Denver’s Screening Problem

One of the biggest obstacles I run into when trying to project what Denver will look like going into next season is the absence of any idea what the system will be like under Brian Shaw. The Nuggets have spent the better part of a decade running the sometimes varied but always unorthodox George Karl system, and the extent to which Shaw deviates from that remains to be seen. He has been on the record as saying he will ditch the triangle offense that his coaching had been pigeonholed into (a wise move) and that he will continue to utilize Denver’s unique home court advantage with an uptempo offense (another smart move), but other than that it is mostly a mystery.

However, I am pretty confident that at least a good portion of Karl’s dribble-drive offense will be replaced with a more traditional pick-and-roll centric system. I will defend Karl’s dunks-and-threes system till the day I die in terms of how well it succeeded in the team sense but it is undeniable that the Nuggets have many players who would thrive in a more pick-and-roll featured scheme (Ty Lawson especially). There’s just one problem. There are precious few Nuggets who know how to properly set screens.

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Film Room: Darrell Arthur scouting report – video and in-depth analysis

In this latest installment of the Roundball Mining Company Film Room, we will take a look at Darrell Arthur, the player the Nuggets received in their surprise trade of Kosta Koufos.

But before getting to the analysis, it’s important to open with a major caveat: (more…)

The life and times of JaVale McGee, told through memes

OK, so the title is a bit dramatic. This series does not span JaVale’s lifetime. It does not really span anything, in fact. It’s just three little memes I threw together on a quiet Tuesday evening because I knew the readers of RMC, like me, harbor a vast affinity for the artist currently known as JaVale. Anyways, take a look. Hopefully you like at least one of them. And yes, these were composed with tongue firmly in cheek.

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5-on-5: New front office appraisal

It’s been several months since the NBA’s reigning GM of the Year, Masai Ujiri, was inexplicably let go by the Nuggets and replaced with Tim Connelly. Since that time the Nuggets have made a variety of eyebrow-raising moves that have accented the most turbulent offseason in recent memory. Now, in light of the Nuggets’ recent completion of putting together a full 15-man roster under the new regime, our team at RMC will divulge our first impressions of Connelly and Co.’s transactions in our latest 5-on-5. As always, we encourage you voice your answers to the following questions in the comments section below.

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Where Nuggets players rank in two advanced statistical categories

Earlier today Joel posted this on his Twitter page and I thought it was quite interesting. Below is a graphic of where all current Nuggets players rank in player efficiency rating (PER) and win shares per 48 minutes played (WS/48). These are two of the more popular advanced statistical categories that aim to quantify just how valuable and productive a player is individually and with respect to his team. The following rankings might surprise you.

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2013 salary cap and luxury tax status, part 2: questions and answers

Q: Which players have the Nuggets signed for 2013-14, and what are their total combined salaries?

A: Based on the latest reported offers, the Nuggets have $60.3 million dedicated to 13 players: Lawson, A. Miller, Foye, Fournier, Hamilton, Gallinari, Chandler, Q. Miller, Faried, Hickson, Arthur, McGee, and Randolph. (Foye and Hickson cannot officially be signed until July 10.) The salary cap is $58.6 million.

Q: Can the Nuggets still sign players even though they’re over the cap?
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What We Can Learn From The Kosta Koufos Trade

When the Nuggets traded Kosta Koufos on draft night it clearly signaled that they felt it was time to turn over the starting job to JaVale McGee.

But it also signaled something else, a belief that they have and one that in the end may come back to hurt them.

It signaled that they, like plenty of other teams see potential more in physical gifts than in mental ones.

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What was lost and gained in the Koufos trade

In the midst of draft day fever, the Denver Nuggets almost inconspicuously swung a trade to ship out the starting center of their 57 win team. They acquired Memphis Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur and the rights to the 55th pick, which turned out to be the rather unfortunately named Joffery Lauvergne.

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The Way Forward

Yesterday I wrote about the previous year in Nuggets basketball, and ended by noting the challenge facing Tim Connelly and Brian Shaw following such a wild season.  Here are some issues from the previous year that they will have to deal with going forward:

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Delayed Reaction: 2012-2013 season in review

A look at the rollercoaster year of Nuggets basketball

Hopes were high for the Nuggets at the end of the 2012 offseason, with some analysts predicting up to 59 wins and a top two playoff seed.  Masai Ujiri had acquired Olympic gold medalist and star defender Andre Iguodala in a trade, and extended Ty Lawson and JaVale McGee with long-term contracts.  He surrounded the team’s young core with veteran Andre Miller and cheap talent like Anthony Randolph and Evan Fournier.

But a difficult early schedule loomed.  The Nuggets would play 22 of their first 32 games on the road, including 8 sets of back-to-back games.  By the end of November, the team had a pair of four game winning streaks sandwiched in between three losing streaks of three games each, including worrying losses to the lowly Suns and Magic.

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Report: Nuggets to interview Vinny Del Negro

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Vinny Del Negro will join the short list of candidates for the Nuggets head coaching job, and interviews for the job this weekend. He joins Memphis Coach Lionel Hollins and Indiana assistant Brian Shaw as leading candidates for the coaching vacancy.

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Nuggets news: Karl talks, Gallo walks and Iggy opts out

A lot’s happened in the last 24 hours surrounding Denver Nuggets. George Karl has been making the rounds with the Denver media sharing what he calls “his side of the story,” in regards to his dismissal as Nuggets head coach last week. Meanwhile, Danilo Gallinari claims his knee was never as bad as we all thought, and Andre Iguodala… well, yeah…

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Out of Bounds: How a Simple Rule Change can Hurt the Nuggets Offense

As I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline on Wednesday afternoon one tweet caught my eye.

It was different from the normal NBA Finals analysis that has filled that space lately and something that many people probably saw and blew right by.

That tweet is below:

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JaVale McGee – The Stain Masai Ujiri Leaves Behind

If you’re a chocolate enthusiast you’ve probably experienced the irritating stains the delectable dainty can often leave behind. I’m sure most people have one or two white shirts in the wardrobe with subtle traces of the brown substance imprinted onto the fabric, which refuse to vanish no matter how many times they’ve been washed. In the NBA, general managers come and go, but their errors often linger even when they are long gone. Thus the pressure on a GM is excruciating, as one careless decision can set a team back for years to come, and even if they end up losing their job, a stain of their tenure often remains as a constant reminder of their regime. (more…)

UNLEASH THE MANIMAL! (But maybe from the bench)

The story of Kenneth Faried’s career is a very interesting one.

Despite being the all-time leading rebounder in modern-day NCAA history, Faried fell all the way the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA draft where the Nuggets scooped him up.

The reasons he fell were well documented; he was undersized, lacked an offensive game, and was an average finisher. But he also had some huge strengths; the rebounding prowess, the motor and his incredible athleticism.

He ended up in the perfect situation in Denver, a place where he was asked to rebound and run the floor, things he did very well. Because of that he burst on the scene as a rookie with highlight after highlight. He also captured peoples’ hearts and imagination; I have seen projections from various Nuggets followers that call him a future All-Star, a superstar and even Dennis Rodman 2.0.

But 2012-2013 should temper those expectations just a bit and raise a very interesting, and difficult, decision for George Karl and whoever runs the Nuggets front office going forward.

Is Faried better utilized as a sixth man?

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