Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nuggets 2008-09 Season Officially Starts

(Boulder-CO) We have all been waiting patiently (or in my case im-patiently) for the 2008-09 season to start and it has finally happened. Today, the Denver Nuggets opened up their training camp and there was a few surprise additions to their preseason roster. Nick Fazekas is a local product from Arvada, Ruben Patterson is an old familiar friend- a friend that was benched in the playoffs of 2006 against the Clippers, point guards "Smush" Parker and Mateen Cleaves, and rookie longshot from Clemson, James Mays.

Click here for the full training camp roster and preseason schedule.
Go Nuggets!

DYK: Kenyon Martin

(Boulder-CO) We're at it again with another perception altering gaggle of information and this installment of DYK is all about Kenyon Martin. Who, I'd guess you didn't know...

-Kenyon's collegiate number "4" was retired by the University of Cincinnati on April 25th, 2000.

-He was also named Conference USA's Athlete of the Decade that same year.

-Kenyon is a Board Member and active participant in the American Institute of Stuttering.

-He majored in criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati.

-Kenyon enjoys watching movies and playing video games in this spare time.

-He spoke at an assembly at Montbello High School in September 2006 as part of the school's "Pass on Violence" campaign.

-Kenyon is also a spokesman for the March of Dimes.

Go Nuggets!

Today's Date in NBA History

(Boulder-CO) Today's date is September 30th, and on this day:
'00- The USA Olympic Men’s Basketball Team captured its 12th gold medal in 14 Olympic basketball competitions with an 85-75 victory over France in the gold medal game in Sydney, Australia. The U.S. team, comprised of NBA players, had a close call in the semifinals, defeating Lithuania 85-83 in the semifinals when a three-point attempt by Sarunas Jasikevicius of Lithuania missed at the buzzer.
Enjoy your day!

Monday, September 29, 2008

DYK: J.R. Smith

(Boulder-CO) Here is the next installment of DYK. The player underneath our microscope is J.R. Smith, who did you know...

-J.R.'s full name is Earl J. Smith.

-J.R. also played football and baseball in high school.

-J.R.'s favorite sport other than basketball is football.

-J.R.'s favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys.

-J.R.'s favorite food is baked ziti.

-He enjoys playing video games in his spare time, especially Madden and NCAA College Football.

-J.R.'s favorite movie is "Love & Basketball".

-He lists being named MVP of the McDonald's High School All-American game in 2004 as his greatest achievement.

-His favorite musical artist is Jay-Z.

-J.R. funded two adult literacy scholarships through HANO and was on hand for the ribbon cutting of the Pecan Grove Resource Center.

-He started the J.R. Smith Foundation, which helps children get accepted into St. Benedict's Prep where he attended high school in Newark, N.J.

Go Nuggets!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

DYK: Nene

(Boulder-CO) Over the next two weeks I will be bringing you little known facts about each of your 2008-09 Denver Nuggets in a series of DYK articles. On the block first is Nene, who did you know...

-Nene's given birth name was Maybyner Rodney Hilario.

-Nene plays bass guitar.

-Nene has nearly a 7'5" wingspan.

-Nene's favorite meal is feijoada- a Brazilian black bean stew.

-Nene's favorite actor is Jackie Chan.

-Nene's favorite sports teams are Sao Paulo (Brazilian soccer) and FC Barcelona and his favorite players are Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.

-Nene''s favorite movie is "The Protector".


-A "Nene" is also the endangered Hawaiian state bird!

Go Nuggets!

I'd Like to Believe You Guys

(Boulder-CO) In yesterday's Rocky Mountain News a few of the Denver Nuggets made very bold predictions. Evidently, even with the departure of the only defensive staple the Denver Nuggets had from last season, there is still optimism in the Nuggets Nation. And as Carmelo Anthony states, "We’ve got a chance to win 50 to 60 (games)."

But can we believe him?

Well, at least his teammates do!

Kenyon Martin is on board with 'Melo, which is at least a good sign of his leadership abilities, and had this to add, "Sixty games, we won 50 games last year and came in eighth place (in the West). It will take 60 to be in the top three. So, I think so.”

