Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Disarray of Others

(Boulder-CO) I would never, ever, say I was happy to hear about an injury of a player from the Nuggets, (or any other team for that matter), or the disgruntled sentiments from personnel on an opposing team. But the current situation shaping up in the Northwest Division is looking quite good for the NBA’s Mile High franchise.

Unfortunately, Greg Oden is going to be sidelined with knee problems for the entirety of the 2007-08 season. I say unfortunately because I really did want to see what the Portland Trailblazers, with the ancient looking big man and the rest of their young team, could really do this season. However, the one thing that Greg does have going for him in his favor is youth (presumably). Just look at Amare Stoudemire. He took his time, and a whole NBA season, to recover from a similar surgery and he was able to return to an All-NBA status. So here’s to hoping that Oden can do the same because not being able to enjoy such a promising NBA career would not only be a tragedy for Oden, but also for the rest of us who enjoy watching quality lowpost play. But on the other hand, the Nuggets shouldn’t have to worry about the Blazers too much because I am pretty sure that any noise out of the great northwest is going to be nothing more than static out of the basement of the division.

And as for the Nuggets biggest competition out of the great state of Utah…

The reports of discontent from Andrei Kirilenko are certainly enough to shake any Jazz fan to the core. He is reportedly willing to give up a full-size pick-up truck worth of Benjamins just to get the hell out of the great state of Utah. And I know what you’re about to say, “But AK-47 didn’t even have that great of a season last year, Doc”, and in these sentiments you would be partially correct, but what you are overlooking is AK’s impact that doesn’t make it into the box score. Kirilenko is a player that does all the little things both offensively and defensively that annoys, disrupts, and destroys continuity of the Jazz opponent. So, in any event, if the reports of Andrei not willing to play for the Jazz for any compensation due end up being true it is a good thing for the Nuggets.

And what about that situation up in Washington?

All the most current reports are leaning towards Seattle not having a basketball team in the next couple of years. The team’s ownership is still trying to bail on the final two years of their lease at Key Arena and nothing makes a team move faster than it’s ownership wanting out. Period. Now, they do have the most obvious favorite for NBA Rookie of the Year in Kevin Durant. But, what they do not have is anyone on the roster to compensate for Durant’s offensive skills on the defensive end, and trust me; they’re going to need it. The youngster may be the next best thing to George Gervin the NBA has seen since basketballs had three colors, but on defense, well, Wes Unseld he is not. And there is no way that he is going to make up for the Sonics management trading both Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in just his first year in the NBA.

And who can forget the Timberwolves?

Sure they have a completely new team. Sure Al Jefferson is a beast. And sure they have little to no clearly defined player roles, but what is Kevin McHale going to do when the T-Wolves drop 10 out of their first 15 games and the finger pointing starts? Because the way that I see it is all the problems that all those former Celtics tried to leave in Boston are almost certainly going to follow the same cast of characters to the frigid lands of Minnesota. And without Kevin Garnett’s wide shoulders to carry the load...
Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Probably not the Nuggets or anyone else in the NBA.

So, the Northwest Division could arguably be the most twisted division in the entire NBA. Injuries, malcontented players, owners wanting change in scenery, and the departure of two All-Star caliber players from Seattle all seemingly mean good things for the Nuggets. But in keeping things honest, the Nuggets have their own problems to figure out. Fortunately, we seemingly have all the answers, (pun intended), in one shape or form.
But how, when, and where they all come about is another story.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

'Melo's Shoes Help Win Games

(Boulder-CO) In a bit of a surprise to me, 'Melo's Jordan Brand kicks have been cited as the difference in a Womens college basketball game. Crazy? Here's the proof...


Now I know this is just another shameless 'Melo post, but pretty much everything I'm working on right now is for the upcoming preview season set to start in about a week. I'm working with good outlets this year, and trust me, good things are to come.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

LK's Top Ten Plays

(Boulder-CO) Not much introduction is needed for Linas Kleiza's top ten plays. Enjoy!

Honestly Evaluating the Nuggets Roster

(Boulder-CO) The NBA roster rules state that a team can have 15 players on its roster, but only 12 can be active at any one time. The Nuggets currently do have 15 players listed on their official roster at their home page, but understanding what is immanent with these 15 is where I come in.

