Summer League recap: Denver Nuggets 76 Chicago Bulls 103

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.

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Report: Mike Miller visiting Nuggets

Veteran free agent Mike Miller will be visiting the Denver Nuggets on Sunday and Monday, according to ESPN Radio 92.9FM in Memphis.

Denver was rumored to have interest in the 34 year-old shooter, but a two-day recruiting pitch seems to confirm that the Nuggets are closing in on a serious bid to sign Miller, possibly to a multi-year contract.

The news is surprising for a number of reasons. First, Denver already has 14 out of the maximum 15 roster spots earmarked for new and returning players. Second, wing depth didn’t appear to be an area of need for the current roster. This led many to speculate Denver would be relatively quiet in free agency, perhaps using the final roster spot on a third point guard and moving forward with the roster as-is.

Miller seems like an odd fit on the surface, but digging a bit deeper reveals how the sharpshooter might fit on a Nuggets team looking to make some noise the Western Conference right away. With some minor tweaks to the roster, Denver could free up the flexibility and positional logjam to make Miller a contributing piece. Here’s a cursory look at the main arguments for and against adding Miller to this current Nuggets squad.
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2014 NBA Draft: Three sleeper picks for the Nuggets

The draft is just two days away, and with it comes the beginning of a new NBA season in earnest. We’ve already covered the basics pretty extensively — with a full roster hopefully returning to health, the Nuggets don’t have a ton of room to add prospects. Bearing that limited (immediate) flexibility in mind, it’s important to zero in on how the Nuggets can best improve with their lottery pick. We’ve already done some detailed analysis of this year’s crop of shooting guards – a strong group in this draft which just happens to line up with Denver’s biggest need.

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Report: Nuggets Have Made Kevin Love Trade Offer

One of the biggest story lines in the NBA recently has been Kevin Love and his reported desire to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves. For a few weeks now the rumors have been centered on a few destinations that supposedly had been front runners in the Love sweepstakes, most noticeably the Boston Celtics.

Well this morning came news that the Nuggets are in fact involved in preliminary Love talks and that they in fact have made an even better offer than the Celtics, according to the Boston Herald. 

The Celtics are willing to discuss a number of options, but none of them includes the quality of player with NBA experience that Minnesota is seeking or believes it can get elsewhere.

One source indicated Denver and Golden State have both made more intriguing offers, and there are other teams very much in the picture, as well. There have been conflicting reports on whether the Warriors would make Klay Thompson available, but the Wolves are said to be confident they can find a more than acceptable deal there.

According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe the Nuggets are actually sitting in a pretty good spot in the sweepstakes right now.

The rumors are interesting but trying to figure out exactly what the Nuggets have that the Wolves would be intrigued by is the hardest part.

Kenneth Faried is Denver’s best “young” asset but he is due a big payday soon and it is unclear if the Wolves would want to give him the money he will command. Danilo Gallinari had been the team’s best asset for a while but after missing over a season with a knee injury there are more questions than anything surrounding Gallo at this point. Wilson Chandler is an ok NBA player but he isn’t one that a rebuilding team would want especially at his contract price. Timofey Mozgov had a breakout year but he is 27 and faded badly in the second half of the season which will give some teams pause. In all reality outside of Ty Lawson every asset the Nuggets have comes with a huge question mark attached.

It seems obvious at this point that the Bulls have the best offer to put together to the Wolves but it remains unclear if they will actually do what it takes to make the move happen which means the Nuggets and Warriors are fully in the running to make a splash.

Stay tuned at RMC for more news as the situation becomes clearer.

Shaw: “I’m happy where I am”

The recently reported rumors that Phil Jackson might try to lure Brian Shaw away from the Nuggets with an offer to coach the Knicks caused a minor stir, and raised the specter of yet another bout of offseason upheaval among the Pepsi Center’s top ranks. But if Shaw himself is to be believed, it appears highly unlikely that he will, in fact,  so quickly abandon his new team. (more…)

Dearth of financial flexibility and open roster spots may result in a quiet Nuggets offseason

Although chaos ruled last summer’s Nuggets offseason, this year it may be defined by calm.

Going into the 2014 offseason, the Nuggets have a roster likely to remain loaded up at or near the 15-player maximum. Of their current 15 contracted players, only two are expiring – Jan Vesely and Aaron Brooks. Another two, Darrell Arthur and Nate Robinson, have player options but have both expressed interest in staying with the Nuggets. And Denver will surely hang onto the only remaining player whose 2014-15 salary is not guaranteed. The coaching staff and front office have highly praised Quincy Miller’s progress this season, and will be looking to continue his development.

So if the Nuggets let Vesely and Brooks walk, they will be entering the offseason with only two open roster spots. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 105 Los Angeles Clippers 117

The Nuggets fell behind early and never led in their penultimate game of the 2013-2014 season, a 12-point loss to the Clippers in LA.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 101 Utah Jazz 94

In a less-than-meaningful game between two lottery-bound teams, bad offense ruled the day. Then, the second half came along and Denver exploded for 67 points, defeating the Jazz for their third straight win.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 102, San Antonio Spurs 133

After a competitive start to the first quarter, the Spurs proceeded to thoroughly dismantle the Nuggets, extending a 19 point halftime lead to a 31 point blowout.

The grades are after the jump. (more…)

Roundball Roundup: Part III – Faried’s blossoming, Arthur’s bombing, and Denver’s pre-preseason

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.

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Winning vs. tanking? Pretty much a moot point now

The Denver Nuggets have the most difficult remaining schedule in the NBA, and arguably the most injury-devastated roster to boot. Taken together, these two tough realities suggest that it will be very difficult for the Nuggets to win many of their remaining games.

But while proponents of tanking might take heart in this likelihood of losing, at the end of the day it almost certainly will hardly matter either way. As has been the case for months, Denver’s best chance for a high draft pick remains with the (increasiningly unlikely) hope that the Knicks will crash and burn down the stretch. And even if the Nuggets lose out, they probably won’t move up more than a single spot in the draft. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 118-Detroit Pistons 109

Thanks to 27 and 16 from Aaron Brooks (I know I’m confused too) the Nuggets used a second half rally following the ejection of Josh Smith to beat the Pistons 118-109. The Nuggets also got contributions from Randy Foye and Kenneth Faried on their way to the victory.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 92, Atlanta Hawks 97

After overcoming their fatigue and coming back from a 21-point deficit and putting themselves in position to win, the Nuggets failed to execute down the stretch and lost a close one to the Hawks. Denver ends up going 2-3 on their five game road trip, which was highlighted by last night’s big win in Miami.

The grades are below the fold. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 111-Miami Heat 107

In the absolute weirdest game the Nuggets have played all year they rode 18 points from Darrell Arthur, 24 from Kenneth Faried and 14 from Evan Fournier to defeat the defending champion Heat 111-107.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 134, Los Angeles Lakers 126

In a high-scoring affair that didn’t feature much defense, the Nuggets ran up the score early on the Lakers and strung together their first consecutive wins in over a month. Kenneth Faried scored a career-high 32 points, and Lawson matched his career high with 17 assists. (more…)

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