Saturday, January 20, 2007

Nuggets vs. Rockets Preview: Again and Kinda

(Boulder-CO) Since the Nuggets already played the Rockets last week, I feel that I would be redundant to go into how I feel about the Rockets, their weaknesses and strengths, again at nausea. My feelings about this game are that the Nuggets need to continue to play like they did last night if they want to be in this one in the final quarter with the Rockets tonight.

Instead I would rather share a couple of things about this Nuggets team that I found while sleuthing around’s NBA statistics. A couple of the things I found point to some interesting dichotomies about the Nuggets that are fitting for the over personality of the team, figuratively speaking.

The Nuggets are currently the fourth highest scoring team per game in the NBA at a good clip of 104.9 points nightly. I find that this stat is pretty amazing and feel that credit is due to the guys that have stepped up during all the suspensions that had to be served. If you would have asked me what was going to happen after a month of Carmelo-less basketball in Denver. I would have expected the Nuggets to drop out of the top ten. The only problem is that the Nuggets philosophy has been too one sided as they are fourth worst in the NBA in points allowed (103 points per game). They have the defensive capabilities to be much better if they decide to take stock in the other side of the floor, and such commitment is the difference between championship contender and pretender.

The next area of concern is rebounding. The Nuggets are a walking contradiction because they are the second best rebounding team in the NBA, behind the Knicks, but they seem to also have trouble keeping the other team off the boards. The Nuggets are snatching 44.7 rebounds a game, but once again like in scoring, are allowing the sixth most boards to be cleared on them (42.9). So, either both teams more often that not shoot poorly when Denver is involved or the pace of the game is fast when Denver is involved and the extra rebounds are just a result of more possessions. I’ll let you make the call.

The same kind of story seems to be with assists too. The Nuggets are fifth in the league in team assists while being fourth worst defending the pass. Once again, this is a result of not committing to the defensive end of the floor. If the defensive intensity were to be raised the opposition wouldn’t have those easy passes to make.

Now let’s take a look a steals. True to form the Nuggets are first in creating steals, but also last in giving them back. At least they are stealing 8.7 and only getting robbed 8.3 times a game, right? Hey what can I say, I like to be optimistic! Unfortunately there is no optimistic way to look at the statistical category of turnovers, but the same type of dichotomy exists. The Nuggets are the second best team in the NBA when it comes to creating turnovers (16.9 per game). However, they should be ashamed of themselves for being careless with the ball so often to be ranked dead last in the league in coughing it up (16.6 per game).

So to return to the overall conclusion that I wanted to share with the readership is this: The Nuggets, while being very good in some aspects of the game, are lacking the discipline it takes to understand both sides of their own concepts. It is frustrating for me to watch a team that works so hard stealing the ball to be so consistently careless with it. Likewise, it is just as tedious to watch a team that could win by ten points a night with their offense be in so many close games because of their lack of defense. This helter skelter style is not going to get it done against the playoff bound teams because those teams find ways to cut you with both sides of the blade. The Nuggets have the personnel, and the chemistry is obviously developing, but it will be fine tuning that this team is in need of that will put them in with the elite teams, and ultimately, in the hunt.

1 comment:

Seth said...

I don't know what the numbers are, but I think that Steve Blake should be an improvement over Boykins in the turnover department. He looked very crisp the other night against Cleveland.