What Is The Nuggets Plan Moving Forward?

What Is The Nuggets Plan Moving Forward?

What are the Nuggets to do? This has been the worst season the Nuggets have seen in over a decade. They are on pace to miss their second straight post season. The teams right above the Nuggets in their own conference are Sacramento, Oklahoma City, and New Orleans. They are heading for the 11th or 12th best team in that conference. What might be even more telling is their record in December, 5-11.  This Nuggets team has not lived up to the expectations that were left behind after a couple seasons of playoff basketball after Carmelo was traded.  (We are still talking about Carmelo and the Nuggets?!) This team is filled with role players and bench players outside of a couple of names but those players don’t crack the top 5, maybe top 10, in their positions. This team ranks 28th in points per game allowed, 16th in points per game scored and 19th in assists per game. They rank 20th in Offensive Efficiency and 22nd in Defensive Efficiency. The lsat stat that should put the nail in the coffin for this roster is their 25th ranking of effective field goal percentage at 47.5%, just above teams like Philadelphia, Minnesota, Charlotte, Detroit, and Indiana. None of those teams are expecting to make the playoffs. They are the most forgotten team in the league. A franchise that made the playoffs 10 years in a row prior to last season, a year in which they missed the playoffs, the Nuggets are on pace to have a worse season than last. What should the Nuggets do moving forward? Before we tackle this...
The Five: Point Guards

The Five: Point Guards

Now that we’ve all shoveled the mounds of used wrapping paper into the trash, finished off the last of the Christmas ham, and burped off the last of the eggnog, we turn a keen eye back to the doings in the NBA. December is almost at an end, and the league is heating up. Powerhouses are rising (and some are floundering), ensuring that our complete league power rankings are going to look a LOT different  when they’re updated next week. One thing is increasingly clear:  the point guard position is deeper and more impactful than it’s ever been. With the modern emphasis on strong perimeter play and spacing replacing plodding, predictable big man post ups of old, long gone are the days of the “traditional point guard”. The ’99 Spurs would have a tough time capturing a chip in today’s NBA with  5’10” Avery “The Little General” Johnson’s shaky jumper and pedestrian athleticism running the point. Spurs blogger Jesse Blanchard said it best in his fascinating breakdown of the value of Carmelo Anthony and Kawhi Leonard. The position on the court is different, but the concepts apply. “Basketball, more than most other sports, is a game of limited resources. Once you get past the NBA’s salary cap and punitive luxury tax versus Major League Baseball’s blank check payroll system and the NFL’s non-guaranteed contracts, basketball is still just five players against five players operating simultaneously with just one ball….  …There is no division of labor between offense and defense in basketball, just five players on each team shifting roles with each bounce of the ball. Every player has some responsibility to contributing in each facet of the game, and playing a...
How Good Are The Hawks? What Has Been The Impact Of Rondo? Who Is On The Move Next?

How Good Are The Hawks? What Has Been The Impact Of Rondo? Who Is On The Move Next?

The Hawks Are Soaring Is anyone paying attention to the Atlanta Hawks? Doesn’t seem like it if you follow daily discussions in forums or twitter. This Hawks team is positioning itself to have home court for the first two rounds of the playoffs. This might be the best team the Hawks have put together since the mid 90’s teams with Lenny Wilkens. This will be the 8th consecutive season the Hawks have made the post-season. Why is no one talking about the Hawks? It is probably because, to most, this isn’t a championship caliber roster. They’re 22-8 and sit in the second seed in the Eastern Conference. They have the 11th most efficient offense and 7th most efficient defense in the league. They truly only have two bad losses, against Cleveland and Milwaukee. They lost by thirty or more in both of those games. Two of their remaining 6 losses were tough battles with the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors. What makes the Hawks a dangerous team, in my eyes, is how their success is coming from a team effort. It sound cliché but it’s true with this team. They have five guys in double figure scoring each night along with a bench that has stepped up when needed. What is interesting with this team is it’s not that any player is posting career numbers. In fact, most of the players are below their career high in terms of points per game, rebounds per game or assists per game. Most starters, led by Paul Millsap and Al Horford are taking fewer shots and playing less...