After a turbulent 2013 offseason which raised more questions than answers about the future of the Denver Nuggets, last Thursday’s trade deadline represented a sort of mid-term examination for their young front office. The test was not only to improve the roster, but also to clarify the team’s goals and plans moving forward, and provide at least a glimmer of hope for a future more promising than this increasingly frustrating season would seem to suggest.
And now that the deadline has passed, with the Nuggets making two trades – Jordan Hamilton for Aaron Brooks and Andre Miller for Jan Vesely – it’s time for us here at Roundball Mining Company to take measure of the front office, evaluate their deadline moves, assess how the new regime has done up to this point, and discuss what they need to do from here on out.
Five of your RMC writers give their take after the jump. (more…)
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Nuggets have acquired point guard Aaron Brooks from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Jordan Hamilton.
As indicated in our previous post, it had appeared earlier that Denver was on track with the Knicks to trade J-Ham for Beno Udrih. Apparently, however, Tim Connelly and the front office were still busy working the phones, and found their preferred option in Brooks. (more…)
After weeks of wondering when it would happen, Andre Miller has finally been traded out of Denver.
Miller heads to Washington as part of a three team deal that will send former Wizard’s lottery pick Jan Vesely to the Nuggets and Washington point guard Eric Maynor and two second round picks (one from Washington next year and one from Denver in 2016) to the Philadelphia 76ers according to Yahoo!’s Marc Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski.
The deal does nothing besides shed salary for the Nuggets as Vesely is nothing more than an expiring contract worth $3.3 million that does absolutely nothing well on a basketball court.
The deal also seems to be a precursor to another trade that will actually land the Nuggets a point guard for the remainder of the season, as ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that Denver is moving forward with a trade for unhappy New York backup Beno Udrih.
Sources say Nuggets now proceeding w/acquisition of Beno Udrih from Knicks for Jordan Hamilton. Why DEN needed third team for Eric Maynor
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2014
Udrih is nothing spectacular but he is capable of handling the ball and playing point guarde, something that the Nuggets desperately needed with Ty Lawson out with a broken rib, Nate Robinson out with a torn ACL and now Miller out of Denver.
Hamilton has started 11 games this season, including on Tuesday night but his inability to consistently play good defense had caused him to fall out of favor with Brian Shaw which led to his removal from the rotation. Denver also had declined Hamilton’s option earlier this season so he was due to most likely leave Denver at the end of the season anyway.
Baring a surprising move this seems to be it for Denver at the deadline meaning they come away from the Miller fiasco with a bit of savings and without a second round pick a few years from now.
What are your thoughts on the trades? Did Denver get enough for Miller? Is trading Hamilton a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks to some technical difficulties with my DVR I missed the majority of the first quarter but the Nuggets fought back from an early deficit to put themselves in position to finally defeat the Suns this season. Up five with under a minute left all Denver had to do was hang out but they were unable to thanks to problems generating good looks on offense and grabbing rebounds on defense.
In overtime Denver continued to struggle offensively and ultimately JJ HICKSON SHOT A THREE TO TRY AND TIE THE GAME WITH 5 SECONDS LEFT and they fell 112-107.
Grades are after the jump and please before you yell about Hickson’s grade read the comments. Please.
Unable to overcome the absence of every remaining point guard on the roster, a severely thinned-out Nuggets squad suffered yet another ugly loss at home. The Raptors cruised to an easy win while the Nuggets continued to struggle offensively, committing 26 turnovers and notching just 6 fast break points. The worst news of the night however came early in the first quarter when the Nuggets announced that Nate Robinson is out for the season after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL.
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 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.
The Nuggets got up big early, extended the lead to huge in the middle and coasted late on their way to an absolute destruction of the Celtics tonight in Denver.
At 16-17 with a seven game winning streak and an eight game losing streak to their names so far this season it is hard to see the 2013-2014 version of the Nuggets as anything more than a confusing inconsistent and mildly talented collection of basketball players.
When things go well and shots fall the Nuggets win, when they don’t and Denver turns the ball over, they lose. Through the first 33 games of the season it has become clear that Ty Lawson is far and away the best and most important player currently healthy on the Denver roster, meaning it seems like the play of Lawson more than anybody determines if the Nuggets will win or lose a game.
But a deeper looking into the win/loss splits of the main nine rotation players for Denver this year (Lawson, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, JJ Hickson, Nate Robinson, Jordan Hamilton, Darrell Arthur and Timofey Mozgov) show that there are actually a few other players that make more of a difference in win or loss than Lawson. Below is a quick breakdown of some interesting splits for each of those nine players.
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.
Unfortunately, no one at RMC was able to catch the whole game tonight thanks to a few holiday season related things so there won’t be full grades, just some thoughts and observations based on the final quarter plus that I was able to see. Feel free to leave any thoughts below.
The Nuggets shot poorly all night, and forgot to defend the three point line, on the way to a big loss to the Clippers on a back to back.
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.
Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend
The Nuggets held pace in the Western Conference standings, remaining in the playoff hunt after an up-and-down week. The team ended a six game road trip on Monday with an ugly win against the Wizards. Nate Robinson’s constant energy and a late block and dunk by Kenneth Faried were key to the 75-74 victory. Back at home with three days rest, the Nuggets starters came out flat against the Jazz. Timofey Mozgov and Jordan Hamilton led a comeback in the second half that gave the team a brief lead, but the Nuggets ultimately couldn’t hold on. Speedy point guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson took charge in a strong win against the Pelicans on Sunday, with Robinson in particular filling up the highlight reel with drives, jumpers, and even a couple of blocked shots. A tough schedule awaits this week, with all three Nuggets opponents currently in the top six in the West.
Current record and standings: 14-9 (7-3 home, 7-6 road), 7th in the Western Conference
Upcoming games: Tuesday vs Oklahoma City, Friday vs Phoenix, Saturday at LA Clippers
Denver bounced back from the tough loss to Utah on Friday to defeat a tough New Orleans Pelicans team 102-93, thanks to solid efforts from a lot of different places including Nate Robinson, Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler. Please post your thoughts on the game while the grades are prepared (after David finishes up in the locker room.)