Thursday, August 30, 2007

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

(Boulder-CO) Unfortunately, I will still not be connected to the Internet until tomorrow night, but rest assured when the technician comes out to my new residence he/she will not be allowed to leave until I am able to access The Nugg Doctor and get back in the saddle again. This extended down-time that I have had to endure has been a real pain in the you know where and I can't wait to get back on the beat.
Now, I know I promised to continue to cover the FIBA games, but I was a little bit overzealous in doing so seeing how I now live twenty minutes from civilization and the games typically do not get over until about 11 0'clock my time. Excuses, excuses, excuses - I know- but by judging how the site traffic numbers look there are still plenty of you who love the Nuggets and The Nugg Doctor.
So, with all of that being said... If you haven't been able to follow the FIBA games this is all you need to know:
1. The USA is STILL being led by Carmelo Anthony in scoring, despite 'Melo having some trouble sticking the landing after a monster throw-down which resulted in him down on his backside after coming down awkwardly and bruising his heel. The minor injury kept him from playing against Uruguay last night, but the heel will not keep him out of the final rounds of the competition.
2. Unfortunately, I have to report that Nene looks out of shape again and his performances for Brazil have been less than expected in hindsight of how he finished last year. Somewhere Steve Hess is getting that chicken and fish diet ready for Big Brazil.
3. The USA will face undefeated Argentina tonight at 10pm MST in what will easily be the toughest match-up of the games. Argentina has extraordinary team play and is also an outstanding outside shooting team. Don't be surprised if the USA is in a dog fight during the first half before the physical play of the Americans wears them down.
Other than that I will be back with a vengeance Friday night when my life resumes some normalcy. I have so much on my mind in anticipation of the 2007-08 Denver Nuggets campaign and can't wait to get some of it off my chest.
Go Nuggets!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

DerMarr Signs Overseas

(Boulder-CO) It was brought to my attention via this article about a week ago by my main man, Ryan, at that DerMarr Johnson will, and has, signed to play basketball overseas next season. Ryan, a huge D.J. fan, was distressed to hear the news, but we as Nuggets fans knew that this was inevitable.

DerMarr Johnson had not proven to be a consistent valuable player to the Nuggets in the last two years and it was time for both parties to go their separate ways. In addition to his lack of consistent play, the Nuggets may already have upgraded the reserve guard position with the acquisition of NBDL star Von Wafer.

Best of luck to DerMarr wherever the basketball dollar takes him!

Nene Not a Factor in Game One for Brazil

(Boulder-CO) Team Brazil earned their first victory of the 2007 FIBA games yesterday by defeating Team Canada, 75-67. Brazil was offensively paced by Leandro Barbosa’s game-high 30 points, while Nene only chipped in seven points and three rebounds.

My take is this: While I would like to see Nene be the leader of Team Brazil in both scoring and rebounding the quick run-and-gun FIBA style of play is not suited for Big Brazil’s personal style of play. And to compound things, having a guy as fast as Leandro leading the way makes the situations that much more difficult for Nene. In addition to theses factors, all I really care about in regards to Team Brazil is that they return Nene to the Nuggets injury free and in great physical condition for the 2007 Nuggets campaign. We all witnessed what kind of player Nene can be when he is in shape, and to have that kind of weapon next year on the Nuggets from the word go is going to be invaluable to the franchise.

Statement Game: USA vs. Venezuela

(Boulder-CO) My analysis of the Team USA vs. Venezuela game is quite simple indeed, and to not much surprise to me or any other Nuggets fan, Carmelo played an intricate part in the dominating victory the boys from the states put on the boys from South America. So, to be concise, the USA ripped Venezuela from opening tap to final buzzer in a contest reminiscent of the 1992 Dream Team.

Carmelo Anthony led all Team USA scorers with 17 points to fit nicely with his four boards in just a quick 16 minutes of play. I would also like to point out that Bill Walton called Carmelo, " A natural player", in regards to how easy the game comes to him within the context of competition. And last night's game against Venezuela was a perfect illustration of Walton's point. Carmelo didn't force the issue offensively and still finished with an impressive box score in a meager amount of floor time. Quite simply stated: 'Melo just gets it done! And with Team USA's tremendous upgrade at the point guard position with Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups... Anthony's flow seems that much more effortless.

Furthermore, the leadership roles of Team USA seems to be much more focused so far in these FIBA games compared to last year's with the aforementioned additions at point guard and with the addition of one Kobe Bryant. Guys seem to know their roles much better this time around as was evident in last night's, 112-69, blowout.
And for those keeping track... Carmelo remains Team USA's leading scorer if you factor in the Blue vs. White scrimmage.

