Following yesterday’s NBA schedule release, Kalen offered his initial thoughts and observations about what’s on tap for the Nuggets in 2014-15, and in case you missed it I’d recommend checking that out before proceeding. Here I’ll dig a little deeper into the nuts and bolts of the schedule, and break down the numbers regarding road trips, home stands, back-to-backs and the like.
Given that complaining about the schedule has become somewhat of a tradition among NBA fans, I have no doubt that some of our readers will disagree with my take. But having sliced and diced the schedule in various ways, I’d argue that this is just about as reasonable and fair a schedule as any NBA team could ask for. There is nothing comparable in 2014-15 to last year’s Nuggets playing 17 of their first 23 games on the road, for example. There are, of course, tougher and easier stretches of the season, but there’s really nothing excessively brutal or unfair. The schedule stays on a fairly even keel throughout the season. (more…)
The Nuggets found themselves on the other end of a beatdown in their second summer league game, losing by a score of 103-76 to the Chicago Bulls. Former Nugget (for about 10 minutes) Doug McDermott torched Denver for 31 points on 12 shots. Quincy Miller had another big scoring night for the Nuggets, finishing up with 24 points in the loss.
In lieu of the traditional recap or a super-serious analytic take on summer league, here’s a look at the three summer Nuggets we’ll be following closely all tournament, plus a few observations on the rest of the squad.
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Denver has traded Evan Fournier and the 56th pick to Orlando for Aaron Afflalo.
Freedom is an oft-misinterpreted subject. People think they understand what freedom means — they lust for it, obsessively idealize it, even kill over it — yet when faced with unbridled liberty people often become engines of irresponsibility, abuse their privileges and go absolutely bonkers on their fellow man. This, unfortunately, is what has happened in the comments section of Roundball Mining Company as of late. It’s sad, really. I always liked the idea of giving readers as much freedom as possible to say what they want about players, coaches, executives and owners. Perhaps it was stubborn of me to think that was a sustainable policy. Or perhaps I was simply too lenient for far too long a time. Either way, something had to give — which it did — and now we’ve implemented a new commenting policy here at RMC, which you can find in the “About” section of our blog. In summary, if you’re found to have abused your privileges as a commentor on our website, we’ll send you a polite e-mail asking you to tone it down. We will also add you to our “blacklist” which will serve as a reminder for those who’ve been found guilty of breaching our commenting terms. If you then violate our policy for a second time, you will be disallowed from commenting at RMC in the future. Simple as that. Thanks for your time. And as always, thanks for reading (and commenting like a civil human being).
Denver got shoved into the grind house by Memphis once again like Steve Buscemi in a wood-chipper. Grades will be up shortly.
The Nuggets have had to deal with the disheartening reality that they’ve not been a playoff team this year for the better part of the last couple months. While we tend to not think of them as such, NBA players and coaches are professionals whose job is essentially to attempt to get into the playoffs and beyond. Even the worse of teams go into the season with this goal (or at least the illusion of this goal)* and when its attainability is mathematically eradicated, lethargy sets in.
*Everyone except for the Sixers this year, who made no attempt to disguise their intent. Which is probably the biggest reason why tanking has all of a sudden become such a big talking point this season.
Players are still playing for job security, future earnings, and pride but, for about half the league, this is the time of the season where the learning curve tapers off. These teams are who they are this year. Brian Shaw and the Nuggets understand this so, in an attempt to make use of the otherwise meaningless games left on the schedule, they’ve turned these few weeks into an experiment. Might as well start asking questions and seeing what turns up.
Faried’s blossoming post game:
Matt had a great write-up on Faried’s improvements but I thought it was worth reiterating it a bit here. Faried began the year a player adrift. The GM who coveted him when so many others had passed and the coach whose up and down offensive style seemed designed to maximize his athletic ability while minimizing his half court deficiencies were both gone. Trade rumors swirled around him and Brian Shaw seemed dead set on forcing him to go to work on offense with his back to the basket. Faried’s subsequent failures started costing him minutes.
And yet, something weird happened. Despite what seemed like irrevocable differences between play style and offensive capability between player and coach, Faried did the thing that Brian Shaw was always purported to be able to do to players, one of the core reasons he was hired. Faried got better.
A thoroughly entertaining Sunday afternoon game ends with a solid, albeit unnecessarily dragged out, Nuggets win.
Denver gets a hard-fought win.
Ty’s back! And that was a legitimately fun game, so there’s something.
Messes, such as the one in Denver right now, are not wrought solely by poor decisions or by poor luck but by an ugly amalgam of the two. You don’t just need a roster ill-fit to play under its rookie head coach, you need the talent on that roster to be decimated by injury. You don’t just need a team in the latter stages of an identity crisis, you need a first year head coach still in the midsts of his own. This is how bad teams become terrible, how a roster full of youthful athleticism wanes into exasperating lethargy.
Kind of a perfect loss, if one such exists. Denver showed the heart and effort that’s been sorely lacking the last few games and they kept their tank train going at full speed. Everybody wins! Grades will be up soon
Andre Miller has always been polarizing in his own unique way, he’s dichotomy personified. His favorable perception around the league, fed by a grouchy likability, stood in stark contrast to Nuggets fans constant exasperation with the veteran. To the layman, Miller is a fun, lob-throwing anecdote. To the basketball junkie he’s the embodiment of “old man” game, lauded for an evergreen post game imbued with doctoral ingenuity and a grumpy personality that old age tends to make endearing. But to the Nuggets fan, Dre was the point guard who perpetually took the ball out of Ty Lawson’s hands, never gave a damn on defense, and highjacked the offense for possessions on end whenever he felt like it. It didn’t help that the amount of slack on George Karl’s leash around him could’ve tied a bow around the globe.
The amount of control a coach has on defensive possessions is finite. He can scheme and plan to his heart’s desire, but in the end, the duty of execution rests on the players. The key to such precise execution, and therefore positioning, is communication.
“The veteran teams that you see, like Miami and Boston with KG, they emphasized talking a lot,” Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur said. “It’s all about communication out there.”
Arthur is the second unit, at times even the first unit’s coxswain.