There was muted celebration in the building following the Denver Nuggets’ franchise record 55th win against the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday, enough to cast a subtle gloom over the history being witnessed by a Pepsi Center crowd of Nuggets faithful.
Considering the circumstances, it’s easy to understand why. Denver lost another starter to injury but ultimately escaped a must-win game, bringing the season-long goal of the third-seed tantalizingly close but still barely out of reach. Like an audience trapped in suspended disbelief at a good movie, Nuggets fans are eagerly awaiting the final twists and turns that set up the climactic moment they’ve all been waiting for.
Until that plays out and we see these Nuggets tested in the sacred arena of the NBA playoffs, any judgments about this team’s place in franchise history seem premature. The true gravity of becoming the Nuggets’ winningest team ever may not be felt until then, but the very fact we’ve arrived here in the midst of a bigger goal is an opportunity to reflect on the process behind what is now a historic achievement.
Last week Chris Sheridan broke the news that Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri had recently made a trip overseas to scout one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. His name is Giannis Adetokunbo. He’s 6-9. He’s freakishly athletic. And he regularly plays point guard for his team in Greece. Did I mention he’s a 6-9 freak who regularly plays point guard?
As was suspected from the beginning, Gallinari will miss the remained of the season with a torn ACL, according to the official Denver Nuggets website. Most ACL injuries require about a year for recovery so Nuggets fans should get used to not having Gallo around. We’ll have much more detailed analysis on this subject over the weekend, so stay tuned.
Chris Tomasson, former Nuggets beat writer for the Rocky Mountain News now with Fox Sports, is reporting that Andre Iguodala is leaning towards opting out of his contract this summer, forgoing the roughly $16 million remaining on his final year in favor of a longer term deal which offers more security.
Tomasson also reports that it’s not a sure thing Iguodala will remain in Denver: (more…)
Andre Iguodala faces a big decision this summer which will have massive implications for the Denver Nuggets.
He can choose to complete the final year of his contract next season at the hefty salary of $16.2 million. Alternately, he can exercise his early termination option (ETO), becoming an unrestricted free agent and either working out a longer-term deal with the Nuggets or signing elsewhere. (more…)
Ty Lawson has been on a tear in 2013, playing at an All-Star caliber level, and recently leading his team through a difficult stretch in which leading scorer Danilo Gallinari has been suffering from a thigh injury. So it is fantastic to Lawson him get some well deserved official recognition from the league.
Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday Feb. 25 through Sunday March 3, the NBA announced today.
Lawson averaged 21.0 points, 7.0 assists and 1.67 steals while helping the Nuggets to a perfect 3-0 record as they make a push for home-court advantage in the postseason.
His week was an extension of his play since Jan. 13; he is averaging 20.8 points, 7.5 assists and 1.64 steals in 22 games during that stretch.
Read the entire article at Nuggets.com here.
Les Shapiro and Tom Nalen of ESPN Denver 102.3 & 105.5 FM (check their audio archive here and find them on Twitter here) had a great interview with Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri after Denver chose to stand pat at the NBA trade deadline. Below are some key takeaways from the interview, but you should definitely also listen to it in its entirety here.
Masai Ujiri, on why the Nuggets didn’t make any moves: (more…)
Leading up to Thursday’s 1 p.m. (MST) trade deadline, not all is quiet on the Nuggets front. While it’s certainly wise to take Adrian Wojnarowski at his word when he recently said the Nuggets would stand pat at the deadline (I mean, really, when was the last time this guy was wrong about a trade rumor?), it’s equally unwise to support the notion that the Nuggets won’t even consider a minor move, especially given how much Timofey Mozgov’s name has been thrown about lately. Whatever the case may be, rumors will remain rumors and we’d all be lying through our teeth if we said we don’t eat them up with a voracious appetite. So, to satisfy your trade-rumor cravings, here is a short list of what people are talking about right now.
ESPN Stats and info wrote up a small preview post for the Nuggets vs. Celtics clash tonight and in it was some interesting, and honestly for the Nuggets and their fans, frightening information.
“Since 2000-01, the Nuggets have won nearly 68 percent of their home games but only 38 percent of their road games. No team has seen a higher increase in winning percentage from road to home games than the Nuggets.”
We all know that the Nuggets are better at home than on the road but that drop off in winning percentage is staggering, and is the reason that it is hard to see the Nuggets advancing much farther than into the second round this year. Without a top 2 seed the Nuggets won’t have home court advantage in the second round of the playoffs, and realistically looking at the schedule it seems impossible that they catch the Thunder or Spurs for that second seed. That means a team that only wins 38 percent of the time they play on the road would have to win a game, or more likely multiple games on the road to move on to the Western Conference finals. Now take into account that the 38 percent number includes games against the worst team in the league that the playoffs won’t, and things become even bleaker.
On the bright side the problems with this year’s team seems fixable. As the post says the Nuggets offensive and defensive efficiency are both much better at home than on the road, about 7 points better offensively and 6 points better defensively. The offensive drop makes sense. The Nuggets don’t shoot the ball well from the outside, and at an unfamiliar arena with travel the night before a team’s shooting can take a hit; that just happens. Defensively things can partially be explained by teams coming into Denver and struggling with the altitude and shooting but a 6 point difference is an awful lot, and has to at least partially come down to some effort. With the way the Nuggets have defended at times this year the fix seems there, but it is easier said than done. Bring more defensive intensity.
In the end how far the Nuggets will go is all dependent on how they play on the road and judging by recent history that doesn’t bode well for them. But unlike some years in the past where the team relied more on offensive firepower to carry them through struggles, this Nuggets team has a chance to change some of those problems around with a greater defensive intensity. What they choose to do will determine their success.
We are very pleased to announce that Roundball Mining Company has just launched our brand new Facebook page, which you can find right here.
We are really looking forward to expanding to Facebook, so that Nuggets fans who use it will now have another way to access our content. But beyond that, we are even more excited about the opportunities this will create for a richer, more interactive experience for RMC readers and contributors alike. (more…)