Stone signs with Raptors

According to Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Denver Nuggets free agent Julyan Stone has reached an agreement with the Toronto Raptors on a two-year contract. The second year of the deal is a team option. This concludes Stone’s short tenure in Denver where he was largely viewed as defensive-minded fan favorite at point guard. Stone was one of the more polite players on the roster the last several years and certainly one of the more driven; however, injuries kept him from ever seeing the type of playing time he likely deserved. Woj is reporting he’ll compete for the backup point guard position in Toronto.

Denver Nuggets off-season to-do list

For the third year in a row Roundball Mining Company has arranged an off-season priority list for the Denver Nuggets. The following items are arranged from least to most important. They are moves which the Nuggets would greatly benefit from, yet none are mandatory. After winning 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year, it’s safe to assume Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri will do everything in his power to improve the Nuggets once again — that is, as long as he’s still around.

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Rapid Reaction: New Orleans Hornets 110, Denver Nuggets 86

This one was a loss from the start, as the Nuggets came out flat and never really recovered. Defense was nowhere to be found (especially from beyond the arc), offense was tough to come by and in the end the Hornets simply out-played the Nuggets in nearly every aspect of the game. Unfortunately for Denver, one game after losing to snap their franchise-record winning streak the Nuggets must go on the road to face one of the best teams in the league in San Antonio.

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Pickaxe Pulse for March 24, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets extended their franchise-record winning streak to 15 games, and the team’s depth was on full display this week as bench players played key roles in all 4 victories.  Wilson Chandler scored a game high 35 points to go with 9 rebounds and 4 assists in an overtime win in Chicago.  Andre Miller celebrated his 37th birthday the next night, helping the Nuggets cruise to a win over the Thunder.  With Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler sitting out with injuries, the Nuggets looked to be on their way to defeat against Philadelphia, but Corey Brewer finished off a career high 29 points with a late three pointer and three free throws to complete a 101-100 comeback victory.  Julyan Stone, in his first NBA game since January, provided a spark on both defense and offense to help the Nuggets get past the Kings.

Record this week: 4-0 (2-0 home, 2-0 road)

Current record and standings: 49-22, third seed in the Western Conference, 0.5 games ahead of the Clippers and 1 game ahead of the Grizzlies

Upcoming games: Monday at New Orleans, Wednesday at San Antonio, Friday vs Brooklyn

Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 101 vs Kings 95

The Nuggets escape with their franchise record 15th straight win, 101-95 over the Sacramento Kings.   It was also the Nuggets’ 17th straight win at the Pepsi Center.  Grades follow the break.

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5-on-5: Trade deadline

Well everyone, it’s that time of year. Late February. And you know exactly what that means. It means the NBA trade deadline is approaching; therefore, all our wildest dream scenarios about acquiring LeBron James for pennies on the dollar are on the brink of coming to fruition. OK, so maybe that’s not exactly correct. Maybe it’s the furthest thing from the truth. But here at RMC we’ll be damned to be robbed of our totally unrealistic trade fantasies. So despite Adrian Wojnarowski’s recent tweet about the Nuggets being “unlikely to make a deal,” we’ve decided to ride on into the blue and yellow sunset with visionary trade talk firmly on our minds, which we’re happy to share with you in our latest 5-on-5.

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Inside the Problem: A Breakdown of the Nuggets Turnovers

As anyone who has followed the Nuggets this seasons knows, a couple things have plagued the team all season; inconsistency, a lack of perimeter shooting, and turnovers. I decided to look further into that turnover issue to see why the Nuggets continued to turn the ball over at such an alarming pace, 14.8 per game good for fifth worst in the league.

To figure out what Denver’s problem was I decided to take a look at each turnover the Nuggets have committed all year via synergy and keep track of three factors; who committed the turnover, what kind of turnover was it, and was it a live or dead ball turnover.

After tracking 667 turnovers (I must have missed a game somewhere but have no idea which) I did a bit of analysis of the numbers and found some interesting facts.

I have attached the document as a link to a public google doc at the end of the post so readers can download it and look for themselves.  (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Oklahoma City Thunder 117, Denver Nuggets 97

Denver Nuggets 97 Final

Recap | Box Score

117 Oklahoma City Thunder
Danilo Gallinari, SF 26 MIN | 3-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -21

Gallo had trouble defending Durant and that was all she wrote. His impact on the game outside of making a few shots was minimal.

