A Monster March: Why Kenneth Faried’s Recent Offensive Explosion is Encouraging.

Things clearly haven’t gone well for the Nuggets since the start of 2014. The team went into a tailspin, largely thanks to the injury bug that ripped through the team, forcing multiple games of Randy Foye at point guard and other drastic measures. But just because the team hasn’t been headed in the right direction doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any good to come of the season. In fact recently something very encouraging has been happening.

Since the start of March Kenneth Faried has been on fire.  The Manimal is averaging 21.1 points and 10.1 rebounds in seven games this month while shooting 64.5 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the free throw line. The stretch is probably the best Faried has played in his entire career and is encouraging for the Nuggets to see as they start to think about what kind of extension they will be offering him next season.

What makes things most exciting for Denver is how the growth has come in one of the places that it seems like Brian Shaw eventually wants to run his offense from—the post.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 98-Charlotte Bobcats 105

Thanks to the Nuggets complete inability to defend good players the Bobcats led for most of the contest and defeated the Nuggets 105-98. Al Jefferson dominated anyone the Nuggets tried to throw at him while Gary Neal and Kemba Walker took turns killing the Nuggets when Jefferson needed a blow.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 134, Los Angeles Lakers 126

In a high-scoring affair that didn’t feature much defense, the Nuggets ran up the score early on the Lakers and strung together their first consecutive wins in over a month. Kenneth Faried scored a career-high 32 points, and Lawson matched his career high with 17 assists. (more…)

Nuggets Dispelling Their Unattainable Goals Is a Relief

While NBA players rarely acknowledge tanking, fans are usually able to come to terms with the onerous reality when it’s finally time for their favorite team to knock down the remaining dominos and rebuild. The process requires both parties to adapt a tenacious and resolute attitude, as a tanking team is essentially asking its fans to continue spending their hard-earned dollars on tickets, even when the product on the court is hardly worth it. It’s a strenuous procedure, but it provides a sense of direction and hope. Teams that attempt to repudiate the notion of a rebuilding process often risk falling into the forsaken purgatory that is the middle-ground in the NBA.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 115 Dallas Mavericks 110

The Nuggets snapped a six-game slide with a 115-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Pepsi Center. Outside of a poor second half in which Denver almost squandered the comfortable lead they held all night, the Nuggets delivered their best overall effort in a while.
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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 96 Portland Trailblazers 102

The Nuggets put up a fight this time but still lose by a score of 102-96 in Portland. The Blazers swept the season series against the tanking Nuggets, who have now lost 10 of their last 11 games.

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Roundball Roundtable: Assessing the front office after the trade deadline

After a turbulent 2013 offseason which raised more questions than answers about the future of the Denver Nuggets, last Thursday’s trade deadline represented a sort of mid-term examination for their young front office. The test was not only to improve the roster, but also to clarify the team’s goals and plans moving forward, and provide at least a glimmer of hope for a future more promising than this increasingly frustrating season would seem to suggest.

And now that the deadline has passed, with the Nuggets making two trades – Jordan Hamilton for Aaron Brooks and Andre Miller for Jan Vesely – it’s time for us here at Roundball Mining Company to take measure of the front office, evaluate their deadline moves, assess how the new regime has done up to this point, and discuss what they need to do from here on out.

Five of your RMC writers give their take after the jump. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 89, Chicago Bulls 117

It was another blowout loss for the Nuggets, who trailed the Bulls wire to wire, and fell to their sixth defeat in their last seven games. If any silver lining could be found, it was that newly acquired point guard Aaron Brooks scored 17 points, and appears to be a very viable replacement for Nate Robinson.

The grades are below the fold: (more…)

Should the Nuggets consider Josh Akognon for backup point guard?

As reported on Sportando, the regular season of the Chinese Basketball Association has come to a close, making a small crop of new free agents available on the NBA market. There are some familiar (if not necessarily appealing) names in the bunch, including Delonte West and Hamed Haddadi.

One less well-known player, however, could merit the Nuggets’ consideration.

