There were several players who were cast aside by the Denver Nuggets this offseason. Some left with great fanfare others departed like a team of Navy Seals scurrying to their zodiac on the beach of a tropical country ruled by a harsh and physically repulsive dictator.
After the first month of the NBA season and as we enter the Christmas season what better time to reach out and check in on our old friends to see how they are doing?
Taurean Green – After being packaged with the next individual on our list to the New York Knicks in exchange for Renaldo Balkman simply because he could be waived with no financial repercussions whatsoever Green landed in Spain in the best league outside the NBA. He is suiting up for CAI Zaragoza. Zaragoza has a 4-6 record, but Green appears to be playing pretty well. He is third on the team in scoring at 11.3 points and 2.7 assists per game. He is shooting 43% from three point land and 52% from inside the arc. It may take one year or three or four, but I think Green will be back in the NBA someday.
Bobby Jones – After enjoying the prestige of being traded to the Knicks with Taurean Green because he also could be waived without causing the Knicks any future financial responsibilities Jones was dumped and claimed by the Miami Heat, one of the teams who he played with during the 2007-08 season. They unceremoniously dumped him and he was claimed by the Sacramento Kings who gave him the same treatment the Knicks and Heat did prior to his arrival in Sacramento. Jones landed in the D-League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and is enjoying playing for undoubtedly one of the coolest team names in the world. After two regular season games, including a 53 minute, 28 point and 14 rebound performance in his last outing, he is averaging 18.5 points and 13 boards. There are still a handful of teams who have never claimed Jones so look for him to play in an NBA summer league and an NBA training camp or two somewhere near you in 2009.
Yakhouba Diawara – Diawara, who could not shoot his way out of Beverly Hills (you know, as opposed to Compton, which would be difficult to shoot your way out of), has found a home in Miami with the Heat. Kuba has actually started three games and even somehow managed to score double figures in two games this season. He has even managed to make two or more three pointers in four games! He is currently mired in a 2-11 slump though as things seem to be returning to normal.
Eduardo Najera – Many Nugget fans were irate when Denver chose not to bring back Eduardo this summer. A look at his production shows that not retaining Najera was another solid decision by the Nuggets front office this season. Eduardo has only played in seven games. He is averaging only 8.6 minutes a game and is currently struggling with a strained lower back that has cost him the last five games. To make things worse, Eduardo is 0-8 from downtown rendering his offensive game nearly inconsequential at best. In fact, he has only made three shots all season.
Marcus Camby – Finally a former Nugget who is enjoying some success this season, although not in the win column. After missing all of the preseason and the first three games of the season with a heel injury he has played in 13 straight games. His averages are down across the board except for his scoring, which has bumped back up into double figures. Sadly the Clippers have only won three games although they seem to be pretty pleased with what Marcus has given them. Many keen observers expect to see Camby move on to greener pastures later in the season. There is no much reason for a terrible team to hang onto a player who is advanced in years when they can get a younger player with a worse contract, which seems to be Mike Dunleavy’s modus operandi. So look for a Camby for Eddy Curry or Boris Diaw.
Carmelo Anthony Elbow Update
I really have no real news, but the Denver Post reported he has hooked his elbow up to that machine that Darth Vader used to torture Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back. He reported pain in his shooting elbow that causes a loss of strength. Hopefully they did not crank it up to ten like they did with Han. Melo claimed after the game on Sunday that he could not even pick up his son. He is hoping to play tomorrow against the Spurs, but there is a possibility that he will miss the game in one of those fake hold me back kind of situations.
Maybe if we sat them in a coffee shop surrounded by Rachel, Monica and Phoebe they could chit chat
J.R. Smith has matured and apparently extracted himself from an early season shooting slump, but there was a story today in the Rocky Mountain News that could have been printed last year, or the year before that.
Apparently George Karl and J.R. Smith are not talking. I tend to side with Smith on this one. Instead of communicating through the media, where misunderstandings abound, why can’t Karl just call J.R. into his office and express to him why he only played for seven minutes against the Timberwolves. When you expect someone to learn a lesson on their own, sometimes they learn the wrong lesson, like my coach hates me.
Perhaps one of the assistants has delivered the message that Karl wanted J.R. to hear. To a certain extent that is what assistants are for, to interact with the players on a level the head coach does not have the time to. If that did happen, no one other than the coaching staff and Smith appear to know about it.