Mid-way through the 2011-12 season, Masai Ujiri decided to take a risk. In return for the ever-steady Nene, Ujiri and the Nuggets would get to inherent all the problems and promise of the raw yet gifted JaVale McGee. The initial risk morphed into a long-term investment in the form of a 4 year, $44 million deal that banked on McGee’s enormous pool of untapped talent to make it a worthwhile endeavor by the time the contract reached its back-end. Big men take awhile to develop, after all, and what’s a few years of limited production if the ultimate gain is an elite big man?
And yet, ironies of ironies, as Ujiri is off cavorting in Toronto and McGee is bench-ridden with injury, it is another raw big man who’s reaped the rewards of quiet development. It’s the forgotten cog that – at the time – almost laughably derailed the Melo trade, who has risen up this season to champion hope for the future.
The Nuggets went into Sleep Train Arena the night after knocking off the NBA best Indiana Pacers and took advantage of a few key Sacramento injuries to defeat the Kings 125-117.
Ty Lawson led six Denver players with double digit points with 27 points while Nate Robinson contributed 12 points and eight assists to lead the bench.
Grades are after the jump.
Denver had absolutely no answer for LaMarcus Aldridge who scored 44 points, including the last 15 for Portland, while Ty Lawson was scoreless in the second half and the Nuggets blew a 15 point second half lead to fall in Portland 110-105.
Denver now moves to 20-21 on the season with a game looming against the NBA best Indiana Pacers on Saturday in Denver. So expect them to win that game because nothing this team does makes any sense. Game to game or half to half.
Grades are after the jump.
Denver fell behind 8-0 to start the game and never was able recover as they fell to a struggling Suns team in Phoenix by double digits 117-103.
Denver stayed hot and destroyed a decimated Orlando Magic team playing the second game of a back to back 120-94. The game was never all that close as Denver got up double digits in the first quarter and built on that lead as the game went on. Everyone did a bit of everything in a game that included a Timofey Mozgov poster dunk, a Randy Foye transition block, a big Kenneth Faried steal and slam and the Nuggets setting a franchise record by hitting 12 threes for the fourth straight game.
The Nuggets got up big early, extended the lead to huge in the middle and coasted late on their way to an absolute destruction of the Celtics tonight in Denver.
In a recent Denver Post article written by Benjamin Hochman and Patrick Saunders, Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw offers his two cents on the future of marijuana legalization and how it may affect athletes. Shaw doesn’t go too in depth, but any time you can get a professional sports coach to opine about, well, “pine,” I’m all ears. The real juicy quotes, however, come in the lead paragraph when former Nuggets executive Rex Chapman reveals one of his players was actually too high to function during a playoff game in 2010. Yes, you read that correctly: stoned out of his mind… in the playoffs. In other news, at least we finally understand why Karl could never make it out of the first round. So there’s that.
Unfortunately, no one at RMC was able to catch the whole game tonight thanks to a few holiday season related things so there won’t be full grades, just some thoughts and observations based on the final quarter plus that I was able to see. Feel free to leave any thoughts below.
Like many Americans, the Denver Nuggets have a lot of crap wrong with them. And like many Americans, the Denver Nuggets will make a conscious effort to resolve their nagging issues in the coming week. On Friday the Nuggets will play the New Orleans
Hornets (insert owner’s wife’s favorite animal) Pelicans to put them just over one third of the way through the 2013-14 NBA season. After dropping five of their last six games, and coming off three full days of rest, the Nuggets should be more than ready to turn over a new leaf — even if January 1 is still a few days away. And though the Nuggets have a plethora of problems to be addressed, here are five of most imperative heading into Friday’s game…
When the Nuggets brought Randy Foye on board last offseason as part of the Andre Iguodala sign-and-trade, the reasoning was clear: They needed shooters, and he was a shooter.
Unfortunately, we now must, at least for the time being, say “he was a shooter” strictly in the past tense, because any remnants of the consistent and reliable 3-point shooter who played with Utah last season have long disappeared.
The extent to which Foye has dropped off in December is as damaging to Denver’s offense as it is inexplicable: (more…)
The Nuggets came out lethargic in the first quarter, made a comeback in the second quarter, pulled ahead in the third quarter, then completely crashed and burned in the fourth quarter to lose the game. So, pretty much the same thing they’ve been doing for the past two weeks. More analysis inside…
The Nuggets shot poorly all night, and forgot to defend the three point line, on the way to a big loss to the Clippers on a back to back.
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.
Denver bounced back from the tough loss to Utah on Friday to defeat a tough New Orleans Pelicans team 102-93, thanks to solid efforts from a lot of different places including Nate Robinson, Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler. Please post your thoughts on the game while the grades are prepared (after David finishes up in the locker room.)