Right off the bat it is clear the Nuggets starting five is going to be tremendously strong this year. Obviously, AI and Chucky Atkins are going to make up the Nuggets backcourt. Chucky is going to start at point with AI playing the two (where he NEEDS to be!). This is going to be the best positional breakdown in the backcourt because when AI runs the show he has a tendency to dribble the ball way to much around the perimeter while not getting the play going early. Chucky is going to be able to bring the ball down and get the offense started. Other than that… Atkins needs to spot up by entering the ball into the post for Camby, Nene, Kenyon, and Carmelo and then relocate for open threes as his man becomes preoccupied with helping the post defender.

In the frontcourt the only two obvious starters are Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby. Anthony should have another real good chance of leading the league in scoring this season and I’d venture to say that his average minutes per game is going to be above 40 for certain. Somewhere in the realm of 40-42 is where I think Carmelo’s minutes will tally with about a three to four minute breather at the start of the second quarter and another similar break as the third period is concluding.

On the other hand, the Nuggets coaching staff would be wise to limit Marcus Camby’s average playing time to around 30-32 minutes a game. This reasoning is two-fold: first off, Marcus Camby is getting up there in age, and as we all know, has been injury-prone. Playing him anymore than this is just asking for trouble with a player as, “high-mileage”, as Camby. Secondly, I think Marcus can only play at the top of his game when he doesn’t have to worry about foul trouble and this is equally one part freshness off of routine and frequent substitutions and one part oppositional match-ups. With oppositional match-ups meaning that if the opponent’s big man is a strong lowpost presence, (say for instance Shaq or the bruising Dwight Howard), I believe the Nuggets are better personnel wise with Nene defending them with Camby playing some power forward.

And now that I have mentioned “Big Brazil” we have finally come to the only question mark the Nugget have in their starting five.

It is murky as to who is going to be ready to start for the Nuggets at the four spot. Kenyon Martin is returning off of season-ending surgery and Nene is once again out of shape and coming off of a calf strain suffered while playing for Brazil in the FIBA Americas games. So, before training camp even starts, I would have to give the starting nod to Nene only because of the severity of Kenyon’s injury and the recent action Nene saw playing for Brazil. But what is important to keep in mind, Nuggets Nation, is how Nene needed to play himself back into the player we all saw him to be last year and it is in this realm that I see he and Kenyon Martin essentially sharing time early in the season before one man is clearly identified himself as the fulltime starter. And the good news for whoever doesn’t end up starting is they will almost surely be the first man up off the bench in George Karl’s rotation.

And if you’re keeping track… that is the first six players covered on the Denver Nugget roster. Six down and nine to go!

The next four players to round out the second tier for the Nuggets are pretty obvious. Linas Kleiza is going to probably be the next man off the bench. LK can play small forward and some shooting guard, but it is his energy and rebounding spark that makes him the Nuggets seventh man. LK showed in the latter half of last year that he can run the floor with explosive finishing capability and if his three ball can continue to consistently improve, (remember the last home Laker game?), he will see a lot more time at shooting guard than the Carmelo Anthony dominated three spot.

Now, at the back-up point guard position we have a problem and the most likely solution is to move Allen Iverson over to the point when Chucky Atkins exits to the bench. I wish the Nuggets had a more proven reserve at the one spot, but AI is going to play nearly 40 minutes a game, so it only makes sense that he would slide over and run the show. And with AI running the point, this is where I see J.R. Smith or Von Wafer coming into the game. I’m including the rookie Von Wafer in the competition for the eight spot because I’m sure we all have not forgotten how J.R. ended last season with “Furious” George Karl criticizing his professionalism in the media and then consequently benching him for the rest of the playoffs.

So, with that being refreshed in our memory, I expect Von Wafer to really give J.R. a run for his money as the “Shooter’s” shooting guard. ’Nilla has proven to be a scorer at every level thus far in his career, and if he can prove to Karl that he is also somewhat of a defender, then I think he might have the upper hand over the doghouse renting J.R. Smith.

Don’t get me wrong here, I like J.R. Smith’s explosiveness and his ability to catch fire, but his continued uncoachability and poor shot selection is going to be his defining fulcrum in the NBA. He has already bounced around the league for a young player and the report from every coach that has tried to work with him has been that J.R. just doesn’t want to improve the areas of this game that need the most work.

