Monday, December 17, 2007

Denver is So Mediocre

(Boulder-CO) I have seen pretty much all I need to see out of this Nuggets team of present. After getting thoroughly blown out by the Portland Trailblazers, 116-105, last night at the Pepsi Center it is pretty clear to me that the Nuggets, despite having a tremendous roster, will not be anything but a mediocre club this year. Denver has too many individuals on offense, not enough discipline on defense, no clear-cut team leader that is capable of doing the job at hand, and is not – I repeat – not going to accomplish what Stan Kroenke is paying nearly 15 million dollars over the NBA salary cap to have accomplished.

All you need to know about last night’s game was that the Portland Trailblazers mopped the Pepsi Center floors with our beloved Nuggets from opening toss to final buzzer. In the first, the Nuggets were outscored 30-25. In the second, the Nuggets were bullied, 31-24. In the third, the Nuggets were once again trumped, 31-24. And in the fourth, the Nuggets mustered what I like to call the old, “Too little, too late”, self-respect effort to outscore the Blazers, 32-24, in hopes of camouflaging a pathetic effort. Portland even led by as many as 21 points at one juncture of the game after Martell Webster made a technical free throw for delay of game on Marcus Camby.

Carmelo Anthony continues to struggle offensively after what I thought might have been a return to offensive normalcy against the Hornets two games ago. Against the Trailblazers, Anthony finished with 19 points on 6-17 shooting, but what irks me the most about Anthony’s performance was his inability to rebound when the Nuggets were getting abused on the boards, 41-31, overall, including 18 offensive boards by Portland. Why a guy as big and strong as Anthony can’t turn and box out his man is beyond my understanding; especially when nobody else on the team finished with more than seven rebounds.

Allen Iverson exploded, again, offensively notching 38 points, six assists, three steals, and two rebounds, but he still hasn’t found a way to get the rest of the Nuggets to play with the same fervor as he does, which at this point, is not his fault. AI is going out there every single night and leaving it all on the floor, and no one is stepping up their game to help him. Can you imagine what this team would look like without him?

From the Portland side of the coin, Brandon Roy torched the Nuggets for 26 points and a career-high tying eleven assists while Channing Frye added a season-high 20 points on 10-13 shooting. Furthermore, the Blazer bench outscored the Nugget bench, 49-22, with George Karl only playing reserves Eduardo Najera and Linas Kleiza any substantial minutes. Plus, the Trailblazers have now won seven straight games, which is only second best in the NBA to the Boston Celtics current eight-game winning streak.

Let this serve as your notice, Nuggets Nation: Denver will not be doing anything spectacular this season.

Bah humbug!


ThaAnswer said...

Any explanation for the short bench on the tail end of a back-to-back? Where was JR? We sure could have used him at certain points. For instance K-Mart trying to guard Roy or Outlaw? That should be JR's role at that point. Just awful to watch!

Nugg Doctor said...

The only man that could offer an explantion for only playing two guys off of his bench is George Karl. His entire rotation is mind boggling to me, and furthermore, his overall performance in general at this point has been suspect at best.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

BestCompanyEver said...

nugg doctor-

i have to disagree with the where would we be without AI comment.

My take: AI is a dominant offensive player and a gambler on defense. His defensive gambles often result in wide open layups that are (sometimes) bailed out by Camby swatting it. On offense, his domination is of both his own team's plays and the other teams defense.

I am sick and tired of watching 3 or 4 dudes stand around while AI makes some miraculous play. He has stifled our offense. He is extremely fun to watch, plays his ass off, but he is not a great team offensive player.

We just need to watch the Spurs to understand the value of team ball.

Nugg Doctor said...

I'll agree with you that there is a lot of standing around, but I think it needs to be pointed out, again, that the rest of the Nuggets are just not stepping up their level of play.

Carmelo is the only Nugget averaging more than ten points per game and he putting up enough shots as of late to garner a 30 point average. Meanwhile, 'Melo is slipping further and further behind AI in scoring while his averages in rebounding and assists continue to be poor.

Sure he may gamble on D, but I'd bet anything that he is badly outproducing (in points scored, steals, and in assits) the opposing team's PG nearly every night!

Honestly, do you think for even a second that this team would be better off still having Andre Miller (who, by the way, has not helped the 76ers very much at all) at the point?

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Jason said...

Nugg Doctor, thanks for continuing with your coverage of the Nugs. I agree with you completely that this team is mediocre. They just are not that good. I was at that game last night, and honestly...I truly believe the biggest issues with this team are:

1. George Karl. Why the hell on earth does Karl insist on guarding Roy with KMart or Najera. Both of those guys are decent defenders, but not on Shooting Guards!!!! He plays such a short bench, and honestly this team needs a defender on the floor. We have two of them in Bobby Jones and Diawara but yet Karl insists on sitting those guys.

George Karl also sits on his thumbs while the other teams go on big runs. Guess what Georgie, CALL A FREAKIN timeout!

His rotations suck, his sideline presence sucks, and most of all - he runs no semblance of an offense, he allows these guys to play undisciplined ball...and overall is a very poor coach.