Why Have I Been Gone?

(Boulder-CO) Ok ok, so I know that the faithful readers of this blog have probably been wondering where in the hell I have been for the last ten days and there is an answer to that question. I have been in the process of a major residence relocation and it just happens to be that where my domicile is located is way out in the sticks without any readily available Internet access. I am working on the problem right now, but until the quagmire is fixed I will be posting FIBA recaps for Team USA (mainly due to Carmelo's continued leadership role) and Team Brazil (mainly because Nene is a beast) the morning after both teams play. Sit tight for the next 90 minutes and the goods will be delivered.
I appreciate your continued patience. Not having the Internet right now is harder on me than it is you, trust me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

SCI Shows (Just for Haig)

(Boulder-CO) It was cheesy. It was very cheesy. As many of you probably have read, seeing how it is posted below, I attended two of the final four shows the String Cheese Incident will ever play again at Red Rocks over the weekend. Some old friends reunited, and some new friendships were forged as I camped out at Bear Creek campgrounds just minutes from the show where I had a great time both at the venue and around the camp fire.

Friday’s show was spectacular. Cheese played my favorite song, “Roll Over”, in a rendition that lasted nearly twenty minutes along with other favorites (including a Talking Heads cover), but we all knew that something even bigger was going to happen when at set break Michael Kang ,(the mandolin, violin, and guitar player), announced there was a big surprise in store for us. And that surprise, my friends, was probably the most entertaining version of Michael Jackson’s, “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough”, in an encore that was simply out of this world. There was even a Jacko impersonator belting out the lyrics as he moon-walked and crotch-grabbed all over the stage! Needless to say, I was dancing like nobody was watching and when the house lights went on I was thoroughly satisfied with the first night of entertainment.

Fast forward through a scorching hot day filled with fishing, swimming, speculating as to what String Cheese would follow Friday’s show with, a little bbq, and before we all knew it we were saddled up and back at the show. Only this time there was a huge lightning storm off in the distance south of Red Rocks and even more surprises from the band…

For starters, the shows up to this point had been all about the music with little-to-no entertainment other than the light show being projected on the rocks and three large projection screens behind the band. I hadn’t really noticed this facet of the concert was lacking in the choreography department until scantily clad fan dancers suddenly appeared on either side of the venue as bubbles were pumped from the center of the taping section; thus adding a whole new dimension to the entertainment. Furthermore, as if the surprise dancers and bubbles were not enough, a laser show erupted out of nowhere and hyped the crowd into a frenzy of excitement!!! So, to paint the most accurate picture of the scene: there was an absolutely awe-inspiring display by Mother Nature in the form of lightning that seemed to illuminate the southern horizon like a distant strobe light flashing on the night's jet-black sky, simply mesmerizing incandescent fan dancers that were in perfect synchronization, and an impromptu laser show to compliment the already extremely impressive set list that started with another favorite of mine, “Little Hands” and was followed by auditory masterpieces like “I Know You, Rider”, “Rivertrance”, “It Is What It Is”, “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”, and “Hotel Window”.

But, the Cheese wasn’t done with just the first set of surprises!

The jams would crescendo and rebuild and as this would occur the incandescent fan dancers disappeared only to be replaced by rope-light jellyfish, fire hula-hoopers, trapeze performers, and the laser show consisting of a fluorescent green dancer blasted on the rock walls of Red Rocks all at different times throughout the remainder of the show! And as my friends and I left the venue we were all stunned due to what we had just been a part of. The show was so good. Not just the music, but rather the whole experience. The lightning, the dancers, the lasers, the covers, the old favorites. Saturday night had it all.

But, for one reason or another not a single one of us were able to attend the final show on Sunday night, (except for my new friends A.J., Martin, Max, and the Tim "Show" from Texas who I haven’t yet had a chance to talk to), and the weekend was over. Old friends, new memories. New friends, same old String Cheese Incident.

Too bad it’s all over now maybe to never happen ever again! Thank God I was able to see the String Cheese Incident twice more. It was an experience that I will surely never forget and a set of concerts that rank in the highest tier of entertainment memories I have so far in my life.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I'm Out Until Sunday!

