Friday, November 30, 2007

We’ve Got Serious Problems

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets were completely humiliated tonight at the Staples Center, 127-99. There’s no sugar coating a loss like this because Denver is a team in a rapidly accelerating downward spiral that is the direct result of some very serious problems.

The first half was cruising along nicely until the Nuggets completely abandoned the defensive intensity that at one point had them up by as many as 17. From there all their transition offense dried up, the ball stopped being shared in half court sets, and the assists all but ceased as all the Nuggets problems were seemingly put under the national microscope that is the NBA on TNT. And those problems, in no particular order, are no structured offense, no clear-cut on floor leadership, a coach that seemingly doesn’t coach, obvious selfish individual agendas, no consistent bench rotation, and an apparent lack of trust between teammates. Furthermore, I’m so disgusted right now with the kind of basketball the Nuggets are playing that I’m going to go into extreme detail of each and every pitiful aspect I just mentioned.

Right off the bat I have to question if the Nugget even have any offensive sets. It seems like every damn time they come down the floor they either watch AI dribble out the majority of the shot clock before taking some off-balance shot attempt or they pass the ball to Carmelo on the wing before complete inertia sets in as they gawk at Anthony. Seriously, I started counting the number of times one of the aforementioned two scenarios played out in the first half and into the second, and was asked to stop by the other people I was watching the game with because around the 15th time down the floor they felt I was jinxing it. The Nuggets don’t even seem to run a basic pick and roll that you can find at any local high school game with regularity at this point and that segways perfectly into my next point.

The Nuggets have absolutely no on-floor leadership.

Anthony Carter is such a far cry from the kind of floor general this team needs it’s comical. In fact, it’s so funny that he might as well have the last name “Dangerfield” on the back of his uniform because he gets absolutely no respect. Most times he might as well just bring the ball up to half court and then take a seat because the other Nuggets don’t listen or react to anything he says or does. It’s just thank you very much for dribbling the first 40 feet of the hardwood for us and now it’s time for you to get out of the way! Oh no, we don’t need you to set a pick or, God forbid, set up a play for us, but maybe you could go wake George Karl up as we blow this lead and while you’re over there see if Von Wafer is thirsty. Plus, this way you’ll already be back on the defensive end of the floor when the opposition gets the rebound and starts running it down our throats while we cry, complain, and pout to the officiating crew.

Honestly, I know I’m not the only one watching these games with a surround sound system and if I have to hear Carmelo yell out, “Ohhhhh” one more time as he blows a lay-up expecting a call from the refs I’m going to be sicker than I was this whole last week.

The next aspect of this team that is enraging me right now is how George Karl never gets up off the bench. Just once I would like to see Karl get up and throw a clipboard or something to prove to me that he actually is an active part of the game and this team. He never works the officiating crew, never directly calls out an offensive or defensive command, and never serves as the eyes in the back of his players’ heads on defense (a trait that the once fiery Doug Moe and, more recently, Avery Johnson are famous for). And without a floor general, Karl’s laissez faire style leaves the Nuggets like a small ship without an engine in the middle of the artic ocean as the storm of the century is barreling down on them with each crashing wave of their opposition’s will power being slammed into their port and starboard sides.

Moving right along, we come to an even more aggravating trend that I’m starting to see more and more of. It seems to me that there are players on this team that have blatant selfish individual agendas. I’m going to use AI as an example, but by no means is he the only one that is guilty. At least three separate times on fast break opportunities AI had a clear passing lane that would have resulted in a for sure basket, but instead he tried to do it all himself and failed to deliver. A couple of times he did get to the free-throw line, but in some kind of sick and twisted NBA version of Murphy’s law he would miss one of the free-throws as a subtle reminder that the correct play wasn’t made. Now I’m sure that there are a million excuses as to why he, and others, didn’t make the obvious fundamental play at the obviously fundamental instance, but none of them are going to satisfy me or provide any justice to the continuously disappointing results the Nuggets are producing in their last five games of which they have lost four of. Additionally, tonight the Nuggets only finished with 18 assists, and if that doesn’t illustrate my point that guys are playing selfishly I just don’t know how else to paint a clearer picture for you. Oh wait, on second thought, yes I do! The other night against the Rockets the Nuggets only recorded eight assists! Do you need any more proof or is that tasty pudding enough for you?