But most importantly to keep in mind when trying to clear up the reserve shooting guard position for the Nuggets is that it is a position that boils down to who puts the ball in the basket. Whoever decides that they can score the ball coming off the bench is going to instantly solidify their position in George Karl’s rotation. So, either way, J.R. Smith and Von Wafer are going to round out the eighth and ninth spot for the Nuggets.

And in the tenth, and final second string spot, I see Eduardo Najera stepping in. Eddie slips to the tenth spot this season because I see his role being a situational one with Marcus, Nene, and Kenyon seemingly dominating the four and five spots. However I will say this: Najera’s role may be bigger than the tenth spot may seem because if/when Kenyon Martin, Nene, or Marcus Camby become injured he is the man that has to step up. The same is true of Eduardo if the Nuggets decide to put a big line-up on the floor with Carmelo actually playing some shooting guard and Najera plus a combination of the aforementioned two rounding out the frontcourt. Plus, Najera is a “glue guy” meaning that he is not only capable, but more often than not is willing to do whatever the Nuggets need to him to do night-in and night-out. On more than a few occasions last year, Eduardo Najera did all the small things that tied together the loose ends for the Nuggets in games which his contributions ultimately resulted in wins. Plus, he is a consummate professional. Najera will have no problem coming off the bench and giving the Nuggets everything he has without complaining, pouting, or loafing in however many minutes he does end up playing. Bottom line is you gotta love Eduardo Najera!

Only two more active roster spots left. Are you ready for who rounds out your Denver Nuggets this year?

The eleventh man in the rotation is probably going to be Steven Hunter. The seven-foot journeyman is on a very crowded Denver Nugget roster and with Nene being equally adept to playing center or power forward makes things that much tougher on Hunter. Steven is essentially a cheap insurance policy in the event that the Nuggets become very banged-up up front and I would be very surprised if he even averages eight minutes a game by season’s end.

And last but not least, (O.K., maybe least in this case), is Yakhouba Diawara. While I think Yak has what it takes to be a consistent active roster player, I do not think he will see much time this year unless it is in a special defensive capacity. The best way I can sum up ‘Khouba’s game is that he is offensively a CBA player while being NBA defense-ready. Not a bad thing to be on a team that struggles, at times, defensively because Diawara will definitely see his fair share of time this season marking up with the likes of Kobe, McGrady, and the Vince Carters of the league.

And there you have it, Nuggets Nation! The breakdown of how the active twelve shakes out just about two weeks before training camp starts.

The three inactive players that will most likely stay on Denver’s payroll are point guard Anthony Carter, free agent center Jamal Sampson, and small forward/shooting guard Bobby Jones. Carter and Jones may see some active status if any of the Nugget guards become injured and same goes for Samspon in the event that a front court player goes down for any reason. But don’t get your hopes up that any of these three play more than a handful of minutes this season.

Go Nuggets!

Friday, September 14, 2007

LaPhonso Ellis per Request

(Boulder-CO) Longtime reader JM asked me to dig up some old school Laphonso Ellis footage for him and this is what I came up with. Sorry the highlight reel is in Spanish, but the clip of LaPhonso is well worth the wait to see what number in the countdown he comes in at. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rasheed Wallace... Billboard for Catholicism?

(Boulder-CO) Usually I keep all my posts religion free, but this next story is just too weird to not publish, (especially when remembering Rasheed's Hail Mary that was answered against the Nuggets). Earlier today I was wandering the Internet looking for obscure news on the good folks that make up the NBA and found that Rasheed Wallace has what some devout believers believe to be a visage of the Virgin Mary in his white spot on the back of his head!

The whole mind-blowing story be read by clicking this link.

I was reluctant to post anything on this earlier because it didn’t have anything to do with the Nuggets, but now that my friend Jim over at www.questtoberemembered.blogspot.com has it up on his site. I can send you over to there for a local Michigan reaction.

It is a strange world out there, folks! Do you believe?

Remembering Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

(Boulder-CO) Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formerly known as Chris Jackson, from LSU was a Denver Nugget that I grew up watching and one whom I modeled much of my own game after. Many of you will remember him for such things like his mild tourettes, his refusal to stand during the National Anthem, his sudden name change, or the fact that he used to tape over the logos on his shoes, but what we all should really remember Mahmoud for was his unbelievable skills while with the Denver Nuggets.
So, in the nostalgic spirit, (and because there is no news today), here is the first two videos of a three part series remembering Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. The third video is of Mahmoud with the Kings, so if you are so inclined to watch it just bang this link after watching the first two because there is a short section of Mahmoud in the 1993 Dunk Contest at the end.
The first video is of the game highlights where Mahmoud scored 51 points in a victory over the hated Utah Jazz. Enjoy!

