Film Room: The Ty Lawson-Randy Foye 3-point connection (video scouting report)

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…)

Film Room: Randy Foye video scouting report

In our previous Roundball Mining Company Film Room installment, we took a look at one of the four Nuggets offseason roster acquisitions, power forward Darrell Arthur. Today we move on to shooting guard Randy Foye, traded to Denver from Utah in the three-way deal that sent Andre Iguodala to the Warriors.

“This team needs shooters,” was a frequently uttered mantra among Nuggets fans last season, and Foye, a .377 career 3-point shooter (.410 last season) certainly should help bolster Denver’s woeful shooting from the arc. The real question, however, is whether he can do much else.

Not to put too fine a point on it, a cursory look at his stats (from Basketball-Reference.com) suggests he’s an awful rebounder; a below-average distributor whose assist rate has steadily worsened over the last four seasons; a fairly terrible mid-range shooter (his 3-point percentage was actually higher than his 2-point percentage last season); a player whose very good free throw shooting is largely negated by his inability to get to the line (he has averaged fewer than two free throw attempts in over 26 minutes of play over the last two seasons); and a subpar defender. His low turnover rate seemingly does little to redeem his other apparent shortcomings.

But is he truly so one-dimensional? Is 3-point shooting really the only thing he brings to the table? (more…)

Denver’s Screening Problem

One of the biggest obstacles I run into when trying to project what Denver will look like going into next season is the absence of any idea what the system will be like under Brian Shaw. The Nuggets have spent the better part of a decade running the sometimes varied but always unorthodox George Karl system, and the extent to which Shaw deviates from that remains to be seen. He has been on the record as saying he will ditch the triangle offense that his coaching had been pigeonholed into (a wise move) and that he will continue to utilize Denver’s unique home court advantage with an uptempo offense (another smart move), but other than that it is mostly a mystery.

However, I am pretty confident that at least a good portion of Karl’s dribble-drive offense will be replaced with a more traditional pick-and-roll centric system. I will defend Karl’s dunks-and-threes system till the day I die in terms of how well it succeeded in the team sense but it is undeniable that the Nuggets have many players who would thrive in a more pick-and-roll featured scheme (Ty Lawson especially). There’s just one problem. There are precious few Nuggets who know how to properly set screens.

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Film Room: Darrell Arthur scouting report – video and in-depth analysis

In this latest installment of the Roundball Mining Company Film Room, we will take a look at Darrell Arthur, the player the Nuggets received in their surprise trade of Kosta Koufos.

But before getting to the analysis, it’s important to open with a major caveat: (more…)

Film Room: The Revelation of Evan Fournier (video scouting report)

At various times throughout the 2012-13 regular season, usually during garbage time in blowout games, rookie guard Evan Fournier offered us some occasional glimpses of his abilities and potential. But it wasn’t until Mar. 29, after Ty Lawson had joined Danilo Gallinari on the injured list, that Fournier was given his first meaningful opportunity to make an impact.

And did he ever..

His career high 19 points in 21 minutes, his feisty defense, and a confident poise that went well beyond his young age were a revelation to Nuggets fans who hadn’t yet been given the chance to see him fully showcase his talent. In the following game against the Utah Jazz he scored 18, and two games later against the Houston Rockets 17 points, all at very efficient percentages. The message over this four game stretch was loud and clear:

Evan Fournier is the real deal, and he’s only going to get better.

In this latest installment of the Roundball Mining Company Film Room, I have set out to make nothing less than the definitive video chronicle of Fournier’s coming out party (more…)

Film Room: JaVale McGee’s improving defense

During his days on the Washington Wizards, JaVale McGee became tragi-comically famous among NBA fans, known much better for his gaffe-packed blooper reels on YouTube than for the actual quality of basketball player he was. With frequent assists from Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool” segment on TNT, and the spread of the “That’s so JaVale!” meme, McGee’s many bizarre, head scratching blunders went viral, and the “knucklehead” label stuck so hard that he’s still trying to shake it off.

But he is in fact making progress, and many around the league – including Shaq – are starting to take notice that there’s more to JaVale than just being the NBA’s court jester.

Which is not to say he’s all the way there yet. He continues to be (more…)

Film Room: Two botched Andre Miller plays cost the Nuggets a win in Boston

A little over two months ago I posted a video piece on Andre Miller’s clutch play that helped seal Denver’s victory against the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 7. With eight points and an assist in just 104 seconds, Miller poured it on in crunch time to lead the Nuggets to a big road win at a time when they were struggling.

Unfortunately, we are back in the Film Room today to visit what essentially was the opposite scenario. In their heartbreaking road loss to the Celtics on Feb. 10, the Nuggets were down just two points with 48 seconds remaining in the game’s third overtime when Miller retrieved the rebound off a missed Kevin Garnett jumper. And as every Nuggets fan not living under a rock is well aware, from there the train rapidly derailed from the tracks.

The Film Room video, followed by analysis of Miller’s play and George Karl’s coaching, is after the jump.

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Film Room: Dribble-drive-motion offense sets up a Nuggets game winner

In this latest Roundball Mining Company Film Room installment, we will take a look at how the Nuggets got Wilson Chandler open for a game-winning 3-pointer running their unconventional offensive system.

Prior to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, the Denver Nuggets hired new assistant coach Vance Walberg, famous in basketball circles for creating what’s known as the dribble-drive-motion offense. He officially joined the staff after having consulted for Denver the previous season. At that time Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post described how Walberge implemented his innovative system: as a high school and college coach: (more…)

JaVale McGee video scouting report: 3 assists, 3 wasted possessions

On New Year’s Day versus the Los Angeles Clippers, JaVale McGee did something which for him was quite remarkable.

