A list of Mile High Issues

  It is easy to preview a team and think of how great they will be before the season starts. But let me tell you something, it is hard to criticize and pick at a team such as the Denver Nuggets who in my opinion are at least a 5 seed any given year with the squad they have. I like the Brian Shaw coaching decision. He was coached by Phil Jackson and held a assistant job with the Lakers as well. He has a good philosophy on the game but needs to implement the defensive point of view with this team. Its like here we go again with another team who can score lights out but once again…you know the drill already I will not even mention it! The Nuggets are interesting in the fact that they have so much talent on the starting five and even Mozgov has turned out to be a solid center. Lawson is average defender but he hustles hard and thats all that matters. Foye is mediocre as he loves the three ball, just not defending it. Faried I love with his dreads and tenacious defense and rebounding skills. Hickson can either come off the bench or start and he is a rebounding machine as well. Mozgov is okay defensively, more tall than strong and a threat in the paint. Chandler I never see as someone who I really think can shut a team’s number three down for the night. Obviously having someone like Lawson can instantly ignite your team very quickly. This team gets beat at its own game, the fast break and transition. It is quite nerve racking to be beat at your own game, and that is what the Nuggets are dealing with. A team does not need to have a Lebron James player defensively wise, they just need to play good as a unit. Knowing who is cutting to the basket, calling picks out, and obviously rebounding and the intangibles such as steals and blocks amount to a quality foundation of defensive basketball. There is such thing as a balanced team in the NBA although some teams do not like to do it. The reason why they don’t do it? I think it is a pride thing; too much is image and brand related  such as what is going to put fans in the seats. So with a team like Denver, they have a show-stopping lineup that can run for days on the court but don’t run back on D. Very frustrating for Shaw, but he has the offseason to figure out what needs to be done. The offensive talent is there undoubtedly, now lets take a look at the bench and contract issues. Lastly, before moving on, I would like to mention they have 6 players in double figures and one with 9 and another at a good 8.4. Vesely was included in a trade this year, but at 3 million I hope they get rid of him and free up some space. There is no need for him plus they have guys like Mozgov, Darrell Arthur and Anthony Randolph at the 4-5 position. Gallinari is getting 10 million even though he has been hurt. I would be too harsh to say they rid him, although I do not see much room for him on this team. He is a slow, minimal defensive and intangible player who shoots 3’s and wastes his size. Javale McGee will be back and will anchor that defensive frontline with Faried down low. That gives you Hickson and Mozgov at a 4-5 or 5-5 sub off the bench. That is already looking good. At the small forward they also have Quincy Miller, who has been playing quality minutes this year despite injuries to others. Here is where it gets tricky though, the guard situation! Lawson obviously starts on any NBA roster. Nate Robinson hurt this year but everyone knows no matter where he goes he will give you instant energy and quality minutes and points too. They have a 21 year old Frenchman by the name of Evan Fournier, who in my own eyes view as a future star in this league. He is a prospect you want to keep for the future coming. That leaves Randy Foye and Aaron Brooks left. I did not mean to leave them last thinking back at it, but maybe my zen knowledge predicts they will be gone by years end. Brooks picked up in a trade to help fill the void on Robinson’s number, but at 884,000$ and Foye at 3$ millon, I do not expect these guys to stay. Maybe Foye but even then what does he do beside shoot threes? If you are trying to win with the Nuggets you have your big men and guard at point, a quality bench, just need a few changes on the defensive end and not be afraid to lose your image as a team. Just because it is not attractive basketball does not mean you cannot win, ie. Chicago Bulls, enough said.

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