Tag:Denver Nuggets
Posted on: August 4, 2010 8:49 am
 

Shootaround 8.4.10: The Z-Bo Conundrum

Posted by Matt Moore

  • Could Shaq be coming off the bench ? Sure, it makes sense, but the big guy has never come off the bench, not even last year in Cleveland. And there's been no indication that he's had some sort of ego-check over the past four months. It's much more likely that this could cause some friction off the bat. If the Celtics go on a losing streak, you're going to hear from O'Neal. The Shaq one. Not the Jermaine one. Man, this is going to get confusing.
  • The Grizzlies have a conundrum on their hands with Zach Randolph. Z-Bo wants a pricey new contract extension. The Grizzlies face a strict new CBA next year. The problem is that Randolph is Memphis' first All-Star since Pau Gasol and is credited with the lion's share of the success Memphis had last season. The fact that this is wholly incorrect (Marc Gasol's pinch post play and Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo's ability to spread the floor were what allowed Randolph room to work; Randolph is the tip of the spear) is irrelevant, his performance was clearly outstanding and he deserves a bump. But at his age, with his locker room concerns, and a hazy ceiling for this Grizzlies team, committing long-term may not be the best plan.
  • Magic Basketball lays out the comprehensive case for the prime of Tracy McGrady in NBA lore.
  • Roundball Mining Company reviews the Mark Warkentian era and comes to this conclusion: "The ultimate flaw in the Warkentien ear was the Nuggets inability to see the need to add another quality big man during the 2009-10 season." The lesson here is: It doesn't matter how much you build a team up, it's that one step back that kills you.
  • They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If Mike Wells is right , the Pacers are insane.


Posted on: August 3, 2010 8:11 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 10:10 pm
 

NBA on Christmas: 'Tis the season for good games

Posted by Royce Young

The big, highlight games have been announced . And other than the playoffs, the NBA's brighest stage is probably the Christmas Day games. So who gets the spotlight on the best holiday of all? And exactly how good are those matchups? Let's look (all times Eastern):

Game 1: Bulls at Knicks, 12:00, ESPN
A classic for Christmas Day. Of course the Knicks had to be included and matching them against the young, exciting Bulls is solid. Putting the game in Madison Square Garden is an obvious must and maybe, just maybe, the Knicks will be in the discussion in the East. Maybe.

Derrick Rose is a must-watch player and with Amar'e Stoudemire back with Mike D'Antoni, the Knicks will be a fun team to watch. Plus, I might be the only one that cares about such things, but I think both sets of uniforms look really good together on the court.

Score 3.5 out of 5 Santa Clauses

Game 2: Celtics at Magic, 2:30, ABC
A rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Finals and a rematch of last year's Christmas game that was played in Boston. No doubt we'll get a grinder as both squads are quality defensive teams, so this might be a decent game to have on as you take a light nap on the sofa following some Christmas ham.

There could be some added intrigue as well if Shaq finishes off signing with the Celtics. Any time Shaq and Dwight Howard square off, it's good stuff.

Score: 4 out of 5 Santa Clauses

Game 3: Heat at Lakers, 5:00, ABC
You knew the Heat would be involved for Christmas. And you knew the Lakers would be too. But having them play each other ? Brilliant.

The storylines will be plentiful in the lead-up to this game. Kobe versus the Miami trio. A potential Finals preview. LeBron versus Kobe. Bosh versus Gasol. Pat Riley's team back in Los Angeles. Christmas in LA. It goes on and on. Other than LeBron's return to Cleveland, this will probably be the most hyped game of the season and for really good reason.

Score: 5 out 5 Santa Clauses

Game 4: Nuggets at Thunder, 8:00, ESPN
Kevin Durant is now garnering the national attention he deserves, so the young star gets primetime on Christmas Day. The OKC crowd will be fired up for ESPN's cameras and the game will be a good one. It features two Western Conference contenders and Northwest Division rivals. It's Carmelo versus KD and Westbrook versus Chauncey. The Thunder and Nuggets almost always provide some drama and the potential for a late-game showdown between KD and 'Melo would be quite a late gift on Christmas.

Score: 4.5 out of 5 Santa Clauses

Game 5: Trail Blazers at Warriors, 10:30, ESPN
The is the second straight year the Warriors have been featured in this slot, with both games being played at Oracle. It's slighty weird that the Warriors get this game, but the team is always exciting and the home crowd in Golden State is always excellent. The Warriors will run and the Blazers will slow everything down and play at a ridiculous low pace. Contrasting styles, an amped crowd and Steph Curry are good reasons to stay up late and take this one in.