Former Cal State Fullerton point guard Josh Akognon has spent the majority of his five-year professional basketball career playing in China, with a fair degree of success. (more…)

Roundball Roundup: Part II – Shaw vs Karl, Faried’s struggle, a farewell to guards, and Denver’s DOA season

Shaw versus Karl:

It’s no secret that there’s been an internal struggle between Brain Shaw’s Nuggets and and the ghosts of George Karl’s. Despite being fifty games into his era, and equipped with a (slightly) different roster, Shaw has found himself battling not only with his own inexperience, but the shadow of the coach he replaced. Karl’s basketball sensibilities still seem imbued in this team, and his championing of shots at the rim above all else has Shaw frustrated with what, to him, appears to be his team passing up easier shots in favor of driving at the rim. Here’s exactly what Shaw said after Wednesday’s game vs Milwaukee (taken from audio on 102.3 ESPN Radio):

I’m still on our guys about, if you’re open and you have space, shoot the ball. And I’ve never been around a group of guys that, a coach has had to encourage guys to shoot the ball when they’re open. A big part of it is, when talking with the guys last year, with George Karl everything was to the rim, to the rim, to the rim. And I think that, you know, sometimes you can do that but when your have a rim-protector like Larry Sanders, unless you going to take it all the way to his chest, its gonna be hard to finish over him inside…that’s why you have to take the open shots when you have it. You always think you can get something better but the best shot is the one where you have enough space to shoot it within the rhythm of the offense.”

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 109, Detroit Pistons 126 – Lawson fractures left rib

Things went from bad to worse for the Denver Nuggets tonight. Not only did they get blown out by the Pistons the night after getting blown out by the Knicks, but injury was added to insult as they lost Ty Lawson late in the second quarter to a lower back strain. He did not return, and the Nuggets announced that his left rib was fractured.

More on Lawson’s injury, as well as the grades, are after the jump: (more…)

Timofey Mozgov, the rise of Denver’s hidden gem

Mid-way through the 2011-12 season, Masai Ujiri decided to take a risk. In return for the ever-steady Nene, Ujiri and the Nuggets would get to inherent all the problems and promise of the raw yet gifted JaVale McGee. The initial risk morphed into a long-term investment in the form of a 4 year, $44 million deal that banked on McGee’s enormous pool of untapped talent to make it a worthwhile endeavor by the time the contract reached its back-end. Big men take awhile to develop, after all, and what’s a few years of limited production if the ultimate gain is an elite big man?

And yet, ironies of ironies, as Ujiri is off cavorting in Toronto and McGee is bench-ridden with injury, it is another raw big man who’s reaped the rewards of quiet development. It’s the forgotten cog that – at the time – almost laughably derailed the Melo trade, who has risen up this season to champion hope for the future.

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Is he an All-Star: A look at Ty Lawson’s case and chances to be in New Orleans.

Before NBA action starts on Thursday night, the reserves for the 2014 All Star Game will be announced and debated over and over and over again.

This season those announcements actually will have something to watch for Nuggets fans for the first time since Chauncey Billups was named an injury replacement in the 2009-2010 season, as Ty Lawson has placed himself in the conversation thanks to a stellar first half of the season.

Things won’t be easy for Lawson though as the Western Conference is stacked with worthy players and may be minus a deserved roster spot due to the fans voting Kobe Bryant as a starter in the game, as it has been rumored that Kobe may play just a few minutes in the game for fear of a fine if he has returned by that time of the season.

So with the decision looming it is time to take a look into Lawson’s candidacy.

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Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 109, Pacers 96

[Note: Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Rapid Reaction generator working, so a regular, old-fashioned recap follows the jump.]

The Denver Nuggets came out strong, building a 19-point halftime lead, then weathered Indiana’s third quarter scoring barrage to hang on for one of their biggest wins of the season.

In facing a powerhouse with the best record in the NBA, their hopes were at least partly pinned on the fact that the Pacers were on the second night of a back-to-back, having gone into overtime against the Kings in a game that saw their starters average 40.6 minutes.

Denver took full advantage of this opportunity right out of the gate, bursting onto the court with defensive energy that was fueling forced turnovers and fast breaks. (more…)

By the Numbers: Randy Foye

Ever since Ty Lawson has assumed the titular role of the Denver Nuggets’ best player, we’ve heard a phrase often associated with his name: The Nuggets go as Ty goes. Though this adage may have been true at one point in time (and still is to a degree), the numbers certainly paint a different picture this year. As I’ve stated multiple times on Twitter and in Rapid Reactions, the player who’s personal success seems to translate most frequently into wins is actually Randy Foye. And though it may be difficult to acknowledge for some, it’s time we all accept the fact that the Nuggets really go as Foye goes — at least for now.

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