(Boulder-CO) I will be away from the blog for the next couple of days because The String Cheese Incident's last set of concerts EVER will be going on at Red Rocks over the weekend. Gotta get my summer festival on. So, if there is any Nuggets news over the weekend I'll break it down on Sunday upon my return.
Hopefully, I will not be kidnapped by super-hippies and the town of Morrison, CO will not have to ban the Cheese from ever returning, if they do ever decide to reunite after this set of shows, much like the lifetime ban Morrison imposed on Phish. I'll be sure to take some pictures and if you're wondering... I'll be the one with the yellow Nuggets headband on!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Two Minutes or Ten; Martin to Play in Opener

(Boulder-CO) Marc J. Spears of the Denver Post is reporting that Kenyon Martin will be ready for contribution, in whatever capacity that may be, in the Nuggets season home opener on Halloween, 2007. The article is very well written and I encourage all Nuggets fans to go read it simply due to the fact of how optimistically it presents Kenyon’s pending return.

I’m not going to steal Marc’s thunder and give you any quotes or summarization of the article, but I will say that I like the idea of Kenyon Martin donning his old number “4” from his days as the most dominant, athletic, and intimidating player the University of Cincinnati has produced since the turn of the millennium. I’ll admit that I was a huge Kenyon Martin fan back in the day and still stand firm that if he had not broken his leg that March the Bearcats would have won the national championship.

Kenyon needs to look at this upcoming season as a chance to transform from the clear-cut starter into the go-to guy off the bench in the Nuggets front court rotation. If he can do that, he gives the Nugget big men the reassurance they need so they can play extremely aggressive on defense, challenge every shot, not give up soft lay-ups, and most importantly make poor free-throw shooters earn their worth at the charity stripe while knowing they can rely on Kenyon to come off the bench and hold things down.

Just think about the possible combinations the Nuggets have in their rotation with Marcus Camby, Nene, and Kenyon Martin all on the roster: First off, you know that Nene can play either the four or the five with equal effectiveness on offense or defense and having that kind of flexibility is crucial when a team is in this kind of three-way split for minutes. Secondly, Marcus is sensational when playing help-side defense and probably makes 70% of his blocked shots in this fashion anyways making him a dual threat too. Then you have Kenyon, who is most adept to playing the four spot, so that means that there is no two-man combination that puts the Nuggets at a disadvantage. Marcus, Nene, and Kenyon can all do different things offensively and defensively; leaving George Karl in a game-by-game, situation-by-situation scenario that he is going to have to evaluate in the heat of battle. But anyway you look at it the Nuggets have the personnel to adapt to the opposition or whatever is working for them at any given time.

And if any of my foresight, or Kenyon’s alleged rehabilitation progress, is accurate that may put Eduardo Najera or Reggie Evans on the trading block by about the 20-game point in the season in an attempt to bolster the point guard situation that still seems a little bit unstable in my opinion. So, starter or not, Kenyon Martin’s impact to this team is still one to watch because if he can transform into the role that I just described he could be the missing piece of the puzzle in the Nuggets attempt to put a championship caliber product on the table. But, if he resists this metamorphosis he will continue to leave the Nuggets financially tied to the gigantic anchor that is his unmovable contract.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

J.R. Smith High School Throwback

(Boulder-CO) Here is another great clip of J.R. Smith back in his high school days. He and Dwight Howard are shown at the end of the clip post McDonald's High School All-American game. The game footage is of J.R. playing at the Dean Dome at the University of North Carolina, where J.R. would have attended college ball if he didn't jump right to the NBA, with the first set of bleachers pulled back.

Can Danny? Thinks the Nuggets CAN!

(Boulder-CO) Make it out of the first round of next year’s playoffs that is. The good folks over at Can Danny? have the Nuggets currently ranked in the four spot behind the Spurs, Suns, and Mavericks for Western Conference supremacy. My favorite quote from their analysis is, “Nuggets fans have to be happy that the team hasn't made a financially motivated deal and dumped one of their key players to save money. The flip side to that, of course, is that while the team made no deals to cut salary, they also aren't looking to add salary either.” Bang it right here to check the entire post.

Historical Glimpses on Hoops Addict

(Boulder-CO) One of the best hoops sites on the Internets,, is running some of my most recent Historical Glimpses during the entire month of August. So, if you haven't checked out Ryan McNeill's amazing site this is the perfect opportunity for you do so and also to learn more about the legends of the NBA!

The Nuggets Nation Thanks Danny Ainge

(Boulder-CO) With still nearly 90 days until the start of the regular season I thought it was about time to give Danny Ainge a big “Thanks” for all that he has done for the Denver Nuggets so far this off-season. Not following my train of thought? Let me break it down for you: Danny Ainge and the rest of Celtics management finagled, maneuvered, begged, borrowed, and some might even say stole Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett from the Sonics and Timberwolves. Both of which are conference rivals of the Nuggets and both teams now have no proven leader for their respective squads!

