I must break you, griff man.
For the first time in a long time we have a 7'0+ man in the center position. In fact, we have two now! Who may it be you ask? Well I'll tell you.. hailing from Russia, and standing at 7'1 is a machine. He has the city key to every town in Russia and has pictures of Blake Griffin all over his room, with a bunch of darts in them because to him, Blake Griffin was the destroyer of the Russian golden boy a long time ago...
Timofey Mozgov, is there anyone who has more of a legend on the Nuggets roster? No, not since the days of Balkman have there not been a man shrouded in just a majestic shroud of legend. Sure he has hardly done anything in the league since entering the league with the New York Knicks in 2010. Despite just recently joining the NBA, he has been playing basketball professionally since 2004, playing in St. Petersburg, then he moved to CSK VVS-2 Samara and finally the Khimiki Moscow Region from 2006 to 2010. He only played 11.6 minutes a game last year so it is hard to get a good measure of where he will stand this year, but none the less, I feel it will be very interesting regardless. He should be getting good starting minutes this year being the center in this years starting lineup, a move that seems unusual for a George Karl offense, implementing a legit 7 footer.
He is relied on this year to do one thing, which is rebounding. The levels were too small to calculate last year but he did post a 13.2 rebound rate last year which was just as good as Marc Gasols 13.2 rebound rating. Well what can we expect from him this year in terms of rebounding? Well last year he posted 8.2 rebounds per 36 minutes while he played for the New York Knicks however this stat increased to 9.3 in the eleven games he played last year for the Nuggets, still a small sample size but if it is any indication of what to expect this year, it is a warm welcome.
From Russia With Love.
Offensively, I think most people only expect him to get a few wide open jams, a few put backs and not much else and I think that is pretty accurate in assumption, but he was not put in to score but to cover up Nene and his weakness, being rebounding. Also I expect him to replace the Kenyon crazy in terms of hitting hard and playing hard defense. Last year he was very willing to smack the day lights out of any guard who drove to the hoop, just ask Eric Gordon, who was smacked to the floor by Mozgov in a strong hard foul that Moz was more than eager to accept.
Eric Gordon gets fouled hard by Timofey Mozgov
If he develops this sort of reputation as a hard hitter, I think guards will think twice before trying to drive to the lane against us for fear of a season ending injury or being broken in half by the Russian machine. I think he'll need to work on his foot positioning and hold his ground more often against opposing centers. There are weak spots though, such as he will always constantly be the last person down the court but that is the price you pay for a legit center, and it will give us a lot of practice to work on our half-court offense this year well before the playoffs.
Ideally I see Mozgov becoming a 11 PPG, 10 RPG and coming in and playing hard defense against opposing centers, getting a lot of fouls and taking a load off of Nene this year, if he can do all of the above, I think we will be a strong contender this year. I feel like he is motivated to be a legit center in the league and being known for more than the guy with the worst facial on the receiving end of a dunk last year..
Blake Griffin RIDICULOUS slam dunk on Mozgov
If Dwight Howard can recover from his rookie campaign from being facial fodder for Kobe Bryant, so can Mozgov.
If Mozgov becomes our rebounding machine, I believe we have the chance to be better this year because one of the main reasons we lost to the Thunder last year in the playoffs was rebounding. It can not be said enough.
Finally, we are introduced to Kosta Koufos, who despite being considered a bust since being drafted out of Ohio St. still has a very impressive frame that can be used to good use. He is 7'0 tall as well, and 265 lbs. He is big and athletic so one has to wonder why he hasn't had a stint as a starting center somewhere yet but the answer is that he is very slow amongst centers, not very quick and apparently pretty clumsy. I haven't seen enough of him as of so far so I don't really have a lot to say about him, but here is my quick take scouting report on him..
He is a pretty mediocre basketball player.. He can get to the line sometimes, and he is not much of a shooter really. He is big and I think his main strength is offensive rebounding. He posted 12.1 rebounds per 36 minutes in the 11 games for us last year so there is some debate in the Nugget fan community whether he should getting the starting job over Mozgov and I feel that most think Mozgov is the one with the potential, not Kostas. However, some people believe Mozgov to be nothing more than a stiff and some see the next Joel Przybilla in Kostas Koufos as nothing more than a late bloomer center. They both are big, round and at the age Kostas is at, Pryzbilla was at his talent level too yet somehow turned into an effective player for the Trailblazers for a few years, being a good rebounding, defensive center for them.
Kostas shows off his biggest talent; his body, and his body alone.
He is only twenty two years old, so let us give this kid a break.. I suggest if Mozgov starts to suck this year at the starting position, and there is a good chance he does, than Kostas should get starting minute time to prove himself to George Karl and the Nugget franchise.
So what do you think? Should Mozgov be the starting 5? Kostas? Maybe even Chris Anderson?
Overall I'd say this is still a weak position for us but I still think there is potential here.
Overall I imagine that this team has the potential to be stronger than the sum of its parts. If they falter and don't mold together as a team however without WIlson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R Smith this year.. this team may be in one of the worst places in pro sports.. the middle. No one wants to have middle round draft picks, no one wants to be the punching bag for the 1 and 2 seeds, more often than not. However this team in my opinion has the potential to be a strong contender this year.. for they are young and will benefit from the shortened season.
For the regular season, I will guess that this team will post a record of 42 wins and 24 losses.
I'll take a stab at guessing who will lead who in which statistical categories..
Assists- Ty Lawson
Blocks- Chris Anderson
So if anyone wants to give their guesses on who'll lead who in which category that is different from mine, let me hear!
From me and a member of ZZ Top, I mean Chris Anderson, I mean.. Santa Claus.. Merry Christmas!, Happy happy Hanukkah! And a Happy new year to all Nugget fans and Denver Stiff Readers.. let us make this years game threads be the best ones yet! Bring the humor, the stats, the insight, and the opinions!