Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 99 -Memphis Grizzlies 120

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.

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Shaw needs to bump Foye from the starting lineup

When the Nuggets brought Randy Foye on board last offseason as part of the Andre Iguodala sign-and-trade, the reasoning was clear: They needed shooters, and he was a shooter.

Unfortunately, we now must, at least for the time being, say “he was a shooter” strictly in the past tense, because any remnants of the consistent and reliable 3-point shooter who played with Utah last season have long disappeared.

The extent to which Foye has dropped off in December is as damaging to Denver’s offense as it is inexplicable: (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 91 at Los Angeles Clippers 112

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.

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To switch or not to switch?

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.

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Pickaxe Pulse for December 16, 2013

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

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 102-New Orleans Pelicans 93

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.)

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 93-Utah Jazz 103

The Nuggets starters were outscored 82-36 by the Jazz starters and despite a valiant attempt from the bench unit Denver lost to Utah 103-93.

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Pickaxe Pulse for December 8, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets travelled east for a difficult stretch of four games in five nights, winning two and losing two. Timofey Mozgov was a dominating force in the paint against Brooklyn on Tuesday, with 17 points and 20 rebounds in a blowout win. Ty Lawson struggled with his shot the next night in Cleveland and the Cavs’ Tristan Thompson pulled down a Mozgov-like 21 rebounds to hand the Nuggets a defeat. Boston got off to a quick start on Friday, and an injury to Ty Lawson ended the Nuggets’ shot at a comeback. The team rebounded from two tough losses by going in to Philadelphia and pulling out a win thanks to Jordan Hamilton hitting back-to-back-to-back threes late in the fourth period to blow the game open. With injuries and fatigue taking their toll, the Nuggets will be glad to end their road trip on Monday in Washington and spend three days getting healthy before their next game.

Current record and standings: 12-8 (6-2 home, 6-6 road), 7th in the Western Conference

Upcoming games: Monday at Washington, Friday vs Utah

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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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 98-Boston Celtics 106

Denver went down big early and couldn’t quite ever get back into the game and fell to the Celtics 106-98. Most importantly Ty Lawson left the game with a left hamstring injury. Stay tuned at RMC for more information as it comes out.

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Film Room: The Ty Lawson-Randy Foye 3-point connection (video scouting report)

The Nuggets don’t have any shooters.”

Even as the 2012-13 Nuggets were working towards their most successful season in franchise history, there could be heard (as is always true in sports) some recurring complaints and criticisms from both fans and analysts. Prevalent among these was Denver’s lack of shooters, and with the acquisition of 3-point specialist Randy Foye, the team sought to address that need.

At the beginning of the season Foye got off to a somewhat slow start, but proceeded to settle in fairly quickly and start delivering on the promise of bringing some reliable perimeter shooting to the Nuggets’ arsenal. So far this season, among players with ten or more points per game, he is 10th in made 3-pointers per 36 minutes. (Nate Robinson is 17th, and the last on the list). And while Foye’s limited point production and .376 3-point percentage prevent him from joining the ranks of the elite gunners, he’s adroitly performing the task he was brought to Denver to do.

And, as we shall see in the video and analysis below the jump, Ty Lawson is playing a huge role in helping him get the job done. In fact, 70 percent of Foye’s shots have been assisted by Lawson, including 72.6 percent of his 3-pointers. And many of those assist have been among Lawson’s most impressive this season. (more…)

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.

I have seen the calls for my apologies. The demands that I come out and eat crow for predicting the Nuggets were clearly lottery team. The wonder at where I have been during the recent streak of great play. (For the record I was away for ten days for the holiday).

But I have been thinking about things, about how I was potentially so wrong, and it all led me to one conclusion.

I was wrong, but it was only because I was misinformed.

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Pickaxe Pulse for December 1, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets picked up four more wins this week and have won 9 of the last 11, leaving the team’s 1 and 4 start to the season as a distant memory. Nate Robinson has settled into his role as a scorer off the bench, averaging 18 points while shooting over 50% on threes in the last four games. Robinson has combined with Ty Lawson, Jordan Hamilton, and the surprisingly hot-shooting Andre Miller to give the Nuggets 8 or more made threes in 8 straight games, which is a franchise record. The Nuggets’ bigs continue to be inconsistent individually but effective as a group, with JJ Hickson, Kenneth Faried, and Timofey Mozgov each having at least one great game and one bad game this week. Darrell Arthur’s defense on Dirk Nowitzki helped in the win at Dallas. Randy Foye played well against Kevin Martin in the win at Minnesota and came up with a key late-game stop of Carmelo Anthony to seal the win against New York. The Nuggets’ bench, led by Robinson and Mozgov, put up 72 points in a comeback road win against Toronto to kick off a six-game road trip.

Current record and standings: 10-6 (6-2 home, 4-4 road), sixth place in the Western conference

Upcoming games: Tuesday at Brooklyn, Wednesday at Cleveland, Friday at Boston, Saturday at Philadelphia

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 110, Dallas Mavericks 96

If the Denver ends up having a relatively successful 2013-14 season, it’s likely that on reflection these two big wins against Dallas will be seen as the turning point. The Nuggets never relinquished their halftime lead, thanks mostly to 13-point quarters (third and fourth, respectively) from both Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson, whose heroics kept the Mavs at bay every time they tried to claw their way back into the game. (more…)

The Hidden Impact of Darrell Arthur

Through the first 11 games of the Nuggets season the impact that each newcomer has brought has started to become very clear.

JJ Hickson stinks at defense but has done a good job on the glass and thrown down a few poster dunks. Nate Robinson shoots a lot, at times shooting Denver back into games and at time shooting them right out. Randy Foye shoots and makes threes and doesn’t do a ton else, either good or bad.

And Darrell Arthur plays good pick-and-roll defense, and compared to the rest of the power forwards on the Nuggets roster, really good defense in general.

So far this season the Nuggets defense is 6.8 points per 100 possessions better with Arthur on the floor, as they give up just 102.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor compared to 109.3 with him on the bench according to 82games.com

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