Following another really solid road win, Denver finds itself 8-6 on the season and now 8-3 since the doom-and-gloom of the 0-3 start to the season.
I went in depth about how Lawson’s game has evolved last week but it’s worth reiterating how good he’s been. It’s difficult finding five point guards playing better then him right now, and his three-point shooting is only just now starting to come back around. In fact, Lawson is one of only two players this season to combine prolific shooting with his amount of passing in the league. I’d say he’s in pretty good company when it comes to point guard play. Combine that with his seeming invisibility once he beats his man off the dribble, and you have a good idea why he has the 11th best PER in the league.
Through the first 11 games of the Nuggets season the impact that each newcomer has brought has started to become very clear.
JJ Hickson stinks at defense but has done a good job on the glass and thrown down a few poster dunks. Nate Robinson shoots a lot, at times shooting Denver back into games and at time shooting them right out. Randy Foye shoots and makes threes and doesn’t do a ton else, either good or bad.
And Darrell Arthur plays good pick-and-roll defense, and compared to the rest of the power forwards on the Nuggets roster, really good defense in general.
So far this season the Nuggets defense is 6.8 points per 100 possessions better with Arthur on the floor, as they give up just 102.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor compared to 109.3 with him on the bench according to 82games.com
Kenneth Faried turns 24 today, and in celebration of the Manimal’s birthday Roundball Mining Company is proud to announce our first giveaway contest on Twitter. Thanks to adidas Basketball and Dick’s Sporting Goods, we are giving two lucky readers a chance to win an adidas Crazy Ghost signed by Kenneth Faried.
While Faried finds himself the subject of trade rumors after a rocky start to the season, he remains one of the most energetic and exciting power forwards in the NBA. As Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post noted early this season, Faried has also turned himself into one of the most marketable young talents in the league. The Manimal will star in Disney’s “Pranksgiving” television show this month and he is a featured athlete for adidas, which just launched the new Crazy Ghost shoe in a special Faried Nuggets colorway.
Courtesy of Dick’s Sporting Goods and adidas Basketball, we are giving away TWO Crazy Ghosts signed by Kenneth Faried. There are three simple steps to entering:
1) Have a valid USA mailing address (apologies to our international readers)
2) Retweet the following tweet and follow @RoundballMining, @adidasHoops and @DICKS
— Roundball Mining Co. (@RoundballMining) November 20, 2013
3) Leave a comment below about Kenneth Faried, followed by your Twitter handle. Anything goes – your best memory of Faried as a Nugget or your worst.
Voting will run until 9:00PM MST Sunday, November 24th. Two winners will be chosen at random from the Twitter handles left in the comments here. We will contact the winners on Twitter after the voting closes Sunday night.
Happy birthday to the Manimal! Here’s to many more in the blue and yellow! – @Nuggetsfan35
Crazy Ghost features the Crazyquick outsole traction system – adidas’ latest performance innovation – to provide maximum control and flexibility for quick moves on the court. The redesigned three-layer SPRINTWEB reduces weight and enhances breathability while an internal fit system provides optimal foot lock-down during cuts and breakaways. The herringbone print on the collar and the anodized synthetic on the toe contrast for a stylized look.
The Crazy Ghost takes the court this season with Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Jrue Holiday (New Orleans Pelicans) and Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
In the waning moments of an impressive first quarter in Minnesota, Ty Lawson casually brought the ball up the court as a ready Ricky Rubio, one of the best point guard defenders in the league, stood the lone obstacle between Lawson and the rim. After a one dribble crossover that left Rubio’s legs crisscrossed above the free throw line, Lawson had breached the paint before any Wolves defender had time to register the immanent threat to the basket.
The second a rotating Kevin Love had his foot planted in the restricted area, Lawson was in the air, his hand underneath the ball just long enough for Love’s momentum to carry him out of the passing lane, before a casual, mid-air flip to a cutting Mozgov put the ball in the 7-foot Russian’s hands before Lawson’s feet even had time to hit the hardwood.
