Wednesday, September 3, 2008

39 Wins... Yea, You're Probably Right

(Boulder-CO) Here's a little ditty that should be able to dust the cobwebs off around here. The posting has been lean lately because I haven't had a whole lot of positive things to say so far through this off-season's transactions and I would rather give the new guys, and a few of the returning faces, a chance to surprise me before confirming my previous suspicions.
And apparently I'm not the only who thinks the Nuggets have taken a few steps back.
But 39 wins, really?
Basically, the Nuggets' entire season is hanging in the balance on what boils down to two players, Nene and Chucky Atkins. We know what 'Melo and AI bring, both good and bad. We also, now after a full healthy season, have an idea of what Kenyon Martin is going to give. But, where things get tricky is with Nene. If Nene stays healthy for the whole season the Nuggets can, at best, probably expect around a double-double of twelve and ten. Meaning, other guys (ie 'Melo, Kenyon Martin, and Chris Andersen) are going to have to each grab at least a rebound or two more than last year to make up for the rest of Camby's rebounding impact and you can forget about the blocks because their gone.
And if he doesn't stay healthy, well, can you say, "lottery"?
As for Chucky Atkins, we'll see if his presumed offensive boost is worthy of his defensive liability for a team that will most likely allow the most points per game next year. Remember, the Nuggets are in the position of having to start two guards who are both under six feet next year (not to mention one of their back-ups, Anthony Carter is merely 6'2") and I think you would be hard pressed to find another team in the NBA, or for that matter, any major conference NCAA team that is going to start a smaller backcourt.
What's everyone thinking with the season looming less than two months away?

8 comments:

Jason said...

Well I am way more optimistic than you...and also way less sad about Camby leaving.

In fact, I think Camby leaving is a good ole fashioned case of addition by subtraction. The dude, in my opinion, was just not that good.

Yes we will miss his rebounding and block shots, but if Nene is healthy, I think you will not notice that nearly as much as everyone thinks.

And once again, JR is the wildcard. Remember he was in the dog house the first 2/3rd's of the season and not playing much. I think he will have a break out season this year and average 18 ppg, and adding an extra dimention to this team we did not have last year. I predict around 50 wins once again this year. Yes, the team is not nearly as good as we would like it to be, and we are still a move or two away but they will not be that bad.

Stumbleweed said...

Start JR, and these backcourt problems are solved -- AI handles the ball 75% of the time anyway, so what difference does it make if he's officially the PG or not? JR's shown that he can handle the ball sometimes as well, so it would be a similar situation to AI and AC taking turns controlling the ball. It's so god damned annoying that we feel the need to pair AI with another tiny guard... There's a reason that NO other team in the NBA has an arrangement like that. Iverson-style combo guards around the league like Monta Ellis, Ben Gordon, etc. have big, strong PGs paired with them for a reason. If we don't start JR, I'm gonna scream. It's the only chance we have to be competitive -- give JR 30 MPG, hope Nene holds up, hope Melo feels motivated to rebound/defend, and get something from our stable of active yet non-scoring bigs.

Yeah, a reasonably healthy Chucky is an upgrade from AC (especially on the pick and roll with Nene/Melo), but starting JR would do wonders for this team. Unless we go against another team with a similar 2 small guard lineup, there is absolutely no reason to start another PG with Iverson. When we played the best last year was when AI was taking on the PG role properly and dishing out 11 or 12 assists (usually when finishers like JR, Kleiza, Melo, etc. were on the floor, NOT Anthony Carter). I don't understand why that isn't the gameplan.

Nugg Doctor said...

I agree with both of you when it comes down to J.R. stepping up his game immensely and winning the starting job for this team. However, the fact still remains that AI and 'Melo are going to combine for about 50 points per game, irregardlessly of how many times they have to shoot to get theirs, and that doesn't leave a whole lot of shots for anyone else.

So, Jason, the chances of J.R. being able to average ANOTHER 18 points per game are slim (70 points per game from three people would be amazing though!!!). With that being said though, J.R.'s greatest opportunity to make an incredible impact this year could be defensively. We all know he is 6'6" with freak athletic ability and with the same kind of focus he puts towards offense applied to defense his role should be solidified, and this should be the gameplan as Stumble said.

