The Denver Nuggets will kick off summer league action on Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, marking their ninth straight year of summer competition in Las Vegas. Interestingly enough, the Nuggets are the winningest franchise in summer league history with a cumulative 24-15 record since the Las Vegas league’s inception in 2004.
Of course part of the magic of summer league is the inescapable truth that records don’t matter. The NBA may be trying to change that with the introduction of a tournament format this year (more on that later), but by and large summer league exists solely as an evaluation tool and a training ground for rookies, fringe NBA talents, and assistant coaches.
This season, the Nuggets are bringing a guard-heavy 16-man roster to the table, with important opportunities up for grabs among several young players with real chances to not only make the roster, but possibly get in line for actual minutes in the upcoming season. Denver is only bringing in five players with NBA experience, but three of those (Miller, Hamilton, and Fournier) are returning from last year’s team and essentially guaranteed roster spots next season. Add in second round pick Erick Green, who is also a virtual lock to be signed, and that means this squad will feature at least four players who will definitely be on the 2013-2014 roster.
Newly-retained assistant Melvin Hunt will coach the team, which will start out with three exhibition games before beginning seeded tournament play on Wednesday. Each team is guaranteed to play at least five games and as many as eight for the two teams that reach the championship round.
Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of everyone on the roster and what to watch for when summer league action tips on Saturday night.
Friday evening it was announced that Andre Iguodala would be turning down a bigger contract offer from the Denver Nuggets and would instead sign with the team that put an end to Denver’s 2012-13 campaign. What now lies ahead for the reformed front-office of the Nuggets is a whole lot of uncertainty.
Some anti-Dre Nuggets fans seem to think Denver will be just fine without Iguodala and that replacing him will be a simple task, citing Iggy’s poor shooting as a major detriment to the team. While Iguodala might not be a good shooter, make no mistake, finding someone who can fill his shoes will be no picnic.
When the Nuggets traded Kosta Koufos on draft night it clearly signaled that they felt it was time to turn over the starting job to JaVale McGee.
But it also signaled something else, a belief that they have and one that in the end may come back to hurt them.
It signaled that they, like plenty of other teams see potential more in physical gifts than in mental ones.
The Nuggets announced the hiring of Ben Tenzer as director of team operations on Friday, a move that signifies the first management shakeup under new GM Tim Connelly and one more step in a complete tear-down of the front office responsible for the 2012-2013 executive of the year award.
As I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline on Wednesday afternoon one tweet caught my eye.
It was different from the normal NBA Finals analysis that has filled that space lately and something that many people probably saw and blew right by.
That tweet is below:
Spoke to Stu Jackson about competition committee recs. among them: proposed new ban on offensive players standing out of bounds
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 12, 2013
If you’re a chocolate enthusiast you’ve probably experienced the irritating stains the delectable dainty can often leave behind. I’m sure most people have one or two white shirts in the wardrobe with subtle traces of the brown substance imprinted onto the fabric, which refuse to vanish no matter how many times they’ve been washed. In the NBA, general managers come and go, but their errors often linger even when they are long gone. Thus the pressure on a GM is excruciating, as one careless decision can set a team back for years to come, and even if they end up losing their job, a stain of their tenure often remains as a constant reminder of their regime. (more…)
As many of you are probably already aware, Roundball Mining Company has a new commenting system. It’s called Disqus. It’s shiny and new and awesome and really easy to use. But some of you are clearly intimated. Please don’t be. All it takes is about a minute to create an account and you’re up and running. Nobody here is asking you to create an extensive profile that rivals Facebook. We really don’t want to know anything about you, other than your thoughts on the Nuggets. If you want, you can continue to comment as a guest. We understand that many of you appreciated the old commenting system for it’s anonymity; however, we also believe in community, differing opinions and reputation. Disqus makes it much easier to recognize those who consistently bring valuable input to the table, while simultaneously preventing spam and trolls from polluting our comments section with unwanted crud. It’s a win-win situation, really. So please, if you haven’t already, register and continue providing us with the unrivaled, knowledgeable, intelligent commentary you’ve given us over the last few years. Without it, we really have no idea what or how we’re doing. Thanks.
Do you play basketball? Live in Denver? Want to contribute to a good cause dedicated to bringing basketball to those less-fortunate?
Our friend Brian Smith is organizing a 24-hour hoops marathon for the Hoop Dream, an organization dedicated to teaching basketball and building courts in Africa. The event will run for 24 hours starting this Friday, May 31st at 5pm through Saturday June 1st.
