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.
[Note: Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Rapid Reaction generator working, so a regular, old-fashioned recap follows the jump.]
The Denver Nuggets came out strong, building a 19-point halftime lead, then weathered Indiana’s third quarter scoring barrage to hang on for one of their biggest wins of the season.
In facing a powerhouse with the best record in the NBA, their hopes were at least partly pinned on the fact that the Pacers were on the second night of a back-to-back, having gone into overtime against the Kings in a game that saw their starters average 40.6 minutes.
Denver took full advantage of this opportunity right out of the gate, bursting onto the court with defensive energy that was fueling forced turnovers and fast breaks. (more…)
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.
In a season of ups and downs for the Nuggets, Tuesday afternoon brought with it another stomach punching loss. Adrian Wojnarowski has just reported that Gallo has undergone reconstructive knee surgery and will be out for the 2013-2014 season.
Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari had reconstructive ACL surgery on Tuesday will miss the entire 2013-’14 season, sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 21, 2014
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.
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.
The hallmark of the 2013-14 Denver Nuggets is inconsistency on every imaginable front: shooting, effort, defense, rebounding, you name it. A team that is equally capable of going to Oakland and beating one of the hottest teams in the league on their own court, and then two days later getting outplayed and beaten at home in the Pepsi Center by one of the worst teams in the league: This is who the Nuggets are.
Tonight, despite a late game push that brought them within as few as three points, Denver fell 109 to 117 to Cleveland, who never relinquished the lead they established in the second quarter. Grades after the jump. (more…)
We are almost halfway through the 82-game marathon that is the NBA regular season and the Denver Nuggets sit with a 20-18 record, just outside of a spot in the playoffs. This year has had its ups and downs. During some stretches of the season the Nuggets have looked like a serious playoff contender, capable of becoming an interesting team to watch when postseason rolls around. At other times, Denver has gone through extended periods of mediocre play and looked like a lottery team. Which team will we see over the second part of the regular season? The schedule would indicate the latter.
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.
As if an eight-game losing streak and an embarrassing home loss to one of the worst teams in the NBA wasn’t enough, the current circumstances seem to only be getting worse for the Denver Nuggets. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nuggets have suspended Andre Miller for conduct detrimental to team.
The Nuggets gave up 44 points in the second quarter and dropped their eighth straight game 114-102. Everyone gets an F tonight for grades because that is what happens when you get blown out at home by a team with nine (now 10) wins, and just two (now three) on the road. Below is a recap though.
The Denver Nuggets might lack a bonafide superstar, but the team has something a lot of other teams don’t — depth at pretty much every position. Even with injuries to some key players, Brian Shaw has a lot of pieces he can throw into different lineups and he experimented quite a lot early in the season. The rotation is pretty solid now and with a decent sample size we can begin to examine the trends.
Almost two months into this NBA season, it has become exceedingly clear just how important the Denver Nuggets bench has been to the team’s relative success. The starting lineup has frequently struggled, especially in first quarters, and the second unit has come to their rescue all too often.
In my recent post on Wilson Chandler, I compared his net efficiency with that of Timofey Mozgov, suggesting that Timo was, and Wilson wasn’t making a big impact. In the comments section, a Roundball Mining Company reader correctly pointed out that it might not be fair to compare a starter with a bench player, given the discrepancy in the caliber of players they’re going up against.
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.
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.