This means in the upcoming eight games the Nuggets will have to play against said opponents there will be two fewer NBA All-Stars to contend with as both teams try rebuild (and recover) from the Celtics nabbing their superstars.

Last season, the Nuggets played the Timberwolves even and split their four games with Minnesota two apiece. It could be argued that both Nuggets losses to Minny were in fact due to Kevin Garnett being the deciding factor in the game(s). In the November 3rd match-up with KG, the Big Ticket smothered the Nuggets with 27 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks, two assists, and a steal. It was easily the biggest performance by any player of the game and, in my humble opinion, made all the difference. Furthermore, on February 14th the Nuggets suffered another loss to the T-Wolves in a game where KG ripped Denver for 17 rebounds (seven on the offensive glass), 19 points, three assists, two steals, and a block in another apex performance leading to a 99-94 loss for the Nuggets. So, as you can see, the Nuggets should be very excited about playing the Timberwolves four times next season without the services of Kevin Garnett to contend with. Good ol’ Danny Ainge, he’s always got our back!

Now onto the Seattle Supersonics and how the Nuggets will probably win at least three out of four pending match-ups in the 2007-08 season. First of all let me say that I truly do feel that Kevin Durant will EVENTUALLY become an amazing talent in the NBA, but the Sonics will have some growing pains to endure in the next two years, at least, before they recover, rebuild, and restructure their franchise to the evolving Durant’s style of play.

The way I see it is the Sonics lost Rashard Lewis to the Orlando Magic and Ray Allen to the Celtics in a draft day trade that ultimately makes them a whole lot weaker of a team overall than last season. Lewis left the Sonics after nine seasons when the two teams completed a sign-and-trade deal. The Magic sent Seattle a conditional second-round pick, while the Supersonics earned a trade exception believed to be in the $9 million range. Jesus Shuttlesworth AKA Ray Allen was acquired by the Celtics on draft night for the fifth overall pick, which turned out to be Georgetown forward Jeff Green, along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak.

Durant plays the same kind of game that Rashard Lewis does, but is about three years behind Lewis in maturation. They are both perimeter players who lack the strength and durability to last very long down in the trenches of the paint. But at 6’10”, both men can shoot from the outside, but just like Lewis did, Durant is going to have to adjust to the physically, speed, and defensive schemes of the NBA game and I would be very surprised if KD will be able to put out numbers even close to Rashard’s third year clips of 14.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in either of his first two seasons in the NBA. Plus, Seattle fans may hate me for this, but there is no way that Jeff Green, Wally, and Delonte West are going to compensate for the All-Star services of Ray Allen. Don’t even hold your breath up there in the great northwest because it just isn’t going to happen. Thanks a million, Danny!

So all of this should mean that the Nuggets will most likely have their way with both the Timberwolves and Sonics this year in the combined eight (four per team) divisional match-ups they have on their new schedule. And barring how the Portland Trailblazers look with their new point guard, ehh mmm, Steve Blake and rookie center Greg Oden, I would say that the Northwest Division is basically a two team race between Jerry Sloan’s Utah Jazz and the Karl led Nuggets. That is… until things start to really unfold. But until then everyone who roots for the Denver Nuggets should send Danny Ainge and the rest of Boston’s management a thank you note and a fruit basket for our gratitude in making the Northwest Division a whole helluva lot easier.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Nuggs Announce 2007-08 Schedule

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets will kick-off the 2007-08 campaign against the Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis-less Seattle Supersonics at the Pepsi Center on Halloween. You can learn more by clicking this link.
Call me cocky, call me crazy, but I am already going to predict a win on opening night against Kevin Durant and the Sonics. After what I saw Durant do in summer league play, and with the losses the Seattle Supersonics have endured, I just do not see the Seattle boys planting the L on AI, ‘Melo, Nene, and the rest of the Mile High crew.

Go Nuggets!
UPDATE: Click this link to view the complete schedule for the 2007-08 campaign and note all the nationally televised games the Nuggets are going to play! The Nuggets will be featured on national television 26 times (once on ABC, 10 times on ESPN, 9 times on NBATV and 6 times on TNT). All non-exclusive games will be aired on Altitude or Altitude2. I'm trying not to get too excited seeing how there is still nearly 90 days to wait before things around here get back into full swing.
Go Nuggets!