Score: 3 out of 5 Santa Clauses
Posted on: August 3, 2010 8:10 pm
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Posted on: August 2, 2010 7:45 pm
 

Why Shaq in Denver makes sense

Posted by Royce Young

Though Shaquille O'Neal has been rumored to be headed to around 25 teams, the big guy hasn't found a home for next season yet. A few places make sense, others don't but whatever the case, between money and potential playing time, Shaq can't find a team.

David Aldridge of NBA.com has a suggestion:
For the Nuggets to have any chance at competing in the West, they'll need someone who can put a body on Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming and others. Boston won't have Kendrick Perkins back for several months, and maybe Jermaine O'Neal can step in and give the Celtics all they need. But one more big body wouldn't hurt. Shaq would likely be a better fit with a veteran team that wouldn't put up with any nonsense. And, now, isn't Cleveland in need of someone who can put the ball in the basket? Just saying.
Let's see: Shaq wants to play for a contender. Check. Shaq wants minutes and Denver could use him. Check. Shaq wants more than the minimum. Well, not a check but at this point, but he'll likely have to come around. So check-ish.

But Aldridge is right. The Nuggets have no true size inside. Chris Andersen isn't a true center and Nene is more of a power forward. Kenyon Martin is injury-prone, Al Harrington isn't a real power forward and other than that, nobody else is a true interior player. Shaq makes sense, but of course, only for the right price.

The Nuggets prefer to run the floor and obviously Shaq doesn't fit in there so well, but as Aldridge points out, size is size. A big guy like Shaq isn't The Piece for Denver, but it's definitely the best remaining pickup the Nuggets could grab to bolster their front line.

Category: NBA
Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 1:57 pm
 

Offseason Reviews: Northwest Division

Posted by Royce Young



The Northwest Division has become one of the best and most competitive divisions in the league. There's rising teams, star power, a traditional great and then there's the Timberwolves. Regardless, it's a fairly fascinating groups of teams that all had quite different summers.

Utah Jazz

Added : Al Jefferson (trade), Raja Bell (free agency), Gordon Hayward (draft)
Lost : Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Carlos Boozer (free agency), Wesley Matthews

Philosophy : "Keep on keepin' on."

Lose one star player, replace him with another. It's just how this Jazz train keeps on a'rollin'. Utah scored Al Jefferson for relatively nothing and he replaces the exported Carlos Boozer quite well. The Jazz love that pick and roll and Jefferson should be able to team with Deron Williams to keep it at a high level. They also signed Raja Bell who is a pesky defensive player. However, losing Wesley Matthews stings a bit just because he was a rookie last year and appears to have a promising future ahead. But Utah just didn't want to pay the price tag to keep him.

Drafting Gordon Hayward certainly helps as he'll look to fill some of the void left by Matthews and Kyle Korver who signed with Chicago. This offseason was more of just scrambling to maintain in Utah and with the Jefferson deal, it looks like it should do that. A lot depends on the progression of Hayward because he'll see meaningful minutes, but the Jazz didn't let a mass exodus to Chicago burn down their walls.

Grade : B

Denver Nuggets

Added : Al Harrington (free agency), Shelden Williams (free agency), Brian Butch (free agency), George Karl's returned good health (hopefully)
Lost : Johan Petro (free agency), Malik Allen (free agency), Joey Graham (free agency)

Philosophy : "Staying good, but not great."

Denver is a team that feels like it's a piece away. Just one player to push them over the edge from good, competitive playoff team to great, actual contender team. So they signed Al Harrington. Is he that piece? Eh...

The reality is the Nuggets will be good. Their starting five has Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Harrington and Nene. That's pretty darn solid. Then instant offense with J.R. Smith off the bench, defense in Chris Andersen and quality players in Kenyon Martin and Ty Lawson. That's a pretty stout roster. But is that really good enough? This is clearly a 50-win team and it's destined for a top five seed in the West. But can it get to the Western Finals, which of course is the goal for a squad of this caliber? Again, eh...

Grade : C+

Portland Trail Blazers

Added : Luke Babbitt (draft), Eliot Williams (draft), Wesley Matthews (free agency), Marcus Camby (re-signed)
Lost : Martell Webster (trade), Juwan Howard (free agency), Travis Diener (free agency),

Philosophy : "Get right."

If there was a goal for the Blazers this offseason, it was simple. It wasn't to sign a big name or move up in the draft. It wasn't to restructure or make a big trade. It was just to get healthy.