I'd like to believe the guys, but something tells me we can chalk all this highly optimistic talk up to pre-training camp rah-rah. Especially considering the injury bug has already bitten this team in a very familiar place. That's right, with training camp starting on Tuesday the Nuggets are already down a man at guard. And to make matters worse, it's once again presumed starting point guard Chucky Atkins who is expected to miss the entirety of the preseason with a knee surgery.

So, with the news of Chucky Atkins once again not being able to be an active part of the team during this critical time of player cohesion. The Denver Nuggets are allegedly going to sign point guard Mateen Cleaves to a one-year non-guaranteed minimum contract. Cleaves has not played in the NBA since the 2005-06 season with the former Seattle Sonics, AKA now the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Today's Date in NBA History

(Boulder-CO) Today's date is September 28th, and on this day:
'83- The NBA and the Players’ Association established a landmark program in sports to battle drug abuse, providing treatment and rehabilitation that also mandated expulsion of repeat offenders and players convicted of using or selling drugs.
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today's Date in NBA History

(Boulder-CO) Today's date is September 24th, and on this day:
'85- The Chinese national basketball team arrived in New York to begin a month of training and practice with NBA personnel, as part of the cultural and educational agreements between China and the United States.

'98- The NBA announced that the opening of training camps for the 1998-99 season have been postponed indefinitely because of the stalled collective bargaining negotiations with the National Basketball Players Association. Training camps were scheduled to open on October 5.
Enjoy your day!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rivalry is Good for Sports and Blogs

(Boulder-CO) Touché, worthy opponents and thanks for reminding/rubbing in Carmelo's opening night suspension.

The look on Chris Andersen's face is priceless.

Go Nuggets!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Today's Date in NBA History

(Boulder-CO) Today's date is September 20th, and on this day:
September 20, 1917 Arnold "Red" Auerbach was born in Brooklyn, New York. Rest in peace. We miss you, Red.
Enjoy your day!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let the Opening Night Antics Begin!

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Let the Opening Night Antics Begin!

(Boulder-CO) Tip of the hat to Kayce for bringing the above to my attention! This officially rekindles my dislike for the Utah Jazz and specifically Kyle Korver and Andrei Kirilenko, the rivalry between the two Northwest Division teams, and the good natured back-and-forth between the good (those of us on The Nugg Doctor) and the bad (those who read True Blue Jazz). For some reason it wouldn't publish with anything else in the post.
Go Nuggets!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who's Expecting What?

(Boulder-CO) With only eleven days until the start of training camp and just a mere three weeks before the Nuggets open up their preseason schedule I figured it was right about time to see who's expecting what out of the Denver Nuggets this season. Vote or support the Jazz!

Go Nuggets!

Nuggets Roster & Payroll Analysis

(Boulder-CO) With only twelve days to training camp, and Monday's signing of rookie Sonny Weems, the Denver Nuggets' roster is apparently set and it is time to breakdown who is returning, who has been added, and how much it's going to cost to suit up the 2008-09 Denver Nuggets.

The Starting Five:

PG - Chucky Atkins - Chucky is returning from an injury washed season in 2007-08 that started with a groin pull in preseason and progressed into a full-blown sports hernia. Atkins is back, healthy, and most likely going to be the Nuggets' starting point guard opening night. But aside from that nod against the Utah Jazz, Chucky is going to have to prove to George Karl in the first ten games of the season that his offense is worthy of maintaining the starting job. Remember, with AI and Atkins in the backcourt the Nuggets have the smallest guard tandem in the NBA and J.R. Smith is probably just as explosive offensively while giving the Nuggets a much bigger guard to compensate defensively with taller, more physical match-ups around the league.
Chucky Atkins will make $3.4 million this season.

SG - Allen Iverson - AI is starting shooting guard, but for how long is the burning question. The Answer is in the final year of his contract with the Nuggets, and unless Denver wants to pony up for a huge contract after this season it will probably be the last year for Iverson in the Mile High. With that being said, what kind of playing style Allen Iverson brings to this upcoming season may dictate just how much or how little success the Nuggets accumulate. We all know that AI is still capable of scoring 30+ points on any given night, but where the true gold hides is when Allen puts his scoring aside and makes sure others get into the act. Denver has proven to be almost unbeatable when AI double-doubles with points and assists, and if the Nuggets are going to compensate for their obvious defensive shortcomings it is going to be with AI taking a page out of the great Nate Archibald's book when he won an NBA championship with the Celtics as a facilitator first and a scorer second.