Check out the details below. You can use the map we’ve embedded to find directions.
As the 2012-2013 NBA calendar winds down we take a look at the season that was for the Denver Nuggets, starting with an overview of the offense.
The Nuggets finished with the fifth-best offense of the 2012-2013 season in terms of offensive efficiency. It was a record setting year with Denver securing a franchise-best 57 wins and the most points in the paint scored in a season in NBA history. Denver has now had a top five offense for five years in a row, but their fall to fifth represents a decline from last year’s third-ranked team and the league-leading Nuggets offense of two seasons ago.
If we dig a bit deeper we see the effects of horrendous shooting from the perimeter and the free-throw line reflected in the Nuggets True Shooting percentage, which fell all the way to 54.9% this season. While that is a solid figure good for 7th in the NBA, it’s also the Nuggets worst mark since the 2006-2007 season and rather pedestrian compared to what they did with similar talent in years past.
The Nuggets were still the Nuggets this season, but the offense clearly took a step back despite everyone’s best efforts to reorganize as a sturdier defensive unit under Iguodala (and the defense did improve). Denver scored enough points to win most games but it was on the offensive end where the Nuggets saw most of their flaws exposed, both with the roster and the style of play.
It’s pretty remarkable that a team with no shooters and inexperienced, unskilled big men still managed a top five offense and 57 wins. Looking at the numbers it’s clear the Nuggets had a plan to maximize what they do best and executing that consistently covered up many individual flaws. I took a look at what else can be gleamed from the Nuggets offensive numbers this past season and here are five revelations, if you will, as we wait to see how the Nuggets try to improve in the draft, free agency and beyond.
As I sat trying to formulate a clever way to say the words “thank you” I had quite the epiphany: Saying “thank you” isn’t something that should be hard. The average person probably says “thank you” more than five times per day. It’s not something you think about. You just say it.
The greatest regular season in Denver Nuggets history deserved a better ending.
No one expected a return to the postseason irrelevance of Karl’s previous Nuggets teams, who frequently battled near impossible odds against heavily favored contenders on the road. This team was different. They were the favorites, having built a 57-win three-seed around a young core just one year removed from taking the Lakers to 7 games.
So what happened?
As George Karl was forced to make adjustments to counteract Stephen Curry and the Warriors new small ball lineup in the series, two main thoughts started to pop up. First let Curry get his points and limit his teammates and second play a big lineup, like Denver has done all season long with two traditional bigs instead of Wilson Chandler at the power forward spot.
Unfortunately for the Nuggets, despite a victory in Game 5, doing those things may not be possible together. One of the important parts of the Nuggets playing with two bigs is Kenneth Faried playing Harrison Barnes on the defensive end. But Faried has struggled a bit in that role as his unfamiliarity of defensive rotations has allowed Barnes to get a lot of open shot attempts, some he has knocked down and some he hasn’t. The following are four examples of the problems Faried has had, three makes and a miss, from Game 5 when Barnes had 23 points.
As we speak the Nuggets are currently in third place in the Western Conference standings. But both the Clippers and Grizzlies are right on their heels. As Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post recently pointed out on Twitter, if the Nuggets win against the Suns tonight then the three seed is all theirs. There are all sorts of different playoff match-up possibilities still up in the air at this point, so please feel free to use this post as a thread to discuss these scenarios. And as always, thanks for continuing to support Roundball Mining Company.
JaVale McGee has had an up and down season. He often has up and down games. Almost every time he steps on the floor McGee does amazing things followed by lackluster mental lapses. Sometimes players like McGee — who’s play on the floor fluctuates so wildly and frustrates his coaches — make bad decisions off the floor as well. But McGee is not that type of guy. (more…)
Staking a Claim is a new column that will be taking a look at all things Nuggets through the eyes of an outsider. As those who follow me on Twitter know I am a Bucks fan, so it will give Nuggets fans an opportunity to see things through the eyes of someone who follows the team closely but isn’t necessarily a fan. Please leave any subjects that you would like to see addressed in the future in the comments below or send them to me on Twitter @Matt_Cianfrone.
As the Nuggets have caught fire recently on their way to winning 13 straight games things have finally come together in the frontcourt, as all five of the main minutes getters at the center and power forward spots have taken turns playing well.
This week I wanted to take a look at that front court rotation and talk about a couple things I like and don’t like in that rotation.