2. AI. Love him or hate him, he affects this offense negatively. I disagree with you Nick on this fact alone...yes, AI is scoring at will lately, but at what expense? The expense of the rest of the offense!! He is a ball hog, and have you looked at the Nugs record when he is the leading scorer? Something like 2-10 (not exact, but it is pretty outrageous). Melo is playing poorly, I agree, but he is not getting the ball in places he is most comfortable and that is affecting his game. But your right about Melo not doing the other little things that are necessary for him to be a big time player.

But ultimately...this team is going nowhere until we get a new coach.

Kieran said...

I think the Nuggets are no better with AI than they were with Miller, and I think they were more fun to watch with Miller. They mortgaged their future with AI, and now they're going into foreclosure. If this team doesn't improve soon, Kroenke's going to blow it up, and for good reason. It's one thing to sink an extra 15 million into a team that's competing for a championship, but not for one that might struggle to make it into the playoffs.

Nugg Doctor said...


First off, thanks for the comment. Things with the Nuggets are certainly not good right now and you make some valid points. I looked into that record in regards to how the Nuggets fare with either AI or Melo leading the team offensively and found some pretty startling things.

First, when AI is the leading scorer the Nuggets are 4-9. When 'Melo leads them they are a much better 10-1.

Secondly, I couldn't agree more with you about George Karl. The guy does nothing but blurt out cliche statements while never seemingly addressing the true root of this team's problems, and the overall polish of this team just stinks.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Kieran said...

I'd love to see AD take over the team!

Nugg Doctor said...

I think that makes two of us, kieran, and I'd be willing to bet that there are many more out there in the Nuggets Nation that agree!

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Jason said...

I also agree with that statement about AD taking over.

My friend who was with me last night asked me that question - if you fire Karl...who do you bring in? Tough question, a really tough question. But I honestly think ANYBODY would be better than Karl right now. I have tried and tried to be patient with him, but the same crap keeps happening game after game.

Now I will be the first to say that the issues are not ALL Karl's fault. Bottom line - Melo and AI (our two superstars) are the most responsible for the lackluster play ON the court. Both are at fault for various aspects of the game.

However, Karl's got so many issues, I have to number them:

1. Lack of good rotations. He was playing guys like Diawara and Jones early in the season, and guess what, our defense was better! Duh!!! They are defensive specialists, plus in the case of Jones, he is a sparkplug for the team. Karl needs to get these guys on the floor when no one else seems to care about defending.

2. Poor timing, or should I say lack of timeouts cause the other team to go on unnecessary runs. Most good coaches call timeouts when the notice a shift in play, a shift in energy to not only re-adjust his players but cool off the other team. Karl NEVER calls timeouts till the run has gotten out of hand.

3. Probably the biggest issue - lack of offensive sets. He lets these guys roam on offense, and have heard him say that is what he wants. Well, coach, then don't get upset when our team is selfish, lacks good passing, and plays stand-around one on one b-ball.

4. Leadership. This team lacks leadership, the one guy who gets the team going when they are sluggish. And since we do not have much on court leadership, we need something, anything from Karl. He does not provide this, but rather sits on the bench sucking on throat chews! Lovely coach we have. Way to coach bud!!

Anyhow, my point in this is to say whether it is AD or anyone else, I truly think this team would benefit. Unfortunately a coaching change in mid-season typically does not result in good results come playoff time, so we may be once again screwed by this team underachieving.

NoYPi said...

I agree with a lot of what you guys are saying, with the exception of one thing. I don't think it is right to put such blame on the only person who is showing heart on this team. If Anthony is not getting the ball where he is comfortable isn't that the coaches and the "Point Guard's" job? Why blame Iverson? He is getting the most assists on this team to right? You guys are starting to sound like Charles Barkley.. An assist is an assist. If all of a sudden Nash was averaging 40 pts a game Charles would't say he will never be a "Scorer" because he looks to pass first right? duh?.

Anyway it doesn't matter how you look at it. With this much talent the only thing you can blame is the coaching and the Team's desire to win (heart). You guys say that everybody is standing around watching him, well that is the problem. Instead of watching him they should be emulating him. If he has the ball they should either crash the boards or make themselves open for a shot and make the shot for heaven's sake! Did you guys realize that AI's percentage is up? He is not taking as many bad shots anymore you know? You also talked about the stats of Wins/Losses depending on who is the leading scorer, what if it was Anthony who didn't want to win if he wasn't the Leading Scorer? He is young and a superstar, it's been known to happen. For some reason you just don't see the desire and effort that you would see from someone who wants to win from Anthony. Physically he is capable of what Lebron is, but he doesn't show the same type of heart. If his jumper is off he should double up his effort on everything else shouldn't he? Again, physically he can do it but he doesn't. What about the record of the team when AI has a double double? What does that mean? It means that the team wins when the rest of the team makes their shots therefore AI gets the assists, right.

What about the injuries? What about the coaching? What about JR? What about Von Wafer? Didn't he score like 40 in a game? etc... I could go on and on.

Bottom-Line: It is easy to blame 1 person, but these guys are failing as a Team, and that starts at the top (specifically the Coaching). Don't blame the littlest guy on the court with the biggest heart. Don't blame 1 person for the failure of a team. If they were in a row boat, AI would be the one zipping along like a motor and everyone else would be drinking coffee or smoking and taking breaks and watching him as you said. If you still think he is to blame, up to you.

Go TeamWork? =P'

I apologize for the verbal diarhea I just don't like the way the blame game is being played out.

Whew.. Thanks for reading..