Allen Iverson will make $21.9 million this season.

SF - Carmelo Anthony - Fresh off winning the Olympic Gold Medal with Team USA, 'Melo will be the Nuggets' starting wingman next season and for the rest of his career in Denver. There is no question in my mind that Anthony will be in the top five scorers this season, yet again, but how the rest of his game continues to mature (or digress) will dictate whether or not he emerges as the true leader of this team. 'Melo posted a career-high rebounding average last season and that mark of 7.4 boards per game seemed to come him all but too easily. With Marcus Camby gone, not only is Anthony's rebounding effort going to need improvement, but his defense is also going to have to stiffen or the Nuggets are going to struggle tremendously.

Carmelo Anthony will make $14.4 million this season.

PF - Kenyon Martin - K-Mart's max contract and less than maximum impact over the years will forever be the defining black eye of the Kiki Vandewedghe era. But the fact still remains that said contract almost ensures Martin's stay in Denver through 2011. So, the best case scenario for the Nuggets is for a very defensive minded Martin to re-emerge as he reinvents himself for this franchise. The Nuggets are not short on offensive fire power and Kenyon Martin's most valuable impact will be minimizing the loss of Marcus Camby on the boards and relieving some of the lost post defensive burden on Nene.

Kenyon Martin will make $14.1 million this season.

C - Nene - Big Brazil will face the most pressure of any individual on this team in the 2008-09 season as he is thrusted into the Nuggets' starting center position. Nene has only played in 81 games for Denver over the last three years due to various injuries in addition to an unexpected fight against testicular cancer that limited him to just 16 appearances in the 2007-08 campaign. Nene is now healthy and reportedly in great shape, but the loss of Marcus Camby puts tremendous pressure on him to perform at a high level as of right now. If he does perform up to the Nugget faithful's expectations then all will be overlooked concerning his prior injuries. If he doesn't... Can you say, "lottery pick?"

Nene will make $9.6 million this season.

The Bench:

PG - Anthony Carter - "A. Ceeeeeeeeeeee." is back for another season with the Nuggets, but how much playing time he sees will be dictated by how well others perform. Chucky Atkins and J.R. Smith are presumably ahead of Carter on the depth chart, but the Nuggets were wise to invest a little bit of dough on Carter who has proven to be a quality insurance policy.

Anthony Carter will make $1.2 million this season.

SG - J.R. Smith - No player on this roster excites me more or may have more opportunity than the Prodigy. If he can prove to be a steady and efficient ball handler, while continuing to provide the Nuggets with a three-point threat, Smith may emerge as the Nuggets' starting running mate with AI within the first 20 games of the season. We all know what he is capable of doing with the ball in his hands, but like many other players on this team, his aptitude as a reliable defender will serve as a measuring stick for how high J.R.'s stock can rise. Now here's the B side of the record: Coach George Karl has delegated Smith as his whipping boy in the past for hoisting bad shots and showboating. Both need to be avoided this season for Smith to lose the "immature" tag and solidify himself as a night-in and night-out performer this team so desperately needs in their backcourt.

J.R. Smith will make $4.9 million this season.

SF - Linas Kleiza - LK is a player you have to feel sympathy for. Here is a guy that would most likely start for a majority of the teams in the Eastern Conference on his tenacity alone, but (un)fortunately is stuck playing behind perhaps the premier scoring small forward in the West. I've previously outlined how the only thing retarding Kleiza's numbers is the scarcity of minutes to go around, but make no mistake about Kleiza's impact off the bench. He is now going to assume the catch-all position that Eduardo Najera formerly occupied and I expect great things out of the L-Train in 2008-09.

Linas Kleiza will make $1.8 million this season.

PF - Renaldo Balkman - When Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien announced that the Nuggets traded PG Taurean Green, Forward Bobby Jones, and a 2010 second round draft pick to the New York Knicks for Renaldo Balkman and cash considerations I was less than pleased with the move. Denver already had Linas Kleiza log jammed behind 'Melo and to add another 6'8", "Big" small forward seemed pretty redundant. However, after talking to a few Knick fans (yes, they do still exist) I decided to leave the verdict out on Balkman. While his numbers aren't much to write home about he does present a tremendous upside with his energy. Balkman plays with a reckless abandon, shoots a high percentage around the goal, and his athleticism has been known to bother on the defensive end.

