It’s been a long time since we’ve covered the NBA Draft extensively here at Roundball Mining Company. Two years, in fact. (Last year we published almost nothing but rumors and breaking news regarding the front-office overhaul that took place leading up to the 2013 Draft.) So I have to say, it feels good writing about one of my favorite hobbies again. Really good. And on top of my already sunny disposition due to simply writing about the draft is the ongoing realization that for the first time in over a decade the Nuggets have a pick in the lottery. For draft-obsessed, wannabe GMs like me, life really doesn’t get any better.
I’ve been doing the Denver Nuggets offseason to-do list for four years now. It’s become a tradition, and it’s a great way to analyze the roster and cap flexibility heading into summer. Every year presents its own unique set of circumstances surrounding the roster, but I do have to say, I can’t remember an offseason being this difficult to forecast. As Joel recently pointed out in his Dearth of financial flexibility post, the Nuggets desperately need to make moves yet have hardly any room to maneuver – like Austin Powers attempting a three-point turn in Dr. Evil’s underground lair. It’s really anyone’s guess as to how Tim Connelly will go about doing his job this summer, and though it seems likely the Nuggets do less as apposed to more, here are some suggestions regarding how the team can position itself to win more games down the road while decreasing its long-term cap strain.
Much has been made this season about what the 2013-14 Denver Nuggets are not. They’re not a good team, first and foremost. They’re not healthy. They’re inconsistent. They lack defensive fundamentals that are often a hallmark of championship-contending teams. But for everything the Denver Nuggets are not, there are many things they are — which deserve recognition as dusk approaches on the season.
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…
As the 2013-14 NBA season approaches, many questions hover around the Denver Nuggets. Almost everything that made the team successful in years past (especially last season) has now departed. There’s no more George Karl, no more Masai Ujiri, no more Andre Iguodala — no more certainty. There’s still a deep and talented roster, however the players that comprise it are less known commodities and more bags of speculation and temptation. The 2013-14 Denver Nuggets are, more than anything, a team mired with uncertainty. Though five topics of concern are presented below, this list could very well expand to seven or even 10. But in honor of brevity and odd numbers, here are the five most compelling storylines to watch for this season.
I can’t lie. I’ve thought about writing this article for years. Years. After each futile, heartless, disappointing exit in the first round of the playoffs, I was so ready to write this article that I couldn’t sleep. This year was no different. This year I wanted it just as bad as I have for the last several years. And yet, here it is, less than a week since Karl was let go, and I’m not sure I even want to write it anymore.
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.
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…)
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.
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.
“By the end of the 2003 baseball season I had learned something from publishing Moneyball. I learned that if you look long enough for an argument against reason you will find it.” — Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Jessica Redfield Gawhi’s passion for sports was undeniable. Before being senselessly gunned down in the Aurora theater shooting, she was pursuing her dream of being becoming a sports reporter and worked as an intern and Altitude Sports & Entertainment. Passionate and smart, Jessica always took time to help those in need. Prior to her death, Jessica’s dream was to help families of the Colorado wildfires by providing hockey equipment. On Saturday September 8th, the Denver Nuggets and Kroenke Sports charities will hold a gently-used sports equipment drive in Jessica’s honor. The equipment drive includes all sports and will serve families in need throughout the Denver metro area as part of the effort to ensure Jessica’s giving spirit lives on.
Denver Nuggets players, dancers, ambassadors and supermascot Rocky will be on hand. Here’s a guide of what to bring and where to go on Saturday morning. As Nuggets fans, this is a great opportunity to get involved with the organization and do something good in honor of a special person.
Saturday September 8th
7:00 AM – Noon
Pepsi Center – Parking Lot B
(Enter via 7th street from Chopper Circle)
What to bring
New or lightly used sports equipment requested includes: Baseball and Softball – Balls, Gloves, Catcher’s Gear, Bats; Basketball – Balls, Nets, Shoes; Bicycles and Helmets; Boxing – Gloves, Head Gear; Football – Balls, Pads, Helmets, Cleats; Golf – Clubs, Balls, Shoes; Hockey – Pucks, Skates, Pads, Goalie Gear, Helmet, Sticks; Lacrosse – Balls, Sticks, Pads, Helmets; Roller Hockey – Skates, Helmets, Pads, Sticks, Balls; Roller Skating/Blading – Skates, Helmets, Pads; Soccer – Balls, Cleats, Shin Guards; Tennis – Balls, Rackets, Shoes ; and Volleyball – Balls, Nets, Pads. In addition, monetary donations will benefit the Jessica Redfield Ghawi giveSPORTS Scholarship Fund which provides financial assistance for sports-related registration fees.
As it stands, I’m at my computer early Friday morning. Yesterday the Nuggets were involved in trade talks that included four teams, with Dwight Howard — most notably — going to the Lakers and Andre Iguodala being shipped to Denver. I hesitated to make anything of it, because let’s face it, we’ve been down this road before. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a Dwight Howard trade rumor this summer I’d have a lot of nickels. However, this time it appears to be for real. According to ESPN.com the Nuggets will receive Andre Iguodala in return for Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington and a future first-round selection in the NBA Draft. If this is true — which it looks to be — here are five initial observations from the Nuggets point of view…
As the Nuggets walked off the floor following their first Summer League game In Las Vegas, few players were more bothered by the loss than Chukwudiebere Maduabum, the only member of Denver’s roster who didn’t enter the game.
The 2012 NBA Draft went like a lot of people thought it wouldn’t. With their first selection the Nuggets took a European player on virtually nobody’s radar and with their second selection they took someone high on everyone’s radar… the first-round radar, that is. Immediately following the Draft there was, for the most part, a negative and visceral outburst by fans (and columnists) in reaction to the surprise selection, and while the visceral part is understandable, the negative deserves some perspective.