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The Nuggets Don’t Deserve To Make Playoffs

The Denver Nuggets are lazy.I’m a baaaad Nuggets fan. I don’t focus on the things they do well – transition offense, creating turnovers, their ever-improving inside-out game, their ability to play through injuries, or the fact that on any given night they can beat any team in the NBA. Instead, I focus on the fact the Nuggets are lazy (like the dog in the picture).

They’re not playing defense (at least not consistently). Every game I see them take a play or a series of plays off – I’ve even seen them take entire quarters off. Not a game goes by that I don’t see the Nuggets fail to challenge a shooter. It’s sickening – all it takes is a little effort to run out and put a hand in someone’s face, yet no one moves. That’s the definition of bad perimeter defense. Local beat writers are finally starting to pick up on this – according to the Denver Post, the Nuggets win more games when they defend the 3pt line than when they don’t. Too bad I’ve been lambasting the Nuggets for this since before the season started.

They’re not running enough. Running creates a lot of easy points, puts pressure on opposing defenses, and it seems to energize every Nuggets player to play better defense. Yet not a game goes by that I don’t see someone walking the ball up the court. Sometimes it’s simply a genuine lack of focus, but I think it’s also about laziness. Why run when you can walk?

They take a lot of bad jumpers. There’s nothing wrong with chucking up a jumper when it’s the best shot available to you, but there’s no excuse for launching a shot 6 seconds into the shot clock when no one from your team is under the basket. Again, not a game goes by that I don’t see this either.

I know what you’re going to say – every NBA team does these things. Fine. They’re not perfect. I get it. Still, no one can tell me they’re doing a good enough job. Their record is all the proof I need.

But what if, for the sake of argument, the Nuggets DID do these things consistently. They probably wouldn’t have lost to the Knicks on Nov. 6, 2007 by 7 points. After all, the Knicks ARE the worst team in the league. What’s the excuse for losing that one? I bet it has something to do with the Knicks shooting 43% from 3 pt land that game (not challenging shooters).

What about dropping one against the Pacers at home on Nov. 27th? The Nuggets shot 36% in that game – maybe not enough early offense opportunities (aka not running)? Maybe it was hard to run after all that turkey they had at Thanksgiving. Losing in Chicago on Feb 22nd was just as pathetic – allowing the Bulls to score 135 points is just awful. You can count on one hand the number of times the Bulls have scored more than 120. Never mind the fact they’ve never scored more than 130 this season (except against the Nuggets). Awful performance, and it had a lot to do with effort.

Most recently, I watched the Kings beat the Nuggets at home 118 – 115, despite the Kings missing Ron Artest, Brad Miller, and their starting PG Udrih. The Kings shot 40% from 3pt land (because they weren’t being challenged on open looks) and the Nuggets hit 26% of their 31 3pt shots – anyone else think they were more interested in jump shooting than actually playing?

Here’s the most important statistic of the Nuggets season – they don’t want to play hard all the time. They’re L-A-Z-Y.

If you look at the four games I’ve mentioned (Knicks, Pacers, Bulls, and Kings), you’ll see none of them were on a back to back. None of them were with more than one starter missing (unless you consider Nene a starter, but he hasn’t been healthy most of the year). All of those games were winnable. Taking a look at the standings, if the Nuggets would have won all four of those games, they’d be challenging Utah for winning the division and looking at playing the flawed Rockets, Suns, or Jazz with a home court advantage. Instead, if the Nuggets get into the playoffs, they’ll probably have to face New Orleans, San Antonio, or Los Angeles. Can you say first round exit? I’d rather see them miss the playoffs (and get a decent draft pick) than get beat by San Antonio again…

If the Nuggets miss the playoffs, you’ll know why. The question is, will they?

Ballhype: hype it up!

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  1. 1 Comment(s)

  2. By Melvin on Apr 10, 2008 | Reply

    I Like your point here man… The Nuggets will either play superbly or atrociously… But then you really have to look at the otehr side which is the gs.. Do they also deserve to make it? Well, I can say the gs do not seem to look serious in contending for playoffs either and i think portland looks to be even more deserving! just my thought

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