Renaldo Balkman will make $1.3 million this season.

C - Chris Andersen - If you haven't been a Nuggets fan for long I encourage you to go read Broken Wings to understand more about what makes the individual the Mile High City dubbed, "The Birdman" caw. Afterwards, it is important to understand that Chris Andersen is to the Nuggets as placing all your chips on double zero is on the roulette table in Vegas. Regardless of whatever happens, you're going to have a story to recount for years to come. So, if Andersen can play meaningful minutes off the bench while giving the fans good reason to cheer feel free to tip your waitress generously.

Chris Andersen will make $998,000 this season.

The Others (*Keep in mind only two of these players will be kept on the 12-man active roster list):

SG - Dahntay Jones - Reportedly a tremendous athlete, Jones has not been able to find a long-term NBA home since entering the league in 2003 as the Boston Celtics' selection with the 20th overall pick and his draft rights promptly being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Perhaps with trader's remorse, the Boston Celtics gave Jones another look in 2007, but his stay in Beantown was short as he was waived in October of 2007 before the Sacramento Kings waived him again in February of 2008. Jones then found himself with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBDL before landing a one year contract with the Nuggets this season.

Dahntay Jones will make $926,678 this season.

SG - Sonny Weems - Denver worked with the Chicago Bulls in a three-team trade along with the New York Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers to acquire Weems. In July, Weems had surgery to repair a sports hernia suffered in routine workouts, but he is expected to fully recover in time for the start of training camp on Sept. 30th. Weems played five games for the Nuggets' Summer League team, averaging 9.2 points and three rebounds in 22 minutes per game.

The details of Sonny Weems' contract have not been disclosed.

PF/C - Steven Hunter - It's not a good sign when a player formerly suspended indefinitely for violation of the league's drug policy is brought in to take any minutes you may have been in line for of the bench. Which is exactly what the Nuggets decided to do after they sent starting center Marcus Camby packing despite still having Hunter on the payroll. This tells me that Steven Hunter will once again be on the end of the bench and rarely played. But, then again... Who can argue with getting paid $3.4 million dollars to watch basketball with courtside seats?

Steven Hunter will make $3.4 million this season.

So where does that leave Denver financially?

After taking on the league's third highest payroll last season with well over $85 million on the books this year's team is a little bit more of a bargain at $77.4 million. Leaving the Nuggets roughly $6.3 million over the NBA's luxury-tax threshold of $71.15 of which owner Stan Kroenke has to pay dollar-for-dollar that amount back to the league.

Go Nuggets!

Today's Date in NBA History

(Boulder-CO) Today's date is September 17th, and on this day:
'99- The NBA Board of Governors approved several playing rules modifications for the 1999-2000 season. The modifications had been recommended by a special committee of current and former players, general managers, coaches and other basketball experts in June and were tested in several NBA summer leagues. They are: A defender may not make contact with his hands and/or forearms on an offensive player except below the free throw line extended; A five-second rule that mandates that a player must either shoot, pass or pick up his dribble within five seconds if he begins dribbling the ball with his back toward the basket below the free throw line extended; The 24-second shot clock will be re-set to 14 seconds if the violations listed below occur with less than 14 seconds remaining on the 24-second clock, and will remain unchanged if the violation occurs with 14 or more seconds remaining on the 24-second clock: 1. A personal foul that does not result in free throw attempts. 2. Kicking the ball or blocking the ball with any part of the leg. 3. Punching the ball with a fist. 4. An illegal defense violation that does not result in free throw attempts; No illegal defense guidelines will apply to a player who is defending an offensive player who is positioned on the strong side of the court.
Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Golf with J.R. Smith

(Boulder-CO) This is just a great story. Golf is a sport that I loathe and love all the same. Sometimes I find myself wondering why I have payed for such torture while at others I wish I could play all day long. But to play with the likes of an NBA baller, let alone the Nuggets' J.R. Smith, and to have the following transpire would truly be a memory of a lifetime.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NBA 09: The Inside

(Boulder-CO) SCEA is on the verge of opening up the 2008-2009 NBA video game season with NBA 09 The Inside available on all PlayStation consoles, and they have decided to feature Carmelo Anthony as one of the six NBA stars to grace the cover.