And no, this is not about his stunning buzzer beating 3-pointer, though that is certainly what will cement his performance permanently in the collective memory of NBA fandom.

But just as notably, he matched his career high of three assists. He had accomplished this only once before, on Mar. 20, 2011. Thus far this season, McGee has had 20 games with zero dimes, 12 games with just one, and now, a single game with three.

About a month into the 2012-13 season, I did a video scouting report calling for JaVale to make a more concerted effort to pass the ball out of the post rather than forcing so many hasty, contested shots. In this recent game we had a chance to see just how effective McGee can be when looking to share the ball, so it offers a great opportunity to follow up on the topic. (more…)

Andre Miller’s clutch time execution versus the Pacers [VIDEO]

With just under three minutes remaining in yesterday’s game against the Pacers, the Nuggets trailed by three. They had just allowed a 7-0 Indiana run which reversed the lead Denver had held earlier in the quarter, and appeared to be on the verge of yet another fourth quarter collapse.

That’s when Andre Miller decided to take over the game. (more…)

Don’t bogart that ball, McGee – Video scouting report

When JaVale McGee is on the court he uses a big chunk of Denver’s possessions. According to Basketball-Reference.com, among regular rotation players, he has the highest usage rate on the team at 23.9 percent. Despite this, he also has the third lowest assist rate at 3.6 percent. Kosta Koufos has the second lowest, 3.1 percent, and Kenneth Faried the lowest assist rate, 2.0 percent. Naturally, all three of the Nuggets’ main frontcourt players earn their keep around the rim, finishing plays and putting back offensive boards, the big difference between McGee and the other two is that he actually spends a significant amount of time with the ball in his hands.

Compare his usage rate with that of Koufos, lowest among rotation players at 12.4 percent, and Faried, third lowest at 18.6 percent. (A surprising side note here is that Andre Miller is second lowest with a 17.6 percent usage rate that’s very modest considering how much he handles the ball). In short, Kosta and Kenneth should be given a free pass for their low assist rates, because the vast majority of the time, when they get the ball, they’re right there at the rim, and the best thing to do is immediately put it in the basket.

This is not always the case with JaVale, who handles the ball in the post much more than the other two. (more…)

When Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari beat the Denver Nuggets [VIDEO]

Shortly after the big trade last August, we took a look back at a game in which Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller had helped the Philadelphia 76ers defeat the Denver Nuggets. Now it’s time for a similar retrospective of a game from a period when Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari were playing some of the best basketball of their careers: the first half of the 2010-11 season. The date was December 12, 2010, and the New York Knicks beat the Nuggets 129-125 just months before the Carmelo Anthony trade. (more…)

A look at some Denver Nuggets perimeter defense breakdowns [VIDEO]

In a previous post on how Andre Iguodala may bolster the Denver Nuggets perimeter defense, a troubling fact was brought to light: In terms of field goal percentages allowed, in both long range 2-point and 3-point shots the Nuggets were dead last in the league last season. Allowing a long-two field goal percentage of 41.4 and an effective field goal percentage of 57.5 from beyond the arc, there’s really no two ways about it. When it came to defending outside shots, Denver was the bottom of the barrel.

The goal in making this video is to zoom in on the variety of ways in which Denver’s perimeter defense broke down in 2011-12. We should have more analysis on this later, but in the meantime, please feel free to pick these clips apart in the comments. For the time being, the only thing I’d offer as a general, overarching observation is that as I put this video together it became increasingly apparent to me that simply improving communication and decreasing confusion — ie. teaching the young players to develop a better understanding of rotating, recovering, switching, and knowing what to do when they get back in transition — could improve this defense by leaps and bounds. Given this, it may be the case that even more imp;ortant than his individual defensive skills, Andre Iguodala’s ability to quarterback a defense could facilitate a marked improvement in this team.

When the Manimal devoured the Celtics on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012. The Boston Celtics at the Pepsi Center in Denver (with all too many traitorous green jerseys in attendance). The only matchup between the Nuggets and C’s in the lockout shortened season. And Denver jockeying for playoff positioning as the season drew closer to an end.

It was a huge game for the Nuggets. And despite the hype surrounding the St. Patty’s-Boston imagery, the most important symbolism of the game was when George Karl uncharacteristically entrusted a rookie, Kenneth Faried, to close out the final minutes of a closely contested contest.

And the Manimal delivered.  Scoring 18 points on perfect shooting, including five of five from the field and eight of eight from the line, Faried also grabbed 16 rebounds — 6 offensive — with a steal and a block on top. Beyond the stat line, he was the engine that fueled the team’s energy and drive with infectious, relentless effort. And he played a crucial role in earning the Nuggets victory.

When the two Andres defeated the Denver Nuggets [VIDEO]

On March 19, 2008, then Denver Nuggets guard Allen Iverson finally got his first opportunity to return to the place of his NBA roots and face the 76ers in Philadelphia. After having been traded for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two first round picks in December 2006 to join Carmelo Anthony in Denver,  his dramatic homecoming stole the headlines.

The 76ers, however, got the win with the help of their two leading scorers in that game, who combined for 49 points, 18 assists and five steals. Nobody could have known at that time that the duo of Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala had just defeated a team they would find themselves reunited on over four years later. (more…)

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