Data Mining: How Wilson Chandler is (and isn’t) regressing to the mean

As the Nuggets got off to a rocky start to begin the season, it was hoped that help would be on the way in the form of Wilson Chandler when he returned to play after missing their first six games due to a hamstring injury. And while he has made helpful contributions to an extent, he has clearly fallen short of making the impact many Nuggets fans were hoping for.

For starters, his impact on the court versus off has been essentially neutral. Consider, for example, the discrepancy between Chandler and Mozgov in this regard: (more…)

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…)

Scouting Report: Denver Nuggets vs Sacramento Kings

The regular season is upon us, ladies and gentlemen. On Tuesday six teams began their 2013-14 campaigns and the altered roster of the Denver Nuggets will go through their initiation Wednesday evening. The first confrontation of the year will come in the form of the Sacramento Kings.

(more…)

Can Brian Shaw help JaVale McGee transform into a more conventional center?

“The anchor of the defense.” “Conventional.” “A presence in the middle.” “A true center.”

If you dropped these phrases on most NBA fans and asked them who came to mind, it’s a near certainty that none of them would answer, “JaVale McGee.”

And if in turn you surveyed them on how they’d describe McGee, you’d invariably end up with “bonehead,” “goofball” and “Shaqtin’-a-fool” on your short list of most common responses.

New Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw appears to be on a mission to change all that, however. (more…)

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…)

Summer League Recap: Nuggets advance to second round

Playoff atmosphere?

Maybe not, but the intensity on display Wednesday was certainly something different from what we’ve seen in the summer league so far. The Nuggets defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 87-82 in their first “playoff” game in Las Vegas, advancing to the round of 16 in the tournament with their first win in four tries.
(more…)

Summer League Recap: Chicago Bulls 93 Denver Nuggets 81

The Denver Nuggets fell to 0-2 in summer league play Monday night, losing again by double digits while struggling to find their footing on defense.

Inconsistency is the universal given in summer league, and right now the Nuggets look like an inexperienced team facing too much of it from every direction. Progress was on display on the offensive end, where the Nuggets had more success shooting the ball and creating off the dribble, but much of that was negated by their inability to guard the pick and roll or string together more than a couple possessions of mistake-free defense.

Denver’s small army of summer league coaches was active on Tuesday night, getting a lot of one-on-one time with individual players after frequent breakdowns on both ends of the floor. I found myself lamenting how difficult it must be to stay focused while having a gang of grown men yelling at you after every possession, but ultimately that’s what summer league is all about. It’s a format where coaches are going to live with those mistakes and start the process of creating the right kind of habits.

Once again, it was another sloppy game that didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know. Evan Fournier has looked like a bonafide NBA player while everyone else… hasn’t. Luke Harangody’s reckless all-out effort has been fun, but none of Denver’s bigs have looked passable on defense and outside of Evan, none of the guards have managed to stand out yet either.

I got my first chance to speak with players and coaches after the game and here’s a few storylines to keep an eye on heading into the tournament portion of summer league, which starts on Wednesday.

(more…)

Denver Nuggets 2013 Summer League Preview

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.
(more…)

Digging for gold in the 2013 NBA draft

As many of you already know, writing about the NBA draft is one my favorite aspects of covering the Nuggets. And I’m not just a casual fan who watches YouTube clips on a handful of players slated to drop in the Nuggets’ range come June. I really do love the draft. Throughout the entire season I’m listening to podcasts, watching real games (imagine that!) and exercising my free ESPN INsider account to read every single bit of news and information Chad Ford posts about each year’s draft class. I don’t know why, but I’m nearly obsessed with the process. This year I haven’t had time to go as in depth as I would have liked due to the constant barrage of hirings and firings that have taken place within the Nuggets organization over the last month, but I’ll try and get you as up to date as I can on the guys I like.

(more…)

Anthony Randolph busts the zone

There’s been some recent chatter about getting Anthony Randolph more involved in this first round series with Golden State, and for good reason. The agile 7-footer is actually Denver’s fifth-leading scorer in this series with 16 points in just 16 total minutes.

Randolph came on strong towards the end of the season, where he was a great source of paint points and rebounds when Faried went down. His defense, however, is inconsistent at best and Randolph is prone to forcing up bad shots and falling apart on the offensive end. Because JaVale McGee suffers from a lot of the same stuff and neither one of them can pass, it’s tough to bring both off the bench and George Karl has avoided even messing with it for most of the season.

With Golden State switching to guerilla tactics after the David Lee injury, this series is now small ball all the time and Randolph may have found himself a niche role against the Warriors zone defense, which they’ve favored for important stretches of the first two games.

Here are just a few examples of how Randolph has demonstrated his ability to successfully attack the zone.
(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…)

Know Your Opponent: The Golden State Warriors

As the Nuggets get set to battle the Warriors in the first round of the Western Conference finals some Nuggets fans may be trying to get more familiar with the opponent. In an effort to help I put together some quick scouting reports on each player on the Warriors roster, from superstar Stephen Curry to superstar celebrator Kent Bazemore. Each report includes the player’s role, where they are the most dangerous offensively, and a ranking on how much Nuggets fans should be worried about a particular player, where a 1 being someone they can basically ignore up all the way to 5 who they should fear could swing a few games almost single handedly.

(more…)

Is Masai Ujiri eying a Greek freak in the draft?

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?

(more…)

March Madness: Scouting for future Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets are winning games and making a playoff run, but the main draw for basketball attention this month? March Madness. It’s the most exciting tournament in all of sports, where teams come together to form magical runs which result in memorable moments that last a lifetime. But while March Madness is largely a team-oriented event, there’s still a level of individualism on display that appeals to those of us watching with a professional rooting interest in mind, as we’ve got our eyes on players who may one day suite up for work in a powder blue and yellow uniform.

(more…)

Danilo Gallinari leads Italy to Eurobasket 2013

The Italian national team wrapped up a very successful summer with an 83-58 win over Belarus yesterday, concluding Eurobasket qualifying with a perfect 8-0 record. Danilo Gallinari led the way with 16 points and 12 rebounds to cap off an impressive stint with the national team, which won 8 straight games despite lacking Gallo’s fellow NBA talents Andrea Bargnani and Marco Bellinelli.

Eurobasket is FIBA’s bi-annual European championships which will be held in Slovenia for 2013. It’s been dominated by Spain in recent years while the Italians have sort of lingered on the international scene without much success since their silver medal win in the 2004 Olympics.

Gallo played very well on the new-look Italian team under head coach Simone Pianigiani, one of the rising stars on the European coaching scene. Italy was one of the best defensive teams in the tournament despite lacking a traditional post presence and played a very unselfish style on both ends of the court.   (more…)

Next Page »