But, that's just the beginning of what is sure to make this game a must-have for any NBA gamer. Check out some of these new features:

The Life – Available on PS3 for the first time, players will go behind the scenes in this unique mode and experience the life of an NBA professional, balancing interaction with coaches, teammates, and rivals. NBA 09 The Inside lets players experience a completely new sequence of Life story elements for this year. Perform well on the court to earn rewards and endorsements.

Franchise Mode – For the first time on the NBA franchise, players can extend their experience in running a team where performance and player morale are tracked on virtually every level – salary, playing time, trades, team performance, and much more. Major focus will center player development, from draft selections all the way to seasoned NBA veterans.

NBA Replay Mode – Back to test the skills of the most hardcore NBA fans, "NBA Replay" is once again available for players to re-live great performances from the ’07 -’08 season and work through a wide array of the entire past season’s memorable gameplay scenarios.

NBA Replay (Games of the Week) – Returning with an all-new set of upcoming highlight-reel plays, "Games of the Week" will allow players to download five scenarios each week involving real NBA games from the upcoming ’08 -’09 season and attempt to replay those magical moments within the game.

Mini-Games – Two new mini-games available to challenge players:

o Blacktop Golf – A twist on the game of golf where players use basketballs to interact and score on traditional hoops, as well as different environmental objects, in an effort to get the lowest score possible.

o Rabbit – A shooting game where players attempt to score as many points as possible from moving targets and bonus targets, going through stages that gradually become more difficult.

Expanded Character Movement – A new contact mechanism takes into account a player’s momentum when pushing into one another, introducing a "physical" (as opposed to finesse) game play mechanic. Additionally, Havok is incorporated this year to create player interactions that move and flow in a much more fluid and realistic manner.

Brand New Animations – This year more than doubles the amount of dunk/lay-up animations are available, generating more variety under the hoop and creating a more realistic experience overall. Additionally, each character’s defensive posture shows a natural flow between one-on-one defense and off ball defense.

Full HD 1080p – NBA 09 The Inside continues to deliver true high definition at 60 frames per second, delivering the sharpest and most realistic basketball experience available.

The launch date for NBA 09 The Insider is October 7, 2008 and be on the lookout to score a free copy of this release shortly thereafter right here on The Nugg Doctor.

Go Nuggets!

Take That, King James!

(Boulder-CO) I am B-O-R-E-D bored, so what does any NBA team blogger do when college football is just barely enough to keep them from going into serious basketball withdrawal? Well, if your answer is look for rare and usually forgotten moments from the past then give yourself a nice pat on the back. Here is a clip of 'Melo giving LeBron James a taste of the medicine he is usually on the other end of the spoon of.

When does preseason start?
Go Nuggets!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Today's Date in NBA History

(Boulder-CO) Today's date is September 10th, and on this day:

'48- Bob Lanier was born in Buffalo, New York.
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

39 Wins... Yea, You're Probably Right

(Boulder-CO) Here's a little ditty that should be able to dust the cobwebs off around here. The posting has been lean lately because I haven't had a whole lot of positive things to say so far through this off-season's transactions and I would rather give the new guys, and a few of the returning faces, a chance to surprise me before confirming my previous suspicions.
And apparently I'm not the only who thinks the Nuggets have taken a few steps back.
But 39 wins, really?
Basically, the Nuggets' entire season is hanging in the balance on what boils down to two players, Nene and Chucky Atkins. We know what 'Melo and AI bring, both good and bad. We also, now after a full healthy season, have an idea of what Kenyon Martin is going to give. But, where things get tricky is with Nene. If Nene stays healthy for the whole season the Nuggets can, at best, probably expect around a double-double of twelve and ten. Meaning, other guys (ie 'Melo, Kenyon Martin, and Chris Andersen) are going to have to each grab at least a rebound or two more than last year to make up for the rest of Camby's rebounding impact and you can forget about the blocks because their gone.
And if he doesn't stay healthy, well, can you say, "lottery"?
As for Chucky Atkins, we'll see if his presumed offensive boost is worthy of his defensive liability for a team that will most likely allow the most points per game next year. Remember, the Nuggets are in the position of having to start two guards who are both under six feet next year (not to mention one of their back-ups, Anthony Carter is merely 6'2") and I think you would be hard pressed to find another team in the NBA, or for that matter, any major conference NCAA team that is going to start a smaller backcourt.
What's everyone thinking with the season looming less than two months away?