Heading into the 2011-12 season the Denver Nuggets were a mystery waiting to be solved. After coming off the most chaotic seven months in franchise history the team made monumental strides in the offseason to remain competitive even after parting ways with Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. In addition, the NBA lockout saw key contributors Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martina and J.R. Smith all vanish to the opposite side of the world until midseason, leaving even more questions marks about who would be with the team moving forward. But as the season progressed, piece by piece Nuggets fans collected clues about the identity and subsequent standards the team would possess, which ended up being very similar to years past.
After Thursday’s surreal Game 6 victory against the Lakers I was dead set on writing some kind of piece about the experience. But because I didn’t get a chance to take notes, I realized a traditional recap was going to be hard to come by. After mulling over several, more creative ideas for a post, I decided writing a poem might be the best way to summarize whatever memories remained from Thursday. Sticking with the Notorious B.I.G. theme I introduced on Wednesday (which has since become contagious), I give you, It Was All a (Nuggets) Dream, by yours truly.
One of the more delightful aspects of being a Nuggets fan these days is knowing how competent the team’s front office is. Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke have proven to be a dynamic duo that isn’t afraid to make a bold move when necessary. Through his first year and a half as the Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, it was as if everything Ujiri touched turned to gold. But in his most recent transaction, sending long-tenured veteran Nene to Washington in exchange for the young, enigmatic JaVale McGee, he might very well have put the first blemish on his otherwise near-perfect track record.
In the last installment of Roundball Mining Company’s Denver Nuggets midterm report card series, we’ll be examining the rookies. Since this group of players hasn’t received the type of playing time most of their teammates have, we decided to evaluate them separately. Since the All-Star break, Kenneth Faried has managed to claw his way into the rotation, while Julyan Stone and Jordan Hamilton still remain isolated on the furthest regions of Karl’s bench. This extra boost in minutes has allowed us to get a better understanding of who Faried is, yet Hamilton and Stone are still relatively unknown commodities, therefore their grades should be taken with a grain of salt.
In the second article of our three-part series evaluating how the Denver Nuggets have performed through roughly half the season, we take a look at the bench. The same format from the previous installment applies here. Keep in mind however that rookies are not evaluated in this episode of the series as they did not play a role on the bench until recently. Rookies will be analyzed separately in the final section of our midterm report card series. So without further ado, here is the Denver Nuggets midterm report card for the bench.
Throughout Roundball Mining Company’s Rapid Reaction history we’ve had numerous readers suggest we keep a tally of each player’s grades, then add them up at the end of the season to evaluate the individual performances of the Denver Nuggets. We thank you all for the interest and have since decided to incorporate this idea as part of our blog. Being that the All-Star break essentially splits this lockout-shortened season in half we’re presented with the perfect opportunity to assess where the team, and its players, currently stand. Because these evaluations can get a bit lengthy we’ve decided to split up the series into three different sections: starters, bench players and rookies. This is the first part of the Denver Nuggets midterm report card.
The sentiment that George Karl is a defensive-minded coach is nothing more than a pure fallacy. During his seven-year tenure in Denver not once have the Nuggets ranked better than 18th in the league in defense. Right now, Denver ranks near the bottom of the league in nearly every defensive statistical category imaginable. From points per game, to field goals made, to field goal percentage, to 3-pointers made, to three-point shooting percentage — in each of these areas Denver is no better than 25th in the league.
On Saturday the Denver Nuggets chose to waive DeMarre Carroll, according to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post. With next Tuesday’s deadline that demands all NBA contracts become guaranteed and Wilson Chandler still not re-signed, waiving Carroll was the simplest way to ensure a roster spot remains open for Chandler upon his return to the NBA sometime in the near future.
It’s early in the Denver Nuggets 2011-2012 season, but the story so far has no doubt been the inspiring double overtime win against the departed Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers doesn’t feature the same hype and excitement surrounding the Knicks contest, but it’s no less symbolic for Nuggets fans witnessing Chauncey Billups’ first return to the Pepsi Center since the infamous trade marking the end of the Melo era.
Thank God Carmelo Anthony finally made a few shots.
Regardless of how you felt about Carmelo’s forced departure from the Mile High City the first contest between the Denver Nuggets and their former franchise player it would not have been as enjoyable had Melo ended the game without having made it a challenge.
I am on record as saying I wish Carmelo well in New York. There was no benefit for Denver to have him stay any longer. We can argue all day if the Denver Nuggets need another player like him to reach their ultimate goal. What there is no doubt about is this team is easy to cheer for and they play in a way that is endearing.
Many times fans get the feeling that the players they cheer for do not care about what happens on the court as much as they do. Last night there was little doubt that the Nuggets players and coaches cared as much as the fans, and probably even more.
With the 2011-12 season right around the corner, Charlie and I decided to delve into some of the topics that most interested us regarding this year’s Denver Nuggets team. However, when all was said and done, we ended up with more of a season preview than anything. So, whether you’re a seasoned Nuggets aficionado or simply just a casual fan, we hope you enjoy our take on the most pressing storylines heading into the upcoming Denver Nuggets campaign. (more…)
Yesterday my wonderful colleague Jeremy detailed the Nuggets 2011-12 season outlook in a post titled, How Good Can the Denver Nuggets Be? In it he expressed his concern over how this year’s team would play without a “chip” on its shoulder, without enough good defensive players in addition to how the Nuggets would be affected by losing Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler to the Chinese Basketball Association. In the end Jeremy stated, “For Nuggets fans who could not stomach the thought of rebuilding, you got your wish. They will be a playoff team for the foreseeable future, but I fear that is all they will be.” Though this may be true, I’m here to tell you why that may not be such a bad thing after all. (more…)
Every now and then we receive mail from our loyal readers that’s a passionate account of a favorite player, game or experience involving the Denver Nuggets. In this case, it was all three. Tom Ley is a writer for several different websites and was planning on posting this article about his favorite player, J.R. Smith, in one of those publications before he reached out to us, figuring Roundball Mining Company might be a better medium for this type of story. We’re certainly glad did, as his perspective on the now China-dwelling Smith is nothing short of a thrilling and yet, poignant examination of J.R. Smith’s tenure as a Nugget.
In Roundball’s recent Denver Nuggets’ Big Board 2.0 I stated, “If Faried does however manage to find his way past the Trailblazers, to put it simply: Nuggets fans should be ecstatic.” Little did I know however, that “ecstatic” wouldn’t even begin to cover the range of emotions I felt as David Stern announced Faried’s name as the Nuggets’ 22nd overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.
We’ve all heard this infamous proverb before in movies, books, TV shows, etc., but up until now it’s been a phrase I’ve tried to keep out of my vocabulary when discussing my favorite sports team: the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, this is about the only statement I feel is applicable for the way I feel right now. (more…)