Next on the laundry list of problems the Nuggets are going through right now is absolutely no solid bench rotation or contribution. Sometimes J.R. Smith is the first off the pine, while other times it is Linas Kleiza or Eduardo Najera. Believe it or not, we are now almost a quarter of the way through the season and there is still no solid rotation of reserves which translates into no established and reliable minutes for the sixth, seventh, and eighth man on the roster; meaning unclear roles for all of the aforementioned. In tonight’s game, the Lakers bench badly out produced the Nuggets reserves, 63-37, and to compound things related to this team’s obvious lack of chemistry even further, the Nuggets are going to have an even bigger playing time quagmire to figure out when guys like Nene, Chucky Atkins, and Steven Hunter are once again available to play!

Then you add in the fact that the Nuggets have only won one game against a team with a winning record and that Carmelo was ejected in the third quarter when he tried to put a frustration fueled choke hold on Sasha Vujacic and I hope you can resonate with some of my sentiments. Hopefully, ‘Melo will not face further punishment for this latest episode because with the way Denver is playing right now I don’t even want to think about what could be a very grim reality against the Clippers tomorrow night at home.

Good grief and good night, Nuggets Nation!


nanananana said...

It's great to have you back Nuggologist however I'll bet you still need rest after a Nugget's showing like last night! What a dismal showing. Perhaps coach Carl needs a future the same of Lubick? I agree with his lacadasical disposition and would love to see more emotion out of him either positive or negative but this candy sucking dude has to have more in him than that! I hope for much more in the next game or I throw in the towel along with them...ttfn

Anonymous said...

I am so speechless. 28points loss to the Lakers on national TV.

What the hell were they thinking/doing?

I don't have good feelings about tonight's game against the Clips!

Anonymous said...

I guess we can console ourselves that we didn't get thrashed by 45 points. You know its hard choosing which is poor a terrible team losing by 45 to a really good team. Or a team with 2 great stars being trashed by 28 by a subpar team whose great player didn't even have to play the 4th

Unknown said...

I said the exact same thing last night on a forum in regards to Karl and the Nuggets half court offense. It is so discouraging to watch a team with this much talent play so poorly. I was watching Celtics highlights last night and was jealous how well their "Big 3" have been able to play together in their short amount of time together.

Now we have the Clips and we all know how well the Nugs play on the 2nd night of a back-to-back.

Anonymous said...

Yep, no discernible rotation and these unpredictible starting lineups are killing us right now. Nobody knows what kind of time they're getting, nobody knows who's going to start (Yak, Kleiza, Carter), and George doesn't seem to know either, which is a BIG problem.

I honestly don't know what to say after the last few games. We're clearly not on the level of teams like the Rockets (who are a step below the Spurs/Suns/Mavs triumverate)... I know we have 2 starters (Chucky and Nene) injured along with Steven Hunter -- add in K-Mart's limited minutes and our frontline is basically decimated. But still, we showed in some of those games that we can dominate with a small, unselfish, running lineup (the Scramble Squad) as long as the defensive effort is there. When the effort's not there (and all our jumpers aren't magically falling), we just completely stagnate. The pick and roll took a hit with Nene out, but K-Mart and Camby (and Melo!) are perfectly capable of finishing around the rim (how 'bout that tip slam by Marcus??? Naaasty), so I don't know why we've seemed to totally abandon it.

I'm just at a bit of a loss right now. I like the way CArter's played, but he's clearly not the answer just because of the lack of control he has. I think it probably comes from him basically being a waiver wire kind of guy who's making about 1/20th the money that Melo makes -- if the team doesn't think he's a premier player (he's not), then they'll treat him as such, and that's what's happening from the looks of it. He hustles well and has been shooting and finishing capably, but if he doesn't have control of the team, just put AI back in at PG and start LK or JR, because at least the younger guys seem to listen to AI.

But really, I share your frustration with George's coaching style. Like I mentioned LAST SEASON, he's been checked out ever since the cancer scare with Coby and just kind of sits there and smirks when we get blown out. If George was a better coach, maybe the whole Zen Master routine would come off better, but he hasn't shown anything on any of his teams aside from early playoff exits and a certain stubbornness and lack of adjustment to game situations. My tolerance level has peaked...

Harlowgold said...

The Nuggets have got to get this fixed and fast - that was embarrassing!

Harlowgold said...

The Nuggets have got to get this fixed and fast, that was embarrassing. I think Karl has got to go, Adrian Dantley would be my pick for the Nuggets head coach.

Harris said...

Couldn't agree more, Doc. It seems like all these problems stem from not having a real point that commanded the that could throw alley-oops... I love AI, but fuck did we give up the wrong player to get him

Unknown said...