The play was over as quick as it began, a bang-bang sequence that would’ve been shocking in its blinding display of skill and brevity if not for the fact that some varying form of that Lawson drive had not already victimized the Wolves just two possessions prior. The fact is that drive, the ease in which it was executed, and the results it produced, has become a staple of Lawson’s game, a weapon teams don’t seem to have an answer for.
Well, it was a fun game with a boring and, ultimately, painful ending. Or as I like to call it, just another typical #THUNDERNUGGETS game.
Going into the season, we were all mentally prepared for how bad the defense was going to be, especially when factoring in the absence of Denver’s two best wing defenders. But what has occurred over the span of these four games has been an organization-wide breakdown on a fundamental level when it comes to defense, from system to effort to the makeup of the roster. We’ve already covered the big man dilemma as well as the inability to defend the three, now it’s time to dig into the high pick and roll defense.
The basics of Denver’s pick and roll defensive principles is essentially for the traditional centers, McGee and Mozgov, to drop back to around the free throw line when defending a screener and for everyone else (essentially anyone guarding the screener) to hedge high. The theory behind hedging is basically for the defending big is to impede the ball handlers path around the screen enough so to give the ball handlers’ defender enough time to navigate the screen. Considering the kinds of athletes Denver employes at the forward positions, and the diminutive nature of the backcourt, this kind of help and recover system should, in theory, work out well. In theory.
Denver had control of the game for three quarters and just let go of the rope in the fourth. The offense stalled in the half court (hey, that sounds familiar) and the defense that was bending all game finally snapped. In the slog that is going to be this first month and a half of this season, there was progress made here but ultimately this game serves as yet another sign that there is a ton of work to be done on every aspect of this team.
In what surely had to be one of the more disappointing season openers in recent memory, the Nuggets put forth a confused and defensively-bereft effort Friday night as they succumbed to the Blazers in ugly fashion. Point guards Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson each scored over 20, while Brian Shaw once again juggled with an 11-man rotation that failed to produce any form of cohesion. Additional grades and notes below.
Thanks to an unstoppable night from DeMarcus Cousins and a late Ty Lawson miss, the Nuggets dropped their 2013-2014 season opener 90-88 to the Sacramento Kings.
Well after much deliberation during preseason, Brian Shaw has finally announced the starting five that will take the court Wednesday in Sacromento. And boy, it’s a doozie.
If Lawson plays, Shaw says he will start, along with Randy Foye, JJ Hickson, Anthony Randolph and JaVale McGee. #Nuggets
— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) October 29, 2013
Wilson Chandler’s absence was somewhat expected, due to his reported hamstring injury, but his replacement came as a minor surprise. While Randolph got a lot of run in the preseason it hardly seemed feasible he would contribute any more than he did last year, mostly as a garbage time player who might play some meaningful minutes in emergency stopgap situations.
Why do we watch? Why do we invest so much in something that so rarely rewards us with anything tangible, especially when the toll is so emotionally draining? Sports, by their very design, traffics on competitiveness, on the need to win. And yet the system is cruelly rigged to reward but one team out of thirty, leaving 97 percent of fans cold at the end of every season.
Even worse, the NBA is – again by design – a top-heavy league and as fans with neck-braces from perpetual star-gazing can attest, the bottom is a much more familiar place to most. So why care, why even pay attention? On the precipice of a new season, the question must be asked, and answered, anew.
The new look Nuggets got a chance to show off for the first time in front of their home crowd and for the most part they looked good doing it.
First the good:
Every year around this time ESPN introduces its annual #NBArank series codifying all 500 players in the NBA from least to most valuable. Last year Roundball Mining Company decided to get in on the action and began ranking each of the players on the Denver Nuggets’ final 15-man roster in the same fashion. We’ve polled all seven of our writers, asking them to arrange each player on the Nuggets roster from one to 15 (one being the best, 15 the least valuable), then we added everyone’s scores together to come up with a single, definitive list of the 15 “most valuable” Denver Nuggets. Kenneth Faried comes in at No. 4, maintaining his ranking from last year. (more…)