This second video is of another spectacular performance by Mahmoud in the 1995 match up with the eventual 72-10 Chicago Bulls. The Denver Nuggets won this game and they have to give a lot of credit to Abdul-Rauf’s performance for the win. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Getting to Know Steven Hunter

(Boulder-CO) I really didn't know too much about Steven Hunter's game so here is a www.youtube.com clip of some of Hunter's better moments. I refuse to call it a highlight reel simply because some of the footage is of pretty routine plays. Enjoy getting to know the Nuggets new reserve center!

Are the Nuggets Destined for Rings?

(Boulder-CO) The questioned asked in the title of this post was also pondered by the guys over at www.nobloodnofoul.com and I really enjoyed their analysis. Some of the highlights of their breakdown were judging George Karl’s historical coaching tactics through the media, Denver’s superstar power, and Denver’s lack of defense. The guys even go as far to refer to the Nuggets as the, “Enver Nuggets”, because there is just no “D” in The Mile High City. And with last year’s defensive rankings who can blame them? Be sure to read the entire article by clicking right here.

Don’t be Shocked if Jones gets Waived

(Boulder-CO) It doesn’t take a mathematical wizard to understand that the Nuggets traded one valuable player in yesterday’s transaction with the Sixers and received two active players in return. Meaning one of the newest Nuggets will probably get waived. The Nuggets obvious motivation in this deal was to clear some room at the power forward position while also bolstering their reserve center needs, but what isn’t quite so apparent is what they intend to do with small forward Bobby Jones.

Only $200,000 of his $664,209 in salary is guaranteed to Jones for next season, but the long shot to make the Philadelphia ball club has even less of a chance to make his new team here in Denver. Because if you think about this situation for a second. It shouldn't take an informed Nuggets fan very long to realize that Denver is pretty stacked at small forward too. Carmelo is definitely going to play his 40 minutes a game, behind him sits Linas Kleiza, and often times Eduardo Najera plays some small forward when LK plays minutes as a big shooting guard.

Simply stated: It all doesn’t add up in your favor if your name is Bobby Jones!

However, NBA roster rules state that a team may have 15 players on its roster, but only twelve can be declared, “Active”, at any one time. This rule is nice because it allows teams to keep players within their management’s access in the unfortunate event that one of their active twelve becomes injured, but at the same time, when you have the world’s best small forward and two capable, veteran substitutes. A guy like Bobby Jones, who gets traded from a struggling team to a potential contender, still doesn’t have the best of chances to make the final roster.
The good news for Jones is that he did have a very nice month of April in 2007, and because of so, he will probably find another NBA fanchise that could use his ability. And from a Nuggets-centric persepective, if Denver could move him for say... a combo guard. Then the Nuggets would really have their roster in great shape for the rapidly approaching season.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Denver Trades the Joker!

(Boulder-CO) Today the Nuggets have found a way to alleviate some of their roster problems by trading forward Reggie Evans and the rights to forward Ricky Sanchez to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for center Steven Hunter and forward Bobby Jones. Many of you might remember the name Ricky Sanchez because I included him in my memory lane series back around the time of the draft.

This trade doesn’t come as that big of a surprise to me despite the surprise timing of the deal. Reggie Evans was, at no fault of his own, the odd man out in the power forward log jam the Nuggets were dealing with and ultimately Reggie’s remaining years of contractual obligation to the Nuggets probably made him the man traded over fellow teammate and forward Eduardo Najera who becomes a free agent after this season.

Now onto what we received in return for Evans.

Steven Hunter is a versatile seven-footer who can block shots and run the floor. His mid range game is definitely a spot that needs work, but overall he gives the Nuggets a cheap insurance policy at center. Hunter is a six-year veteran with time spent in Phoenix, Orlando, and Philadelphia.