Kenneth Faried, SF 21 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -24

Faried was almost not even present. As is often the case with more physical and larger power forwards, Faried was swallowed up.

Kosta Koufos, C 25 MIN | 6-6 FG | 4-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -8

Koufos was the best player on the team. That’s all you need to know to figure out the direction this game went. He was great all night on the glass and around the basket. He converted misses as well as entry passes with the execution of a veteran. His defense was also solid, yet again.

Ty Lawson, PG 20 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 2 PTS | -14

It’s hard to achieve this stat line in 20 minutes of action. Lawson was clearly stifled by Westbrook, which isn’t a good sign for the playoffs. Lawson relies on his speed, yet Westbrook is one of the few players in the league who’s probably faster than Lawson. He’s also stronger, more athletic and more talented.

Andre Iguodala, SG 30 MIN | 4-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -17

While Iguodala had one of the better stat lines of the starting unit, it was still pretty bad. He was missing shots by a wide margin too. He got most of his points of easy baskets, meanwhile his defense wasn’t particularly great either.

Anthony Randolph, PF 16 MIN | 1-6 FG | 6-8 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +5

Randolph was one of the bright spots against the Thunder. He drove the basket and got fouls. He didn’t make a lot of shots, but he was aggressive. He also played pretty well on defense, evident by his three blocks and three steals. This is one player I’d like to see get some more action every now and then, considering the Nuggets don’t really have a backup power forward.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 9 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +3

What can you say about Hamilton? He clearly didn’t belong with the group he was playing with tonight. He’s a big small forward who can drive, drain threes and score at will. You have to wonder what he’s done wrong in light of Fournier ostensibly moving ahead of him on the depth chart.

Corey Brewer, SF 19 MIN | 1-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -8

I hardly remember Brewer at all. There were a few sequences where he played solid defense but he was MIA other than that. It would have been nice to see him on Durant more…

Timofey Mozgov, C 10 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +8

Mozgov logged decent minutes. He missed some pretty easy buckets and got hit in the face with the ball, but he was active, which is always good.

JaVale McGee, C 20 MIN | 5-6 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -19

JaVale finally overcame his slump — or so it appears. He was under control for most of the night and only made one or two “bonehead” plays. Other than that, he played with composure and verve, especially on offense.

Julyan Stone, PG 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1

I like Stone; always have. I just like the way he quarterbacks the offense. He’s a floor general at heart. He’s always looking to get others involved first and he never forces anything. It would be interesting to see how well he could defend guys like Durant…

Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -8

Miller’s assists are where he gets his grade. He did do a fine job of sharing the rock, I’ll give him that. But his tunnel vision scares me. I feel like he’s always on the verge of thinking he has to throw his team on his back and score every time down the floor — which should never happen.

Evan Fournier, SG 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +4

Fournier’s stat line is deceiving. For about 10 minutes of his floor time he was turning the ball over and committing awful fouls. He played better as the game progressed, but I still have no idea how he got inserted before Hamilton.

George Karl

Karl’s team was totally unprepared from the start. They were never in this game — not even in the first few minutes. It was like watching JV vs. Varsity. Durant and Westbrook are two of the best player in the league, but the Nuggets have several of the best defenders in the league. Why was Iguodala not on Westbrook more? Why was Brewer not on Durant more? Instead Westbrook schooled Andre Miller and overpowered Ty Lawson all night, while Durant took Gallo to the hole repeatedly. And it all starts with defense. The Thunder had almost 70 by half and finished with 117. That’s inexcusable. I don’t care if you’re coming off a week of hiking in the Rocky Mountains with little to no sleep — that kind of defensive effort just won’t cut it. I felt like this was a game Karl had no problems conceding from the start. At least, that’s how it looked.

Injuries: Chandler’s return delayed, Stone likely out till January

Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post reported on two injury updates yesterday. Unfortunately, neither of them brought us encouraging news. (more…)

Nuggets 104, Warriors 98: Preseason observations

The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 104-98 on Monday to go to 3-0 and stay undefeated in the preseason. Here are some game notes…

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Nuggets vs. Clippers observations

On Oct. 6 the Nuggets faced the Clippers in the first preseason game of the year. Though not much was at stake, the players seemed to approach the game as if it were late April, not early October. The contest culminated with two incredible last-second layups: one by Eric Bledsoe and the other by Ty Lawson to win the game as the shot clock expired. Here are some observations.

