Breaking News: JaVale McGee Out for Season

As if today wasn’t busy enough for the Nuggets, they have just announced that center JaVale McGee has joined Danilo Gallinari and Nate Robinson as being out for the year due to injury after having surgery on his left leg.

The news is another blow to a season that was supposed to be about figuring things out under new head coach Brian Shaw in relation to both style of play and which players were long term keepers for the Nuggets. It also was supposed to finally be the breakout year that people around the organization had been hoping for as he had supposedly become more professional and a harder worker since the end of last season.

Now it pushes back another decision for Denver as they must wait and see how he responds and of the improvement he showed throughout the preseason was real or not.

Stay tuned to RMC for more news and reaction as things get more and more hectic in Denver.

Report: JaVale McGee Could Miss Rest of Season

According to a report from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Javale McGee’s leg has not healed properly from the stress fracture he suffered earlier this season and the complications could keep the seven footer out for the remainder of the season.

The news is another bad blow for Denver who have already lost Nate Robinson and Danilo Gallinari for what has become for all intents and purposes a lost season. The news is doubly bad as Denver now must invest another season in deciding if McGee is a player that will fit in Brian Shaw’s systems on both ends of the floor.

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Timofey Mozgov, the rise of Denver’s hidden gem

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.

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Staking A Claim: The Future

Last night’s loss to Portland marked the exact halfway point in the Nuggets season and finally has started to make clear exactly who this Nuggets team is.

In fact RMC’s own David Walker sent me a tweet that describes the team pretty well.

“Yeah, all things equal they’re aggressively average. But the randomness at least makes a boring season somewhat exciting,” he said providing one of the best descriptions of the 20-21, 2013-2014 Denver Nuggets I have seen all year.

All-in-all this season has taught us a few things, Ty Lawson is really good on offense and JJ Hickson is the master of misleading stat lines, and left us with some questions that seem harder and harder to answer; most notably has Kenneth Faried peaked and what should Denver do with Danilo Gallinari’s injury issues still ongoing?

It is probably time to add another question to that list.

Are the Nuggets headed for disaster?

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Outside Look: A Scout’s Take on the Nuggets Success

Last night ESPN’s Marc Stein talked to a bunch of scouts to get their takes on a lot of NBA early season happenings for Stein Line Live.

All the takes can be found here and are all very interesting, but the one that will be most important to Nuggets fans can be found here.

Stein talked to an Eastern Conference scout on why the Nuggets turnaround has happened. The answer was mostly that Denver was running again, though the part that sticks out most is the scout’s take on JaVale McGee.

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Pickaxe Pulse for November 17, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

During the preseason, NBA analysts, pundits, and fans were predicting the Nuggets to finish anywhere from a low playoff seed to near the bottom of the league. After nine games, the 4-5 Nuggets have done little to change anyone’s mind.

Ty Lawson’s current averages of 21 points, 4 rebounds, and nearly 9 assists are all career highs. Wilson Chandler has been shooting extremely well from outside, and Timofey Mozgov has been a force on defense and in the pick and roll. The Nuggets have had fourth quarter leads in all but two games. On the down side, long-term injuries to Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee will keep the Nuggets from reaching full strength until January or later. Aside from Ty Lawson, the rest of the Nuggets’ guards have played inconsistently on both ends, with only a couple of good games each. The defense is still a work in progress, particularly in the frontcourt. Coach Shaw continues to run experimental lineups that are sometimes successful but more often terrible. With three tough tests coming this week, the Nuggets will need to improve quickly to keep pace.

Current record and standings: 4-5 (3-2 home, 1-3 road), tied with Memphis for 10th place in the West.

Upcoming games: Monday @ Oklahoma City, Thursday vs Chicago, Saturday vs Dallas

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 111-Los Angeles Lakers 99

Thanks to a dominating performance from Timofey Mozgov the Nuggets played well late and defeated the Lakers 111-99.

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How not to defend the high pick and roll – a Denver Nuggets tale

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.

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BREAKING NEWS: JaVale McGee Out Indefinitely

According to the official Nuggets twitter account, JaVale McGee will be sidelined indefinitely due to a stress fracture in his left tibia. 

Head coach Brian Shaw has not decided if he will start Timofey Mozgov or J.J. Hickson at center for Monday’s game against Utah but either way expect to see both players start logging more time at the position.

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Rapid Reaction: Phoenix Suns 114, Denver Nuggets 103

Although Ty Lawson turned in one of his best performances as a young Denver Nugget, his team couldn’t find any form of consistency on the defensive side of the ball and once again allowed the opponent’s front line to have career days all around. The Nuggets are now 1-4 on the season and looking more and more like a lottery team.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 109-Atlanta Hawks 107

Thanks to a late important three from Ty Lawson and a key defensive stop at the buzzer by Andre Miller the Nuggets defeated the Hawks 109-107 to give Brian Shaw his first career victory.

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What to Watch For: Nuggets vs. Atlanta Hawks

Denver takes the court tonight in search of their first win of the season against a good team Atlanta Hawks team still trying to figure things out completely under their new coach Mike Budenholzer.

The Hawks enter tonight’s contest 2-2, coming off a win in Sacramento on Tuesday night. The game starts the run of four winnable games in a row for the Nuggets before they get into one of their most difficult seven game stretches of the season to end the month.

If Denver wants to win tonight’s game there are three things they must address to have a chance.

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Destruction from a Distance: Why Denver Can’t Defend the Three Pointer.

Through the first two games of the season plenty of things have gone wrong for the Nuggets. They can’t seem to consistently score in the half court, their shot chart looks almost the exact opposite of what teams should strive for, and their defense can’t stop any opposing big man.

But possibly the worst problem the Nuggets have had through two games has been their “defense” of the three pointer. The Kings and Blazers went a combined 22 of 43 on three point attempts, good for 51 percent shooting and Denver is lucky that things are only that bad.

I went back and watched video of every three pointer that Denver has allowed this season and charted them in an attempt to see where the biggest problems were.

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Roundball Roundtable: Reflections from June 2014

The Denver Nuggets have played two games. Neither has been pretty. And though there’s still 80 more games to be played, the first two outings have gotten our writers to thinking: Just where exactly will the Nuggets be eight months from now? In our latest Roundball Roundtable five of our writers have attempted to answer that very question. These are the answers they’ve presented…

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Juggling flaming chainsaws — Denver’s front court dilemma

It’s hard to know how much to extrapolate from the first couple games of the season, as the morning dew from the new year still lays damp upon both arena and player alike. But if there has been any clear takeaway from Denver’s first two games it’s that the front court rotation is a rolling tire fire right now. No front court combination has logged more than 26 minutes together and Brian Shaw is currently juggling the unwieldy number of five big men in and out of the rotation.

The starting pair of McGee and J.J. Hickson is perhaps the most egregious miscalculation and the one who’s change seems the most immanent. Offensively, neither Hickson nor McGee seems to understand how to properly space the floor, despite J.J. being a threat in the pick and pop.

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