sources are accurate, his responses could possibly shed some new light on some of the details, and perhaps even provide Nuggets fans with a ray of hope (albeit dim) in the gloom of the ongoing Ujiri saga. (more…)

Is Ujiri on the brink of leaving Denver?

Earlier today Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrien Wojnarowski reported the Nuggets ownership granted the Raptors permission to speak with Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri in Denver. In his article Woj states that, “Unless Denver responds soon with a market-value contract extension to keep its general manager, Ujiri is prepared to leave Denver,” and how, “Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke is aggressively pursuing Ujiri to become the Raptors’ general manager.”

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Sharing the Wealth: A Breakdown of Nuggets Assists

One of the biggest talking points around the Nuggets this season was how deep they were.

That resulted in a lot of different players scoring points for Denver and naturally with that plenty of assists, as the Nuggets finished third in the league at 24.4 assists per game, just .1 worse than second place Atlanta and less than a full assist behind top ranked San Antonio.

Most of those assists came from three players; Ty Lawson, Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala averaged 6.9, 5.9 and 5.4 assists per game respectively.

I decided to delve a little deeper into those assist numbers using the awesome assist charts at the great new site hotshotcharts.com.

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Nuggets news from Day 1 at the NBA Draft Combine

For NBA Draft junkies like me, the annual Draft Combine is the commencement of a nonstop obsession for about a month each summer. Although the Combine doesn’t present the ideal opportunity for scouting, there are still an assortment of minor details revealed about teams, players and the intentions of both that can prove invaluable during pre-draft analysis. Here is what I learned regarding the Nuggets from the first day of the Combine.

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Denver Nuggets off-season to-do list

For the third year in a row Roundball Mining Company has arranged an off-season priority list for the Denver Nuggets. The following items are arranged from least to most important. They are moves which the Nuggets would greatly benefit from, yet none are mandatory. After winning 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year, it’s safe to assume Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri will do everything in his power to improve the Nuggets once again — that is, as long as he’s still around.

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Staking a Claim: Season Reaction

Staking a Claim is a column that takes a look at all things Nuggets through the eyes of an outsider. As those who follow me on Twitter know I am a Bucks fan, so it will give Nuggets fans an opportunity to see things through the eyes of someone who follows the team closely but isn’t necessarily a fan.

A little over a week ago the Nuggets season came to a disappointing end in a Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Over that time I have thought a lot about how to classify the Nuggets season.

Was it a success or failure? How much can be built on and how much should the team get away from? Can this roster compete for a title with a few tweaks or is there a major change that has to happen?

And finally after watching the Warriors continue their, to steal a term from Matt Moore, nova shooting against the Spurs things started to become much clearer to me.

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