Where things start to get interesting is in the acquistion of Bobby Jones. While Jones only finished last year’s rookie season averaging 2.5 points and 1.3 rebounds. It was the way he came on at the end which makes him intriguing. Some would say that Philly didn’t have the best of years in last season’s efforts, but in the month of April Bobby Jones averaged 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in a total of nine games.

And to conclude this post I would like to remenise some of the finer points of game belonging to Reggie “The Joker” Evans. We will always remember the “intimate” grab of Chris Kaman in the 2006 playoffs and Reggie’s fulltime sense of humor. I will also remember Reggie’s sense of professionalism in regards to not complaining about playing time or talking to the media. Best of luck to Reggie Evans as he teams back up with Andre Miller in Philadelphia.

The Power Forward Conundrum

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets are in quite a familiar spot entering this upcoming season’s training camp. In fact, this will be the third straight year that at least one of their potential starting power forwards will be returning from injury or is injured as camp begins. And this year the Nuggets have a double whammy to contend with as Kenyon Martin once again missed essentially all of last season with a knee injury and with Nene presumably not going to be full-speed due to a calf strain. Which, in my opinion, is partly due to his lack of off-season conditioning before the FIBA games and, hopefully is not going to become a trend for the promising Brazilian.

So, by no means is this unfortunate state of affairs uncharted territory for the Nuggets, but please allow me to further illustrate how both men should be looking at the seemingly up-for-grabs starting position and what it ultimately means for the Nuggets as a team.

First off, and regardless of who actually lands the starting role, I think both players need to understand that early in the season both of them are going to receive about the same amount of playing time. A smart coach, (and George Karl is a smart coach), is going to give his returning players an equal opportunity to display what they can do for the team and I can only imagine that Karl will do so by giving each man 20-25 minutes a game. Furthermore, a genius coach, (and maybe George Karl is one of these), would probably start a guy like Eduardo Najera or Reggie Evans to relieve some of the pressure off of the aforementioned duo just to see who is more adept to coming off of the bench. And by doing so, George Karl will know which player has the kind of work-horse mentality that the Denver Nuggets sixth man needs to have.

Once a clear-cut starter is revealed then it is going to be up to the other man to understand his role as the first reserve off the bench. Former Celtics Coach and President Red Auerbach (R.I.P) understood this role better than anyone as he used John Havlicek as his, “sixth starter”, on many of the 16 NBA championships he designed, and it was with the critical unselfishness that Hondo displayed that the Celtics were able to win a lot of those championships.
With that being said, the role that needs to be understood for whoever doesn’t end up starting is simple; once put in the game the sixth man needs to be able to do whatever the team needs at that very juncture of the game regardless of preconceived ideas of how they want to play. If the Nuggets need rebounding - come in and rebound. If the Nuggets need scoring - come in and put the ball in the basket. And if they Nuggets need defense - come in a play defense like a man possessed. Because if the way that I see things is clear, the Nuggets are going to need this type of Yeoman mentality so Marcus Camby and whoever starts alongside he and Carmelo can play relentless basketball with the knowledge that they have an unselfish and unrelenting “sixth starter” ready to go at the precise minute they need him.

And that precise minute could be one of many for the Nuggets. We all know that Marcus Camby blocks most of his shots by swooping in from the weak side and it is by doing so that he also picks up the majority of his fouls. So, if Camby doesn’t have to constantly worry about his foul count. He can do more of that vulture-esque swooping and even more swatting of opponent's shots knowing that he has capable replacement itching to get in the game.

It is also a likewise situation for whoever does end up starting for the Nuggets frontline. If it ends up being Big Brazil, then we all know that Nene has a bad habit of coming over the defender’s back to try and grab offensive rebounds and it is this facet of his game where he picks up most of his personal fouls. This doesn’t mean that Nene should stop being aggressive on the offensive glass. In fact, it means the opposite (within reason of course). Nene should always be able to be super aggressive on the offensive glass because he should know that Kenyon is coming in right behind him when he needs a blow or picks up a substitution necessitating foul.

And the same hypothetical situation is true if Kenyon Martin emerges as the starter. Kenyon’s defensive folly is being too physical with his man in the low blocks. So, just like Nene, this doesn’t mean that he should stop playing with the physicality that has made him an All-Star in years past, but rather the opposite. Kenyon and Nene should be able to play with almost a reckless abandon knowing that each other have the others’ back as they form what could be one of the most formidable two-headed monsters at power forward in the entire NBA.

