A Roller Coaster of Performance: A Win/Loss Splits Tour of the Rotation

At 16-17 with a seven game winning streak and an eight game losing streak to their names so far this season it is hard to see the 2013-2014 version of the Nuggets as anything more than a confusing inconsistent and mildly talented collection of basketball players.

When things go well and shots fall the Nuggets win, when they don’t and Denver turns the ball over, they lose. Through the first 33 games of the season it has become clear that Ty Lawson is far and away the best and most important player currently healthy on the Denver roster, meaning it seems like the play of Lawson more than anybody determines if the Nuggets will win or lose a game.

But a deeper looking into the win/loss splits of the main nine rotation players for Denver this year (Lawson, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, JJ Hickson, Nate Robinson, Jordan Hamilton, Darrell Arthur and Timofey Mozgov) show that there are actually a few other players that make more of a difference in win or loss than Lawson. Below is a quick breakdown of some interesting splits for each of those nine players.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 137, Los Angeles Lakers 115

What. Just. Happened? I don’t know. I’ve tried to explain it below, through grades and numbers and analysis, but truth be told, I still have absolutely no clue as to what transpired this game. I honestly feel like I was abducted by a badass basketball UFO for like two hours or something, then dropped back off at Earth where I’m supposed to do this Rapid Reaction and explain what happened in human form. I’ll try my best, but getting abducted by super-basketball UFO’s is not something that happens to me every day. Just know that.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 111, Memphis Grizzlies 108

After dropping eight games in a row the Nuggets were finally able to hold it together for 48 minutes and secure a win at home. Randy Foye, Evan Fournier and Timofey Mozgov all shined, but it was Ty Lawson’s 18 points, 12 assists and three steals that sealed the deal for the Nuggets.

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Rapid Reaction: Miami Heat 97, Denver Nuggets 94

The Nuggets played with heart and gave a valiant effort, however the Heat proved to be too much to handle in the end. This is the seventh game in a row the Nuggets have lost. They are now two games below .500.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 99 -Memphis Grizzlies 120

Unfortunately, no one at RMC was able to catch the whole game tonight thanks to a few holiday season related things so there won’t be full grades, just some thoughts and observations based on the final quarter plus that I was able to see. Feel free to leave any thoughts below.

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Rapid Reaction: New Orleans Pelicans 105 – Denver Nuggets 89

The Nuggets’ woes continue on the road, as they now full-strength Pelicans handed the Nuggets their fifth straight loss. It’s getting ugly, folks.

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Five Denver Nuggets New Year’s resolutions

Like many Americans, the Denver Nuggets have a lot of crap wrong with them. And like many Americans, the Denver Nuggets will make a conscious effort to resolve their nagging issues in the coming week. On Friday the Nuggets will play the New Orleans Hornets (insert owner’s wife’s favorite animal) Pelicans to put them just over one third of the way through the 2013-14 NBA season. After dropping five of their last six games, and coming off three full days of rest, the Nuggets should be more than ready to turn over a new leaf — even if January 1 is still a few days away. And though the Nuggets have a plethora of problems to be addressed, here are five of most imperative heading into Friday’s game…

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Shaw needs to bump Foye from the starting lineup

When the Nuggets brought Randy Foye on board last offseason as part of the Andre Iguodala sign-and-trade, the reasoning was clear: They needed shooters, and he was a shooter.

Unfortunately, we now must, at least for the time being, say “he was a shooter” strictly in the past tense, because any remnants of the consistent and reliable 3-point shooter who played with Utah last season have long disappeared.

The extent to which Foye has dropped off in December is as damaging to Denver’s offense as it is inexplicable: (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Golden State Warriors 89, Denver Nuggets 81

The Nuggets came out lethargic in the first quarter, made a comeback in the second quarter, pulled ahead in the third quarter, then completely crashed and burned in the fourth quarter to lose the game. So, pretty much the same thing they’ve been doing for the past two weeks. More analysis inside…

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A Closer Look at the Robinson-Miller Pairing

The Denver Nuggets might lack a bonafide superstar, but the team has something a lot of other teams don’t — depth at pretty much every position. Even with injuries to some key players, Brian Shaw has a lot of pieces he can throw into different lineups and he experimented quite a lot early in the season. The rotation is pretty solid now and with a decent sample size we can begin to examine the trends.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 91 at Los Angeles Clippers 112

The Nuggets shot poorly all night, and forgot to defend the three point line, on the way to a big loss to the Clippers on a back to back.

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Data Mining: The great defensive efficiency divide

Almost two months into this NBA season, it has become exceedingly clear just how important the Denver Nuggets bench has been to the team’s relative success. The starting lineup has frequently struggled, especially in first quarters, and the second unit has come to their rescue all too often.

In my recent post on Wilson Chandler, I compared his net efficiency with that of Timofey Mozgov, suggesting that Timo was, and Wilson wasn’t making a big impact. In the comments section, a Roundball Mining Company reader correctly pointed out that it might not be fair to compare a starter with a bench player, given the discrepancy in the caliber of players they’re going up against.

So to follow up on this notion, I used statistics from NBAwowy.com to put together the following chart: (more…)

To switch or not to switch?

Defensive systems in the NBA are predicated on rules, when and who to help off of, what type of pick and roll to switch on, where on the floor to direct this point guard, where on the floor to direct that wing, ect. Denver’s defense (currently 12th in the league in defensive efficiency and sixth overall in opponents points per possession) is starting to round into a more principled form following the stutters, stops, and fixes that defined the early part of the season. A specific mandate that is becoming more and more clear by the game, is when and how the Nuggets will switch on a pick and roll.

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Time for a Change.

Winning in the NBA isn’t an easy task. Even games against bad teams can swing on a single play, a made jumper or bad bounce on a deflection that leads to a run out.

So continuously getting off to bad starts is something that teams should want to avoid. Unfortunately for the Nuggets in the past nine games that isn’t something they have been avoiding, thanks to a porous defense that allows just about everyone to blitz them to start games.

Against the Jazz, a team that is getting better but is still bad, the Nuggets gave up 18 points in the first 4:33 of the game. Brian Shaw hinted after that game that he had thoughts about changing the starting lineup to halt those early game problems, but in the two games following that contest the starters have stayed the same and in both games Denver trailed after a quarter because they allowed their opponents to get off to hot offensive starts.

It is time for Shaw to make the change. Luckily for him there are two good options to do so.

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Pickaxe Pulse for December 16, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets held pace in the Western Conference standings, remaining in the playoff hunt after an up-and-down week. The team ended a six game road trip on Monday with an ugly win against the Wizards. Nate Robinson’s constant energy and a late block and dunk by Kenneth Faried were key to the 75-74 victory. Back at home with three days rest, the Nuggets starters came out flat against the Jazz. Timofey Mozgov and Jordan Hamilton led a comeback in the second half that gave the team a brief lead, but the Nuggets ultimately couldn’t hold on. Speedy point guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson took charge in a strong win against the Pelicans on Sunday, with Robinson in particular filling up the highlight reel with drives, jumpers, and even a couple of blocked shots. A tough schedule awaits this week, with all three Nuggets opponents currently in the top six in the West.

Current record and standings: 14-9 (7-3 home, 7-6 road), 7th in the Western Conference

Upcoming games: Tuesday vs Oklahoma City, Friday vs Phoenix, Saturday at LA Clippers

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