The NBA season is really just a string of smaller ones, held together by a unifying narrative we superimpose over all 82-games for the sake of coherence. It’s how we give meaning to the ultimate inconsequence of a mid-January game: What can we use in this one game to help fuel the overriding story of the season? It’s a practice that, despite being arguably irrelevant, helps both the fans and media talk about the regular season while playing the waiting game until the playoffs, when things start really mattering again. When a team plays harmoniously with what their narrative would dictate, even if that means getting blown out because they’re a tanking team, it becomes much easier to contextualize and, thus, far more comforting.
But sometimes there’s a team whose season is as tough to pin down as a water drop with a thumbtack. Every stab succeeds only in warping its shape.
I was going to try and write something tonight, but I’ve decided not to. I’ve decided Grantland’s Zach Lowe has written an article that is probably a lot better than any I would have composed. So, if I were you, I’d read it — if you haven’t already. And if you have, perhaps you’d like to read it again. Lowe extracts some great quotes from different Nuggets’ sources and does an exceptional job of summarizing where the Nuggets are in their development under Brian Shaw and where they’re trying to go in the future with Tim Connelly as GM. So read it. Do it. Now.
I can’t lie. I’ve thought about writing this article for years. Years. After each futile, heartless, disappointing exit in the first round of the playoffs, I was so ready to write this article that I couldn’t sleep. This year was no different. This year I wanted it just as bad as I have for the last several years. And yet, here it is, less than a week since Karl was let go, and I’m not sure I even want to write it anymore.
“By the end of the 2003 baseball season I had learned something from publishing Moneyball. I learned that if you look long enough for an argument against reason you will find it.” — Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
The 2012 NBA Draft went like a lot of people thought it wouldn’t. With their first selection the Nuggets took a European player on virtually nobody’s radar and with their second selection they took someone high on everyone’s radar… the first-round radar, that is. Immediately following the Draft there was, for the most part, a negative and visceral outburst by fans (and columnists) in reaction to the surprise selection, and while the visceral part is understandable, the negative deserves some perspective.