In a game Denver lead by as much as 21 points, the Nuggets succumbed to the perpetuating issues that have plagued the team all season.
Defensive systems in the NBA are predicated on rules, when and who to help off of, what type of pick and roll to switch on, where on the floor to direct this point guard, where on the floor to direct that wing, ect. Denver’s defense (currently 12th in the league in defensive efficiency and sixth overall in opponents points per possession) is starting to round into a more principled form following the stutters, stops, and fixes that defined the early part of the season. A specific mandate that is becoming more and more clear by the game, is when and how the Nuggets will switch on a pick and roll.
Winning in the NBA isn’t an easy task. Even games against bad teams can swing on a single play, a made jumper or bad bounce on a deflection that leads to a run out.
So continuously getting off to bad starts is something that teams should want to avoid. Unfortunately for the Nuggets in the past nine games that isn’t something they have been avoiding, thanks to a porous defense that allows just about everyone to blitz them to start games.
Against the Jazz, a team that is getting better but is still bad, the Nuggets gave up 18 points in the first 4:33 of the game. Brian Shaw hinted after that game that he had thoughts about changing the starting lineup to halt those early game problems, but in the two games following that contest the starters have stayed the same and in both games Denver trailed after a quarter because they allowed their opponents to get off to hot offensive starts.
It is time for Shaw to make the change. Luckily for him there are two good options to do so.
In a rather subdued edition of #THUNDERNUGGETS Oklahoma City displayed their superiority in a game that was sloppily played throughout. Every run had an answer and despite spirited play, Denver couldn’t help but fall in the face of overwhelming talent.
Nate Robinson languishes in a chair he made seem a throne following Denver’s win over the Pelicans Sunday night, an icepack perched appeasingly on a single knee, as he surveys the locker room before him with a discerning eye. As the media shuffles their way into the middle of the room, Robinson decides that music is required and soon Chris Brown is heard trumpeted over the speakers as Robinson sings over the lyrics with Denver Nuggets-themed mad libs. In a flash he is out and about, cavorting around his hemisphere of the locker room, putting on a show for all those who cared to look. He teases Faried, barks at Jordan Hamilton, and tries to get Mozgov to dance.
“If they had a category for energy level,” Robinson said confidently. “I’d have the best energy level in the league.”
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…)
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.