Call 911 George Karl needs to be hooked up to a EKG machine to see if he's got a heartbeat...Ohhhh no, flatline!
The way we're playing is a direct reflection of Karl's coaching, flat. The players won't play defense with their hands up in someones face. George Karl won't throw his hands up in disgusted. Karl won't run up and down the sidelines yelling out plays or just yell. The players won't run a play or just run. Karl just stands there on the sideline watching the game while he sucks on candy. The player's on the court just stand there watching AI dribble . George just sits there picking his nose. Meanwhile, the players can't run a pick and roll. Karl pretends he is a defensive coach. The team pretends they play defense. George doesn't have a heartbeat until we're down by 6 with 25 seconds left. The players ... well, you get the idea. All George Karl needs for Christmas is a portable defibrillator.

TimmyD02 said...

Hey Nugg Doctor,

I have been reading your BLOG for a while now (first time commenting though), and with all due respect I have to ask a question... do you even like ALLEN IVERSON? I ask this because it seems like you point out his "flaws" a lot more then you do Melo's. When Iverson does a GREAT job, sometimes you'll still mention what he did wrong in the game. When MELO does a great job, he gets praised for it and nothing else is mentioned. I understand that you said you were using IVERSON as an "example", but it seems like your ALWAYS using him as an example when it comes to talking about "selfishness". I've watched MELO continue to jack up shots when he doesn't have to as well. It's like MELO shoots a ball in the air just to prove he can shoot against TWO defenders. Everyone in the media keeps going back and forth about "who's TEAM this is" and "who's the LEADER" (Melo or Iverson), but when things go bad people blame EVERYTHING on IVERSON (just as I suspected would happen). He seems to always be the SCAPEGOAT. Don't get me wrong, I get annoyed sometimes too when I see Iverson dribbling too much in this TEAM system or shooting the ball in the air against FOUR defenders and at times NOT making it (his turnovers KILL me), but he also averages the most assist on the entire team. I have followed IVERSON since the SIXERS (he's the ONLY reason why I even watch the NUGGETS) and I see that he has altered his game slightly to try to fit in this TEAM system, he is defering more to teammates then he was in Philly and is sacrificing A LOT to be on this TEAM in DENVER. A.I could still be somewhere else getting 40 pts. a night (i'm sure this is something he wouldn't want to do all by himself anymore though), but him and Melo are doing a decent job of sharing the BALL with eachother, which makes me PROUD because some people SWORE they wouldn''s just that this TEAM as a whole should be BETTER then what it is. I understand that MELO was on the TEAM before IVERSON and is the FUTURE of the FRANCHISE, but IVERSON being on this team has brought a tremendous amount of REVENUE and a larger spotlight on DENVER it hadn't had before he got there. IVERSON is BOX OFFICE and has a CULT like following (Denver was SMART for attaining him). He plays the HARDEST on that TEAM or the entire LEAGUE for that matter, and seems to be the ONLY one on that TEAM that understands what it takes to win everynight (since he's been there, he hasn't taken a night off), if he's having an "off" night, he's hustling trying to get steals or running all around the court chasing down balls... I like Melo, but I still see him coasting through some games instead of getting right back on his man. I just feel like IVERSON should get a little more RESPECT then what he does on this site. I have to agree with what Charles Barkely said that i'm not so sure if MELO ment to choke that guy, I think they got tangled up and that guy deserved an OSCAR for how much he did to get him ejected... My whole point is that it's going to take BOTH IVERSON and MELO to take this team to the next level, I understand it's your blog, but as a reader i'm starting to feel like the blame is one-sided is all, when BOTH are supposed to be leading this TEAM. I can also say I think the reason why we see so many forced shots is because they have set this team up as to where the majority of the points flow through Melo and A.I., which is cool considering that they both can average 30 pts. a game, and that was the reason for bringing them together... but I also feel like Denver has a lot more fire power if used properly and could adopt the CELTICS method of just going with whoevers HOT that night (i'm not on the CELTICS bandwagon though, in the words of Q. Richardson, "they ain't won nothing yet" LOL). If DENVER had a proper half court offence that was used properly, and proper ball movement, teams wouldn't know who to go to defend... they would be confused which would certify how DANGEROUS DENVER could be.