Nobody dealt with the adversity Portland did last year. Greg Oden. Joel Pryzbilla. Brandon Roy. Nic Batum. Rudy Fernandez. All of those players missed at least some significant time because of an injury. And yet, the Blazers won 50 games and made the playoffs. That's... impressive.

But Portland didn't sit on its hands this summer. The Blazers re-signed Marcus Camby, who was huge for them down the stretch. The traded Martell Webster to grab Luke Babbitt, an extremely promising and gifted forward from Nevada. They inked Wesley Matthews to a big deal, who is someone that will give them a little scoring insurance and wing defender help. The turned over the front office and hopefully remedied any tense situations between ownership and management. Now there are talks they'll lose Fernandez who sees the logjam in the backcourt in Portland, but Matthews and Williams are worth replacements.

All in all, not a bad offseason for the Blazers. Is it enough to push ahead in the West? That depends on the factors that snuck up and bit them last year: health.

Grade : B+

Oklahoma City Thunder

Added : Cole Aldrich (trade/draft), Morris Peterson (trade), Royal Ivey (free agency), Daequan Cook (trade), Kevin Durant (contract extension)
Lost : Kevin Ollie (retirement), Etan Thomas (free agency), Kyle Weaver (waived)

Philosophy : "If you think it's good now, just wait until we grow up."

Most saw the Thunder's cap space and expected something. Something big. Something grand to take them from up-and-comer to favorite in the West. Maybe go grab Chris Bosh. Maybe make a run at Amar'e Stoudemire. Maybe flag down Carlos Boozer. Instead, Oklahoma City did what it does best: stuck to the plan.

Rather than blowing its extra cap room, OKC deferred to utilizing its assets to move up in the draft and fill a need from the ground up. This is a franchise that is absolutely committed to the long term and to player development. Most agreed the Thunder needed an tough, physical inside prescence to defend the paint and rebound. So what did they do? They went and got the best player at those two things in the draft in Cole Aldrich.

Another underrated move from OKC was acquiring Daequan Cook from Miami. The Heat were looking to dump any contract player to anyone to make room for basketball free agency apocolypse, so the Thunder got a former 3-point champ and shooting specialist at a discount price of a single second-round pick.

Oh, and one other thing: They signed Kevin Durant to a five-year extension. I'd say in terms of what the Thunder's goals were before the summer started and how it finished, they'd say mission accomplished.

Grade : B+

Minnesota Timberwolves

Added : Darko Milicic (re-signed), Michael Beasley (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agency), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Lazar Hayward (draft), Kosta Koufos (trade), Martell Webster (trade), Wesley Johnson (draft),
Lost : Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Al Jefferson (trade), Delonte West (waived), Ryan Gomes (free agency), Damien Wilkins (free agency), Sasha Pavlovic (free agency), Brian Cardinal (free agency), Alando Tucket (waived), what remaining respect David Kahn had from media and fans of the NBA

Philosophy : "..."

Honestly, you know what David Kahn reminds me of a bit? Someone that likes playing fantasy football just so he can call other players, offer up deals, trade players and sign others off waivers. Sometimes it seems like Kahn makes moves just for the sake of not getting bored.

No one can determine a real plan from here. My best guess at what he's doing is trying to put together a roster Ricky Rubio likes and then build a team around that. That's all I can figure. They have a bunch of draft picks and some cap space, but those things aren't great when the man in charge doesn't know what to do with it.

What exactly is going on there though? What's the point of signing Sessions and then signing Ridnour just to trade Sessions? I don't get it. Basically Kahn traded a player he signed for $16 million for Sebastian Telfair. Huh? Then of course the Darko deal. What? Then drafting Wesley Johnson only to bring in a player via trade in Webster that plays the same position. Come again? Then trading Al Jefferson, the face of your franchise, for a couple draft picks. Excuse me?

There's just no rhyme or reason to all this right now. I have no idea what to grade it because I have no idea what the questions even are. Did they get better? I don't know. Did they get worse? I don't really know. Did they set themselves up for the future? I have no idea.

If Sam Presti and Daryl Morey are playing chess and everyone else is playing checkers, right now it looks like everyone else is playing checkers and David Kahn is playing duck-duck-goose.

Grade : D-
Posted on: July 27, 2010 11:34 am
Edited on: July 27, 2010 11:36 am
 

What's actually in your food at the arena?

Posted by Royce Young

A report on Outside the Lines Monday looked in detail at stadium food and the vendors that serve it.  The report compiled inspection reports for 107 venues and the results were pretty interesting. Or maybe actually, disturbing.