But...

J.R. emerging as a rock solid defender is putting a lot of chips down on yet another long shot. Just like Nene staying healthy and Chucky Atkins' offense out weighing his defensive liability.

As of right now I peg the Nuggets for a 43 win team that misses the playoffs in the uber-competitive Western Conference.

There! I said it!

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Nugget Guy said...

I would love to say that the Nuggets could pull out 50 wins, but it's just so hard to imagine given that they have so many holes. I've said it once and I'll say it again, the Nuggets are going to struggle this year. They will be exciting, but they won't be a playoff team...now, if they were in the east, even though it is improved, I would really think they could make the playoffs. But, like you pointed out Nugg Doctor, the west is super talented, and a team like Portland is probably going to emerge this season and nab the eight seed.

I am anxious to see what we have in Nene though...I hope he can hold up all year and really show us something, because he shows flashes of brilliance at times. If he plays well, the future is bright. We will have ample cap room to retool this team with a few stronger defenders to surround Carmelo, Nene, and JR. Then it will be on!

This season is really going to be an evaluation of what we have. I wouldn't be surprised to see anybody go after this year, Melo included. Let's hope the Nuggs can surprise us all and come together, but really, 41 wins sounds about right.

Nugget Guy said...

I would love to say that the Nuggets could pull out 50 wins, but it's just so hard to imagine given that they have so many holes. I've said it once and I'll say it again, the Nuggets are going to struggle this year. They will be exciting, but they won't be a playoff team...now, if they were in the east, even though it is improved, I would really think they could make the playoffs. But, like you pointed out Nugg Doctor, the west is super talented, and a team like Portland is probably going to emerge this season and nab the eight seed.

I am anxious to see what we have in Nene though...I hope he can hold up all year and really show us something, because he shows flashes of brilliance at times. If he plays well, the future is bright. We will have ample cap room to retool this team with a few stronger defenders to surround Carmelo, Nene, and JR. Then it will be on!

This season is really going to be an evaluation of what we have. I wouldn't be surprised to see anybody go after this year, Melo included. Let's hope the Nuggs can surprise us all and come together, but really, 41 wins sounds about right.

Mike said...

The Nuggets will still have a potent offense, but they've taken a clear step backward on D. Denver has done nothing to improve the perimeter defense, and the loss of Camby (and Najera) has removed their ability to cover up for those "ole" moments in the backcourt.

Kenyon Martin's contract (the Legacy of Kiki Vandeweghe) is still hanging around this team's throat like an anchor. I think we've likely seen the best of this team until K-Mart's contract is clear from the books and they can properly build around Melo, Nene, and J.R. I think they win 42-45 games this year if Nene plays 65+.

Sean T said...

All I know is that with my beloved Sonics now ripped from thier home and transplanted to the middle of fucking nowhere, the Nugs are now #1 in my book and I will be throwing 110% support behind these Nuggets (except K-Mart & AC, they suck).

I do think that this year has a lot of questions that simply wont be able to be answered until at least a month into the season. Can coach Karl crack down on the players... Will JR step up and play to his potential every night..... Does NeNe have HIV?

I have to stop now, thinking about the NBA just makes me sad. Fuck you Clay Bennett, Fuck you in the ass.

Go Nugs!

Robert said...

Hrm.

I don't like JR starting. It may be necessary, but I like him as a 6th man. He provides a spark, and if he's hot then when he comes off the bench it makes other teams reel.

Hell. It's a small team. Even if we get a full season of Nene and Kmart in the back court, with some Birdman thrown in just for the flavor, we're not going to contend with people with tall guards and big centers.

If anything, it became even more of a transition team over the offseason. So, here's hoping that AI's karma is set to pay off for an entire career of playing his heart out. Sisyphian struggles are something that dood understands.

Melo needs to start rebounding and playing defense more. He has to know now that defense will win championships. It's time he put the D back in Enver. Team leader? Well, sack up, homeslice. Rock the boards and take the charges, stifle some som'bitches.

But it don't look great.