You'll notice there's a lack of commentary on our returning Nuggets. It's by no means comprehensive. I found myself predominately taking notes on the new players. If you missed the scrimmage tonight, it was good to see our Nuggets back out and running. Check out my notes after the jump...
- Big Al: the vet was alive tonight. Vocal on the floor (and afterward, more on that later) and knocking down outside shots. Is he back to the pre-trade form that us Stiffs pined for when he was signed?
- Rudy: struck me as a great teammate, vocally supportive and, while he was knocking down long shots, was not afraid to share the ball in the fast paced nature of the scrimmage. Not at all how I remember him in Portland, did head coach Nate Mcmillan stifle him that much? I must say, I'm already coming around to the guy who I originally dogged in the pick-up for peanuts.
- Brewer: dude is lanky. This and his defensive prowess were evident at times, particularly when he ganked an inbound pass and took it down the other end for an uncontested dunk. Whiffed on a tre from the corner, but that's okay. Great free throw stroke, too bad he won't be using it much this season.
- Timo: rolled over numerous picks, as mentioned as a strength in a recent Denver Post article, so look for that this season from the big Russian. Will be good to have a legit big body in the paint.
- Faried: I ran out of fingers for the number of times he was above the rim; what you've heard is true, this guy can jump out of the building. Watch him on the court, the guy's heels never touch the ground. He stalks on his forefeet, 'everready' to jump out of the building, they may as well have named the brand of battery after him, this guy is a 'jumpstarter', making plays where there seem to be none, scrambling for a loose ball, muscling inside for a tip-in (there were a few of these). He's aggressive in the paint, on the glass, but it was ugly when he put the rock on the floor. Regardless, Karl must give this guy burn.
- Hamilton: our other rookie draftee. He dropped a few long shots, but looked a bit unpolished. I expect Karl to keep him on the bench except for garbage time. I hope this doesn't shunt his development.
- Gallo: in a word? Stroking. Gallo had his shot tonight and was actively looking for it. Having not seen him play since the end of last season, I hope this translates to continued growth in a go-to role.
- Koufos: as someone else already said, he's not afraid to play garbage. He should frustrate his opponent when he sees playing time, but he'll likely draw quick fouls with his unabashedly physical play. I'd swear he pulled a David Lee in tonight's scrimmage ('that's my sixth foul!'), though I was glad to see he's unafraid to foul hard (hard for a scrimmage leads me to believe he won't have a problem laying down on an unfamiliar face).
- Nene: took a lot of midrange shots tonight, and I don't remember him making one. His shooting touch looked off, I hope that's off-season rust and not being a part of practice until just this week. Welcome back, big guy!
- Dre: played like it's a scrimmage, for better or worse. On the positive side, he was looking to lob as we we all expected, but seemed to miss the mark. He needs to get in shape and gel with the current roster before the timing clicks. On the negative side, again, he needs to get in shape. Didn't seem to care, not paying attention in the huddle as the veteran point guard, but again, it's only a scrimmage. Compare that to...
- The scrubs!: I can't remember who's non-guaranteed and who is not, but in contrast to Dre, these guys were putting out effort like their lives depended on it. Their facial expressions betrayed and magnified any mistakes, but it was cool seeing these guys get a strong putback, fastbreak dunk of a steal, whatever was the case. Demarre Carroll was the most polished from what I could tell. Another note on Demarre - dude sweats a lot, and while I mean that figuratively, it's equivalent literally. A man after my own sweaty heart. Julyan Stone had a nice and1 with seconds remaining, I don't remember much else about him.
- Other thoughts: it will be nice to have height this season, I'm expecting a lot of putbacks this season with our men cleaning up in the paint tonight. Finally, back to Big Al's vocalness... when the clock wound down and several players were headed off the court (Dre in the lead) Big Al took the mike and addressed the crowd, thanking them for staying loyal through the lockout, and called back the team. He said there was a 'new tradition', where rookies had to entertain the crowd after the pre-season scrimmage, either by singing or dancing. I was Hamilton, Faried, Carroll, and Higgins (I think) who actually got down. All I can say is, someone else needs to teach me how to dougie... They were good sports about it. The crowd was eating it up, as well as all the free promotional items (during the half, the announcer in all his baritone glory utterred, "WHO WANTS FREEEEEE STUFFFF?!?!", which was so effective in invigorating the crowd that I think we have a replacement for the ineffective "CAN YOU FEEL IT?!?!"... WHO DOESN'T... ahem... who doesn't love free stuff?)
I missed a few plays while taking notes so I expect other Stiffs to have a better rundown than this, or take exception with more insight. Either way, I'm excited to have basketball back with such a young, deep, dynamic squad. Please jump in with commentary on guys like Lawson who I didn't address.