Like you, I was dismayed when the Nuggets were bounced unceremoniously from the 1st round so I took some time away because I was pretty vested in the Denver Nuggets (Just ask my wife, when I had to catch every game). But in that time, I was able to focus on a few key points in this season and some ideas for this offseason. Here's what I got from this season
1. The mystical 4th big was on the roster all along; Johan Petro. Back in December I wrote an article titled "It's time to unleash the French Tickler" A lot of the guys we were wanting to trade for were big time Stiffs, while Petro was toiling at the end of the bench. KMart's injury (one of the two things that killed our season) was in some weird way fortunate for us. Here's the 4th big we've been looking for to bolster our front court. He was rough at first but as he started playing more he settled down and we found out he had a fairly reliable jump shot and looked more and more like the 3rd big (Birdman being the walking dead)
2. I was one of the guys clamoring for Adrian Dantley taking over George Karl's job. Man I was WRONG. But it was it a hard situation for Dantley to be thrust-ed in. I do have to give him credit though in Game 5 and 6 Dantley did show a noticeable improvement in managing the rotations and working the refs (Which we all liked even though George Karl said it's overrated). I think Dantley can still look forward to a head coaching gig in the future, he showed growth in a crappy situation.
3. The JR Smith situation. I too was dismayed in Game 6 when JR went into bitch mode. In a way I could understand the frustration since his last good game was game 1 and Melo and Chauncey took a lot of extra shots than usual as game 6 got more desperate. I think calling for a JR Smith trade is a bit premature.
4. George Karl. Man was I wrong about George Karl, at first it seemed like KMart's Knee injury would cause the season to be over but that was far from it. George Karl while he doesn't have really a specific offense/defense system in place; the most important thing he has is their respect. Adrian Dantley I'm sure with an offseason and a training camp ran his way he'd be a lot further along than what we saw. When Karl went down so did our season. I wish him the best of luck and I hope he makes a full recovery and he comes back to kick some NBA ass.
Now here's some thoughts on the offseason and the future
1. Start JR Smith I'm sure this is going to sound ludicrous but hear me out. I like Arron Afflalo a lot, however the way the rotations are set AAA gets to play most of the 1st quarter, 7 mins in the beginning of the 3rd and 5 mins elsewhere and that's usually it for AAA. I'm proposing doing a virtual swap of rotations between AAA and JR Smith. Afflalo has shown us that he can be a reliable scorer (more so than JR Smith). Think of it this way, we can never reliably count on JR for 15 points a game. Sometimes he can go off and score 30 points other nights JR will build us a brick house and only give 4 points. AAA has a much better chance for consistency off the Bench and already has a nice thing going on with Ty Lawson. Don't forget when JR and Nene get their pick and roll going they can't be stopped. JR Smith starting can help set the tone in the beginning of the game. Teams won't be so quick to double team Melo and open up driving lanes for him. It would also increase the probability of opening up big with a lot of points and setting the tone early.
2. Keep the Core intact I would love to find some way to get Chris Bosh somehow on the Nuggets but that really is a pipe dream at this point. Besides, when we had George Karl and everyone was healthy we were a damn near unstoppable team. It is tempting to trade KMart and JR due to their expiring contract but I think unless we get someone really special it'll just set the team back. Naturally we'll adjust some mintues. The 3 man front court rotation while would be ideal in the playoffs is just ludicrous to follow during the regular season. With the emergence of Petro I hope we're able to resign him for cheap (around 2 mil for the biannual exception) and he should be the 3rd big option since I don't trust Birdman's health. Consider this too; the playoffs have shown me that teams with chemistry (Celtics, Suns) will triumph over teams with more talent (Mavs and Cavs).
3. Resign Carmelo Anthony Considering the drama LeBron is causing in Cleveland I would consider this a top priority for the Nuggets front office. It already sounds like the FO is working on this which makes me happy and from what I've read Melo likes Denver enough not to hold it hostage and stay long enough to get his Jersey hung up next to Alex English's at the Pepsi Center
4. Resign Joey Grahm and Johan Petro I already said Petro needs to be resigned, so does Joey Graham. Joey made Game 6 watchable and showed a lot of heart in that magnificent 2nd quarter. He would be a starting SF in a few teams around this league with great hustle and toughness. I hope he polishes his long range shot (Since that's all that he really needs to work on) and stop fucking bulldozing so he doesn't pick up offensive fouls. Petro I would like him to be resigned long term. He would be a serviceable starter and is a good big to have off the bench. With 2010 most likely being KMart's last year playing for the Nuggets Petro is starting to look more and more like the he'll be wearing Blue and Gold for a long time.
I have to give a shout out to Nate and Andrew, I love this site and I love chatting during games keep up the awesome work!
What do you guys think of this?