Rapid Reaction: Portland Trailblazers 113, Denver Nuggets 98

In what surely had to be one of the more disappointing season openers in recent memory, the Nuggets put forth a confused and defensively-bereft effort Friday night as they succumbed to the Blazers in ugly fashion. Point guards Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson each scored over 20, while Brian Shaw once again juggled with an 11-man rotation that failed to produce any form of cohesion. Additional grades and notes below.

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What to Watch For: Nuggets vs. Portland Trailblazers

After a disappointing season opening loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night the Nuggets return to Denver for their home opener against the Portland Trailblazers.

As the Nuggets finish their final preparations for the Blazers there are a few things to ponder entering tonight’s game.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 88-Sacramento Kings 90

Thanks to an unstoppable night from DeMarcus Cousins and a late Ty Lawson miss, the Nuggets dropped their 2013-2014 season opener 90-88 to the Sacramento Kings.

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Nuggets Starting Lineup Announced

Well after much deliberation during preseason, Brian Shaw has finally announced the starting five that will take the court Wednesday in Sacromento. And boy, it’s a doozie.

Wilson Chandler’s absence was somewhat expected, due to his reported hamstring injury, but his replacement came as a minor surprise. While Randolph got a lot of run in the preseason it hardly seemed feasible he would contribute any more than he did last year, mostly as a garbage time player who might play some meaningful minutes in emergency stopgap situations.

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Nuggets Waive Damion James.

With rosters needing to be finalized and down to 15 players by 5:00 ET on Monday evening the Nuggets announced that they have waived Damion James. 

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Recap: Chicago Bulls 94, Denver Nuggets 89

In what turned out to be an exciting game, the Nuggets ended up losing to the Chicago Bulls in the final few possessions after a back-and-fourth affair all night. JaVale McGee turned in an impressive performance with 15 points and eight boards in 25 minutes, while Ty Lawson looked dominant in the early periods of the game before succumbing to injury. The Nuggets finish the preseason with a 2-5 record and lots of room for improvement heading into the season. Here are a few more notes from Friday’s action…

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The Denver Decision: Will the Nuggets Move the Manimal?

The writing had been on the wall after the Nuggets offseason; Kenneth Faried may be expendable.

After all Denver brought in JJ Hickson, Darrell Arthur and a coach who liked to play in a system that doesn’t fit the skills that Faried has.

Finally on Monday afternoon Zach Lowe made it public that the Nuggets had been shopping Faried behind the scenes and made a prediction that Denver would in fact move the Manimal before the end of the season.

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Mini Recap: Phoenix Suns 98, Denver Nuggets 79

The Denver Nuggets preseason has been up and down. That trend continued Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns. While the Nuggets had some bright spots, they were often overshadowed by plays that made you scratch your head. Though the game was affected by technical difficulties (at least on Altitude), and though our writers weren’t able to catch the entire first half, several aspects of the game stood out. Here are a few things worth noting…

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5-on-5: #NuggetsRank reflections

Around this time of year everyone’s doing some sort of rankings series. Pundits are ranking teams, players, players on teams (as we’ve done), coaches, general managers, mascots, they’re giving out preseason awards, they’re writing books. It’s kinda crazy, to be honest. And as you might expect from a fairly traditional sports blog, Roundball Mining Company got in on the craziness as well, in the form of our #NuggetsRank series which ran alongside ESPN.com’s larger #NBARank. But unlike most other outlets, here at RMC we like to occasionally take a step back and critique ourselves. Sure, we offer you our opinion in unbridled fashion and proclaim certain players to be “definitively” better than others, but we also realize those pompous proclamations are just our opinions. We know they’re the furthest things from facts; and so, in our latest 5-on-5 we collectively acknowledge the absurdity of rankings and immediately revoke all written analysis we may have previously stated as set in stone. As always, please join us in the comments section below to dish out your thoughts and opinions on #NuggetsRank, and be sure to let us know what we could do better next time to improve.

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Nit’picking: Jordan Hamilton may be squandering his best opportunity to crack the rotation

[Nit'picking is a new feature at Roundball Mining Company where the writers take the opportunity to go off on a rant about something that is grinding our gears, rubbing us the wrong way, or otherwise sticking in our craw.]

As the 2013-14 Nuggets training camp and preseason began with both Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler decommissioned by injuries, a tremendous opportunity opened up for Jordan Hamilton to prove himself. Buried for his first two seasons at the bottom of George Karl’s depth chart (and perhaps in his dog house at times), Hamilton has seen very little daylight outside of garbage time up to this point in his career.

It seemed that while Chandler was still recovering from his hamstring injury that Hamilton would be the clear favorite to start and make an impact at the small forward position. But things have not played out quite as expected. His shot has not been falling, and aside from a decent outing in the first preseason game he has not shown many encouraging signs.

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Preseason Game 5: Nuggets 111-Clippers 118

The shorthanded Nuggets pushed the Clippers all night long before finally dropping the game in overtime 118-111. Some thoughts on the game:

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Five things to watch for this season

As the 2013-14 NBA season approaches, many questions hover around the Denver Nuggets. Almost everything that made the team successful in years past (especially last season) has now departed. There’s no more George Karl, no more Masai Ujiri, no more Andre Iguodala — no more certainty. There’s still a deep and talented roster, however the players that comprise it are less known commodities and more bags of speculation and temptation. The 2013-14 Denver Nuggets are, more than anything, a team mired with uncertainty. Though five topics of concern are presented below, this list could very well expand to seven or even 10. But in honor of brevity and odd numbers, here are the five most compelling storylines to watch for this season.

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Preseason Game 3: Nuggets 98-Spurs 94

The new look Nuggets got a chance to show off for the first time in front of their home crowd and for the most part they looked good doing it.

First the good:

  • Kenneth Faried finally looked like his old self again. The Manimal entered off the bench and wasn’t force fed post up chances, instead he just found his rhythm in the flow of the game. He finished with 22 points on 10 of 12 shooting, nine rebounds and two steals. When allowed to just run and dunk like he has been in the past he seemed comfortable. He even made a nice move in the post that led to an and-one late in the game, albeit on a guy who probably won’t make an NBA roster. Faried will be successful if he is allowed to be himself. As I have said before, he is what he is and that is probably close to all he will ever be. Fortunately, that happens to be a player who can make a big impact on plenty of games. (more…)

Preseason Game 2: Nuggets 88 – Lakers 90

The preseason is a weird thing. Wins and losses don’t matter and teams play somewhere between 12 and 15 players for double digit minutes.

Really the preseason is a lot like summer league, where players take things that they worked on during the offseason and bring them into live action for the first time.

This season the Nuggets are also incorporating a brand new system for a brand new coach and through the first two games it is becoming very clear that that change is going to be radical.

And through those games, things, for the most part, don’t look pretty.

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Can Brian Shaw help JaVale McGee transform into a more conventional center?

“The anchor of the defense.” “Conventional.” “A presence in the middle.” “A true center.”

If you dropped these phrases on most NBA fans and asked them who came to mind, it’s a near certainty that none of them would answer, “JaVale McGee.”

And if in turn you surveyed them on how they’d describe McGee, you’d invariably end up with “bonehead,” “goofball” and “Shaqtin’-a-fool” on your short list of most common responses.

New Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw appears to be on a mission to change all that, however. (more…)

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