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Media Day recap

For the first time in Roundball Mining Company history a member of our team — yours truly — was able to attend Nuggets Media Day. It was an incredible, eye-opening experience and we cannot thank the Nuggets organization enough for allowing us the opportunity to gain this type of coverage of the team we all love most. I was able to score eight one-on-one interviews with various team members. Here is how it went…

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#NuggetsRank No. 13: Julyan Stone

Sophomore point guard Julyan Stone comes in at No. 13 in Roundball Mining Company’s #NuggetsRank series, rounding out the trio of players most likely to be on the inactive list to start the season.

Although Stone is entering into his second year with the Nuggets, his future in the NBA remains largely unclear. After Denver signed him as an undrafted rookie prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, Stone spent the vast majority of his time on the bench. He played in only 22 games, averaging 8.8 minutes per game, and playing 10 minutes or more only seven times. Even when he did get the opportunity to play, he had a team low usage rate of only 11.7 percent, and the bulk of his minutes were played in garbage time. In short, we simply don’t have a whole lot of data to get a very meaningful read from yet.

On paper, Stone makes a great deal of sense for this Nuggets team. (more…)

Nuggets sign Quincy Miller

With training camp a little more than three weeks away, the Nuggets’ 2012-2013 roster appears to be set with Thursday afternoon’s announcement  that the team has signed second-round pick Quincy Miller to a multi-year contract.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but it appears to be a 3-year deal at the minimum. As is standard with a lot of second-round picks, Quincy’s contract probably contains partial guarantees or team options on the later years of the deal.

It’s good news that the Nuggets were able to come to terms with Quincy and lock him up for a three year period. I had the pleasure of meeting Quincy and getting acquainted with his game at Summer League, where it became apparent that he’ll be more of a long-term project. Quincy’s offensive skills are going to translate to the NBA, but he’ll really need to fill out his body and round out his game in other areas in order to be effective.

Expect Miller to spend a good bit of next season either inactive or with the Nuggets’ D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy. With a year of strength training under Steve Hess and a little more seasoning in terms of his overall feel for the game, the Nuggets can get a head start on molding Quincy into a future rotation player.

For now, the Nuggets can enjoy some quality depth at the end of their bench while guys like Anthony Randolph and Jordan Hamilton stand ready to fill rotation roles when needed. Backcourt depth is the one area of potential concern as the Nuggets struggled to make shots last year and will be extremely reliant on the point guard duo of Ty Lawson and Andre Miller. Hamilton, Fournier, and Stone form the reserve corps of backup guards and have almost no combined NBA experience among them.

Trade details

Many readers have asked, specifically, what the Nuggets gave up and received in Friday’s trade. Though I still can’t find a single article that confirms all aspects of the trade, I have been able to gather bits and pieces from various sources across the Internet. Here are my findings:

Received: Andre Iguodala

Sent: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, a 2013 second-round draft pick (via Golden State) and a 2014 first-round draft pick (either Denver’s own or via New York)

Both of the picks sent to Orlando may end up being ones the Nuggets obtained from New York in the Carmelo Anthony trade. The 2013 second-round pick is from Golden State while the 2014 first-round pick will either be Denver’s own, or New York’s. According to CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger, the 2014 first-round pick conveyed to Orlando will be the least desirable of the Nuggets two picks that year.

Looking towards the future, the Nuggets now have two picks in the 2013 NBA Draft: their own first rounder and a second-round, top-40 protected selection from the Portland Trailblazers. Denver’s own second-round pick is conveyed to the Phoenix Suns and is also top-40 protected. Assuming the Nuggets re-sign Ty Lawson, they will then have three roster openings from the expiring contracts of Julyan Stone, Timofey Mozgov and Corey Brewer. If the Nuggets retain both picks they will then be left with one open roster spot to sign a free agent, however given Masai Ujiri’s penchant for perpetual activity, there’s a good chance the team’s current roster and draft-pick situation will change yet again.

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