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.
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.
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
As the Nuggets got off to a rocky start to begin the season, it was hoped that help would be on the way in the form of Wilson Chandler when he returned to play after missing their first six games due to a hamstring injury. And while he has made helpful contributions to an extent, he has clearly fallen short of making the impact many Nuggets fans were hoping for.
For starters, his impact on the court versus off has been essentially neutral. Consider, for example, the discrepancy between Chandler and Mozgov in this regard: (more…)
I was going to try and write something tonight, but I’ve decided not to. I’ve decided Grantland’s Zach Lowe has written an article that is probably a lot better than any I would have composed. So, if I were you, I’d read it — if you haven’t already. And if you have, perhaps you’d like to read it again. Lowe extracts some great quotes from different Nuggets’ sources and does an exceptional job of summarizing where the Nuggets are in their development under Brian Shaw and where they’re trying to go in the future with Tim Connelly as GM. So read it. Do it. Now.
Nate Robinson came up big as the Nuggets clawed their way to victory in DC with three game-saving stops in a row. It was one of the uglier affairs of the season featuring 20 turnovers and a Kenneth Faried benching in the second half, but Denver hung around and did just enough to come away with a win.
Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend
The Nuggets travelled east for a difficult stretch of four games in five nights, winning two and losing two. Timofey Mozgov was a dominating force in the paint against Brooklyn on Tuesday, with 17 points and 20 rebounds in a blowout win. Ty Lawson struggled with his shot the next night in Cleveland and the Cavs’ Tristan Thompson pulled down a Mozgov-like 21 rebounds to hand the Nuggets a defeat. Boston got off to a quick start on Friday, and an injury to Ty Lawson ended the Nuggets’ shot at a comeback. The team rebounded from two tough losses by going in to Philadelphia and pulling out a win thanks to Jordan Hamilton hitting back-to-back-to-back threes late in the fourth period to blow the game open. With injuries and fatigue taking their toll, the Nuggets will be glad to end their road trip on Monday in Washington and spend three days getting healthy before their next game.
Current record and standings: 12-8 (6-2 home, 6-6 road), 7th in the Western Conference
Upcoming games: Monday at Washington, Friday vs Utah
Last night ESPN’s Marc Stein talked to a bunch of scouts to get their takes on a lot of NBA early season happenings for Stein Line Live.
Stein talked to an Eastern Conference scout on why the Nuggets turnaround has happened. The answer was mostly that Denver was running again, though the part that sticks out most is the scout’s take on JaVale McGee.
The Nuggets don’t have any shooters.”
Even as the 2012-13 Nuggets were working towards their most successful season in franchise history, there could be heard (as is always true in sports) some recurring complaints and criticisms from both fans and analysts. Prevalent among these was Denver’s lack of shooters, and with the acquisition of 3-point specialist Randy Foye, the team sought to address that need.
At the beginning of the season Foye got off to a somewhat slow start, but proceeded to settle in fairly quickly and start delivering on the promise of bringing some reliable perimeter shooting to the Nuggets’ arsenal. So far this season, among players with ten or more points per game, he is 10th in made 3-pointers per 36 minutes. (Nate Robinson is 17th, and the last on the list). And while Foye’s limited point production and .376 3-point percentage prevent him from joining the ranks of the elite gunners, he’s adroitly performing the task he was brought to Denver to do.
And, as we shall see in the video and analysis below the jump, Ty Lawson is playing a huge role in helping him get the job done. In fact, 70 percent of Foye’s shots have been assisted by Lawson, including 72.6 percent of his 3-pointers. And many of those assist have been among Lawson’s most impressive this season. (more…)
I have seen the calls for my apologies. The demands that I come out and eat crow for predicting the Nuggets were clearly lottery team. The wonder at where I have been during the recent streak of great play. (For the record I was away for ten days for the holiday).
But I have been thinking about things, about how I was potentially so wrong, and it all led me to one conclusion.
I was wrong, but it was only because I was misinformed.
Timofey Mozgov. Domination. Calamity. Explosions. Bazookas. Lasers. Apocalypse. Superhero. Awesomeness. What do all these words have in common? They’re all nouns and verbs and things that describe Mozgov’s upcoming Russian action-hero movie where he completely destroys all opponents in his path. But until then he’s still a basketball player for the Denver Nuggets. Confused? You should be. Read on for further explanation…
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
– Stephen Stills
What is going on here?
In the 2013 offseason, Josh Kroenke and Tim Connelly made a series of roster moves which did not seem to some observers (including many here at Roundball Mining Company) to be internally consistent or part of any apparent cohesive long-term plan for building a roster which could ultimately contend for a championship. Masai Ujiri and Andre Iguodala had bailed, George Karl had been fired, and the new player acquisitions were looking a lot like band-aid solutions to major arterial bleeding. (more…)
Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend
The Nuggets picked up four more wins this week and have won 9 of the last 11, leaving the team’s 1 and 4 start to the season as a distant memory. Nate Robinson has settled into his role as a scorer off the bench, averaging 18 points while shooting over 50% on threes in the last four games. Robinson has combined with Ty Lawson, Jordan Hamilton, and the surprisingly hot-shooting Andre Miller to give the Nuggets 8 or more made threes in 8 straight games, which is a franchise record. The Nuggets’ bigs continue to be inconsistent individually but effective as a group, with JJ Hickson, Kenneth Faried, and Timofey Mozgov each having at least one great game and one bad game this week. Darrell Arthur’s defense on Dirk Nowitzki helped in the win at Dallas. Randy Foye played well against Kevin Martin in the win at Minnesota and came up with a key late-game stop of Carmelo Anthony to seal the win against New York. The Nuggets’ bench, led by Robinson and Mozgov, put up 72 points in a comeback road win against Toronto to kick off a six-game road trip.
Current record and standings: 10-6 (6-2 home, 4-4 road), sixth place in the Western conference
Upcoming games: Tuesday at Brooklyn, Wednesday at Cleveland, Friday at Boston, Saturday at Philadelphia
At the buzzer, Randy Foye blocked Carmelo Anthony’s fadeaway jumper and denied Denver’s former star his first win as a Knick in his old stomping grounds. The Nuggets won their fifth straight game, and are officially on a roll, having won eight of their last ten. (more…)
I went in depth about how Lawson’s game has evolved last week but it’s worth reiterating how good he’s been. It’s difficult finding five point guards playing better then him right now, and his three-point shooting is only just now starting to come back around. In fact, Lawson is one of only two players this season to combine prolific shooting with his amount of passing in the league. I’d say he’s in pretty good company when it comes to point guard play. Combine that with his seeming invisibility once he beats his man off the dribble, and you have a good idea why he has the 11th best PER in the league.