Another thing is i'm starting to wonder about GEORGE KARL and how he is coaching this TEAM. I understand he's the professional, but they have entirely too much talent to be struggling. I understand they have had injuries (which is another reason they have been inconsistant), but the rotation is KILLING me! Last year this TEAM had a lot of reasons to NOT show up (the suspensions, the big trade, Kenyon being out), but they didn't make any excuses and still won 45 games. I think the most frustrating thing for everyone is that this TEAM has the potential to be something GREAT (all the pieces are there) it's just putting them together properly.... which is where KARL comes in. They've had Iverson playing out of position for so long (mainly because ALL their point gaurds were injured), he makes a decent point gaurd, but where he thrives is at the 2 (which is where I beleive they want him to start). Lastnight he got to start at his position, but then Karl had him back and forth at the point. I understand how talented some of those players are, but he can't continue to switch them around like that. When they got back on DEFENSE they don't know where to go, they were all over the place, at one point IVERSON ended up on BYNUM. WTF?! LOL!! Then Karl barely uses the BENCH!! When he finally puts players in it's usually too little too late. I can't wait for Chucky Atkins to come back and serve as the point, now i'm starting to see how well BLAKE fit in this system as point because he atleast got the ball in the right places and like you said the players listened to him... Nene ALWAYS being injured and coming into the season looking out of shape (after looking amazing last season) bothers me more then anything, because he is also one of the most important pieces to this TEAM, CAMBY can't continue do everything alone at all times. I understand that players will get injured and I don't mean to sound insensitive... but NENE is out with a thumb injury?!!! He better be staying warm on the treadmill getting into tip top shape during his time off... i've watched IVERSON play with broken fingers, toes, sprained ANKLES... and NENE's big ol' self is sitting out with a thumb injury.... that's almost worst then SHAQ complaining about his toe when he was on the LAKERS. I seen on another blog that they were questioning wether or not the NUGGETS should try to trade NENE to the KINGS for RON ARTEST (I know what you're thinking, we have enough explosive personalities on this squad, LOL), but you have to admit that sounds very tempting. Nene gets injured too much and now it's starting to just get annoying and redundent.... anyways, I just wanted to tell you I feel your frustration, yet I still have faith in the NUGGETS, because there's just too much there NOT to. I read a journalist say that the NUGGETS have all the pieces but the success of the NUGGETS depends on 4 key things 1.) Health, 2.) Iversons leadership (because he's more proven), 3.) Melos maturity and 4.) Karls coaching... I couldn't agree more. Once again, I enjoy your blog (i've been reading it sense IVERSON came to Denver), you're entertaining and funny and touch down on great points... I just wish you would give my boy A.I a break though, LOL! I do understand all about "constructive critisim" and understand everyone on this team needs it... but we all know IVERSON is proven to be one of the best at what he does.

Much Respect.

P.S, sorry for the long comment, like yourself I had to get the frustration off my chest. LOL!

Nugg Doctor said...

Holy shit that was the longest comment ever! But you make some good points, and yes at times I am very critical on AI probably because I see the game through a an old school point guard's eyes. 'Melo definitely makes his fair share of mistakes, that is for certain, but I guess, subconsciencely, I want AI to evolve his game more to a style that makes everyone better all the time rather than it being dependant on whether or not he individually is having a good game.

But let me say this: I love AI. Without him this team would still be struggling to be .500 and without still what I believe to be an extremely untapped potential.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

theanswerthetruth said...

timmyd02 you made a lot of good points. Iverson do make some unnecessary mistakes at times but you got to respect a guy who plays with that much heart. The passion he brings to the team is unquestioned.

I do question if the chemistry between AI and Carmelo and the team as a whole is still their. It might just be me, but I think egos are starting to come into play. Last week AI was named Western Conference player of the week and was in the top five in's "Race to the MVP" for leading his team to a 6 game win streak and ranking in the top ten for averages in points, assists, and steals. Since then they have lost four out of five games and have been shooting the ball under 40% a night.

I don't know what it is but on top of all there other issues that the nugg doctor mentioned, I'm starting to question their chemistry. Against the Lakers they almost looked liked they didn't want to be out there. Even when they were winning by 17 in the first quarter. They weren't fired up like they normally would be.

Unknown said...

I just found this blog today, nice job Nugg Doctor! It's a refreshing, honest look at our team.

My question is can we start referring to the Nuggets as the "Sixty-Win Nuggets" from now on? You know, since Melo and AI (and even George Karl a bit) had proclaimed they were a 60-win team. Maybe we can throw it back in thier faces and we'll have something else to look forward to other than a 44-win season and bounced in the first round.