This in turn leads me right into my final point: Nene and Kenyon Martin need to look at this positional conundrum as a chance not to prove who is the better man for the starting job, but rather by understanding the role that each player falls into they are really allowing themselves and their counterpart to play the way the Nuggets need them to play in as many winning efforts as possible. Thus is unselfish, and therefore is fundamentally a cornerstone to what it takes to be great teammate and ultimately a great team. For too many years now the Nuggets have been more about individual accomplishments rather than what they could accomplish as a cohesive unit where each man plays for his teammate, and ultimately for the team. So, in the 2007-08 season here is to hoping that big egos can take smaller roles in lieu of more regular season wins and a deeper playoff run. And ultimately I believe much of this is dependant on Kenyon Martin and Nene.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Who Wants to Own a Piece of Iverson?

(Boulder-CO) According to two separate sources, Allen Iverson is selling his house in Villanova, Pennsylvania. One source reports that AI’s old pad, (which includes a 12-person movie theater, a billiard room, a guest suite with a kitchenette, a pool house, a hot tub, and a stream), is listed for 6.3 million dollars. The other source is reporting that many of the furnishings and personal items belonging to Iverson and his family are also up for grabs via an auction. Among the most interesting items on the bidding block is a custom-made, gas-powered mini-Maserati; perfect for that special ten-year-old in your life!
I have to wonder how often this kind of thing happens to star athletes who find themselves traded with little to no advance notice. I mean, it’s not like AI had a whole lot of time to pack up his belongings while he was probably preoccupied with trying to find a new NBA city to play in. But in any event, I’m sure that all the really choice items were salvaged by Iverson and the rest he will probably just use as a write-off in some kind of gianormous Salvation Army donation.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Nene’s Return Date Still in Question

(Boulder-CO) Nene’s return was originally pegged somewhere around four to six weeks from now. But the latest from Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post is a report which says Nene has been seen by Nuggets trainer Jim Gillen and there is no set date for his return to the hardwood. Dempsey also tallies the number of games Nene has not been available for in the last two years and the sum is quite alarming. So alarming in fact that I’m afraid they made me start conjuring up thoughts of Calvin Natt and LaPhonso Ellis… And such a future for Nene and the Nuggets would be terrible, so let’s hope that Nene is not on that same career course!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Quarterback Camby Huddles Up

(Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Boulder-CO) No, Marcus Camby has not tried his hand at playing in the NFL, but he did participate in a charity event in Thornton, CO last Thursday for T-Mobile's "Huddle Up" efforts in which he assisted 150 T-Mobile employees with the revitalization of a community center. Everybody knows Marcus loves the kids!

‘Melo Still USA’s Top Dog

(Boulder-CO) First, I must congratulate the United States for finishing the FIBA Americas Games by routing Argentina for the gold medal in an effort reminiscent of the 1992 Dream Team. But secondly, I must point out that Carmelo Anthony has once again been the USA’s leading scorer despite missing a game with a heel bruise. ‘Melo finished the international competition with an average scoring clip of 21.2 points per game on an astonishing 63.2% from the field and it should be also be noted that Anthony connected on 57.8% of his three-point attempts too.

Still not sold that Carmelo Anthony is one of the best overall players in the world today? What about if I told you that ‘Melo was also second place behind only Dwight Howard in rebounding for Team USA! That’s right, Anthony averaged 5.2 boards a game in comparison to Howard’s 5.3 rebounds for the second best glass cleaning clip.

Once again, congratulations to Team USA for re-establishing themselves as the dominant force in this year’s FIBA Americas Games and to Carmelo Anthony for stepping up to the call of duty and leading the US of A.

Go ‘Melo!

Goodbye and Hello to Anthony Carter

(Boulder-CO) In an interesting couple of moves the Denver Nuggets waived guard Anthony Carter on August 29. Only to resign the veteran again two days later.
Salary information is vague right now, but I would have to speculate that the dump and jump on Carter was a financial move most likely agreed upon by both parties prior to the waiving and resigning. That or the Nuggets realized they are so light on guards right now that if they were crazy enough to waive Carter before anyone else was in line to replace him. They might have had waiver’s remorse and decided keep him around until another replacement was found.