For instance, remember how Ted Leonsis said he was going to take everything up a notch for the Wizards' home games to make fan experience as good as it can be? Well, maybe instead of urinal cup holders he should start with removing the mice droppings for his concession stands. One hundred percent of the vendors in the Verizon Center were found in criticial violation. Yikes.

Some of the worst scores in the NBA :
  • Utah Jazz: 50 percent found in critical violation (Hot dogs waiting to be served had dropped below safe temperatures at several locations)
  • San Antonio Spurs: 48 percent (Inspectors found 18 pounds of hot dogs that had expired more than 10 days prior.)
  • Dallas Mavericks: 40 percent (Expired milk, brown lettuce and employees caught drinking or eating while they were working in the stand accounted for some of the stadium's critical violations.)
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 53 percent (In a cooler, inspectors found raw meat and seafood stored above ready-to-eat tacos during a prior inspection.)
  • Charlotte Bobcats: 73 percent (At one location, inspectors found debris under a slicer blade and pulled three pans that needed to be cleaned again.)
  • New York Knicks 61 percent (At one stand, inspectors found "53 mouse excreta" including 38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit.)
  • Orlando Magic: 75 percent (At a location that sells fish, inspectors found potentially hazardous ready-to-eat food not consumed/sold within a week of opening/preparation.)
  • Miami Heat: 93 percent (Critical violations included several safety issues related to electrical wiring and such equipment as gas boilers.)
  • Denver Nuggets: 67 percent (At one bar, inspectors found phorid flies, sometimes called coffin flies, in a bottle of cognac.)
So who can't wait to take their family to a ballgame and have some nachos with a side of phorid flies? Me either!

Some of the best were the Bulls and Raptors who had a stellar zero percent found in critical violation, the Thunder, the Lakers and Clippers, the Cavs, the Rockets, the Grizzlies and the 76ers. All of those scored under 20 percent.

Nobody goes to a game thinking they're getting a five star meal. And every food establishment battles these issues. But regardless, it's eye-opening. Knowing that mice poo could be near your hot dog in Madison Square Garden or raw meat next to some tacos in Portland is a little disturbing. Well, scratch that. A lot disturbing.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 4:14 pm
 

Carmelo Anthony 'serious' about Nuggets offer

There have been rumors about one of the big spender teams in this free agency period making a play for Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, a rumor sources told KB were "laughable."

As funny as those talks of Denver trading away the franchise might be, apparently the discussions between Melo and the Nuggets' three-year, $65 million extension is no laughing matter.  The Denver Post reports that Anthony is "very serious" about the extension offer, but also wants to see the Nuggets add another frontcourt asset before he commits. Which is understandable, given Kenyon Martin's continually failing health and Nene's offensive limits. Let's not even start to discuss Birdman's offense.

Melo's getting married in New York on July 10th to longtime girlfriend La La Vasquz on VH1 . He also selling his Colorado home , but there's been nothing to suggest he's relocating, only moving closer to town.

Anthony is in a similar situation as Chris Paul, where he's committed to the team that drafted him, but has also seen a recent high point (in Anthony's case, making the Conference Finals in 2009) fall off hard in following seasons.  The Nuggets obviously have the very understandable excuse of George Karl's illness, but it doesn't change how far off the Nuggets seem now. Their second star, Chauncey Billups, is getting older, and the Nuggets don't really have a secondary option.

But just as we've seen so far in this free agency period, the logical answer is always to stay home, where you can get the most money and be comfortable. So we may see Carmelo get locked up for the next four years which would give the Nuggets a confidence in their core to pursue pieces to put next to him.
Posted on: June 30, 2010 11:17 am
 

Is Carmelo Anthony on the trade block?

With all this talk of a Carmelo Anthony extension, could it be that the two sides are so far apart they're considering a trade?

Hey, sure, we've speculated on every other major player in the NBA getting traded, let's not leave 'Melo out!

The Denver Post reports that the Denver Nuggets may be willing to consider trading Anthony if the team cannot reach an agreement on an extension with him. The report states that there is a three year, $65 million contract extension on the table, but that if Anthony rejects it, the Nuggets refuse to find themselves in the same position as the Heat and Cavaliers, desperately trying to clear space in order to woo Anthony back home, or the Raptors, simply accepting that their franchise player is gone.

So just to recap, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amar'e Stoudemire are all free agents (most likely) considering new teams, and Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul are being considered for trades . We're realistically looking at the possibility of a completely different NBA landscape in the next 12 months, and that's before we look at the probable lock-out in 2011-2012.

Crazy times in the NBA.

-Matt Moore
Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
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