But in any case, I like the move to keep Carter on the roster, (especially if the most likely financial scenario was actually the reason for the flip-flop), because he is a very cheap and efficient player the Nuggets can turn to on the rare occasions when Chucky Atkins is on the bench and Denver decides to keep AI at the two guard. However, these particular times are going to be few and far between because the most likely rotation that I can assume is AI moving over to point guard when Chucky Atkins needs a breather, and J.R. Smith, Linas Kleiza, or Von Wafer sliding in to play shooting guard.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Weighing in on Nene (No Pun Intended)

(Boulder-CO) The title of this post may be humorous, but the fact that Nene is hurt, again, and that it is more so than not a result of him coming into the FIBA competition overweight, again, and not ready to perform like the high salary player that he is must be pretty embarrassing. Even the AOL Fanhouse could tell that Nene was shamefully fat.
But what is really pertinent to the Nuggets fan in all of us is how these reoccurring injury/weight issues with Nene change the outlook of our season (at least initially). First off, the diagnosis of the calf injury is a 4-6 week recovery period. With that being known, Nene is not going to be ready for training camp, which at its bare minimum leaves the Nuggets with a chemistry issue to deal with within the first twenty games of the regular season as Nene has to be slowly brought back into the rotation. And it is from this starting point that the hypothetical situations can range from very advantageous for the Nuggets to down right agonizing.

So, with Nene slowly being worked into the Nuggets fold there is suddenly an opening for Kenyon Martin to seize. Optimistically speaking, this could be a good thing for Denver as they will be able to immediately see what Kenyon Martin’s return and overall impact is going to be. But from here it gets tricky because if Kenyon returns to anywhere near his former capabilities. Then all of a sudden the Nuggets not only have a power forward log jam (Eduardo, Evans, Nene, and Martin), but they also have a decision to make as to who is going to be the starter. This competitive scenario could inspire both men to raise their games to new levels; ultimately making the Nuggets a better team. Or the large egos in play could be too much to overcome; leaving the Nuggets with major personnel problems.

Like I said, this is a very tricky situation.

Furthermore and regardless of how all this plays out, Nene has displayed poor athletic professionalism not once, but now twice concerning his off-season work ethic and commitment to training. I may have been likely to grant him a free-pass for coming off such a serious knee injury and not being able to shed the extra girth before the start of last season, but after showing up to the FIBA games in “vacation” shape after having such a strong final two months of 2007. It is starting to become very clear that Nene doesn’t look at the off-season as a chance to raise his game. Which is too bad because all the great ones that have played this game, (Magic, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson etc), have always taken the off-season as a chance to improve their games and their conditioning. Maybe that’s why all of the aforementioned have rings?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Carmelo Facializing Poor Argentinean

(Boulder-CO) Even though I haven't been able to publish my thoughts about the FIBA games. I have been watching them, and felt obligated to bring you quite arguably the top highlight from Carmelo Anthony's many masterful performances. If you know who the poor Argentinean is leave it in the comments section and add him to the hit list!

Oh, but how the redhead is wrong! Who could forget the demoralizing face-job 'Melo gave Theo Ratliff?

Potentially the Worst Nene News

(Boulder-CO) In what probably could be a nightmare come to fruition, Nene (otherwise known as “Big Brazil”, “Baby Boy”, and the “Basketball Player Formerly Known as Hilario”) has injured his right calf muscle during the FIBA games while in competition for Brazil.

Chris Dempsey reports in the above linked article published in The Denver Post, “Nene suffered a right calf strain in Brazil's semifinal loss to Argentina. While the extent of the damage isn't known, a Brazilian team doctor said through a spokesman that the injury was 'bad' and estimated he could be out four to six weeks.”

Here’s to hoping that the injury is something that Nene can fully recover from without any lingering or permanent effects. The Nuggets are very dependant on having Nene being able to produce solid numbers for them in this upcoming season, and with Kenyon Martin’s status/attitude/athleticism still in question, anything but a full recovery will be a serious blow to Denver’s chances of becoming an elite team in the stacked Western Conference.

I'm Baaaaaack!!!

(Boulder-CO) That's right, Nuggets Nation! I finally have the Internet out here in the boonies and am currently trying to get myself caught up with everything that is going on right now relevant to the Nuggets. It feels like I have been gone for an eternity, so be patient as the updates, insights, and analysis of everything Nuggs comes hurling off my mind.