The Nuggets (12-5) are about to play their 18th game of the season, tonight, and are already 25.7% of the way through the 2011-12 campaign. If things were to end today, George Karl and his team would be the No. 2 seed out West and facing the Memphis Grizzlies in Round One of the playoffs. Let's continue with our movie theme for the guards ...
Have you seen the movie Death Race? I caught it once when I was sitting around my apartment with my buddy Nick one morning. We sat in what only can be described as astonishment at how awful that movie was. We could practically guess the lines within about 90 percent accuracy. The whole thing was just so bad that it eventually became good in a way because we had so much fun making fun of it.
A lot of folks around here like to think that I have terrible taste in film, which I do, but I like to think I just have no taste. I can watch Stick It and appreciate it and I can turn on Old Country for Old Men and enjoy the next couple hours. You put it on my television and I will probably watch it and enjoy it to a certain extent. The two movies that I just can't stand? The Deer Hunter and Raging Bull. The funny part, both movies feature Robert De Niro, who I typically enjoy. Movies are pretty sweet and I enjoy watching them, about as much as I enjoy a Denver Nuggets game ... speaking of the Nuggets ...
Ty Lawson: 16 points / 6.7 assists / 27.9% 3-pt - Drive, 2011
I have yet to see the movie Drive and I feel like I haven't seen all there is to Lawson's game. But from what I've been seeing from Lawson, and the trailers for Drive, I can't wait to see it all come together. A movie about a getaway driver who gets in trouble with the wrong people? I'm in! Lawson finally has the reigns to run his own team, probably like how Driver is finally running on his own, and things are looking good. Lawson has trimmed up a little bit and his lift looks good. One game after spraining his ankle, he was back the next night and completed two dunks against the Miami Heat out on the break. Ty's still nearly impossible to stop when he attacks the rim, has shown an improved (still needs work) mid-range game, and still has his three-point shot. The long-ball hasn't been falling often, he has 10 games where he hasn't made a three but attempted at least one shot, and he needs to find some consistency. Still, the future looks great for Denver's new floor general and I can't wait to see more!
Andre Miller: 10.1 points / 6.6 assists / 32% 3-pt - Cool Hand Luke, 1967
I'm convinced that Miller would be the person I'd choose to defuse a nuclear bomb if the world was on the line. You just can't rattle Miller. Sure, he loves chewing out officials and couldn't outrun the pre-Weight Watchers Charles Barkley, but 'Dre is a valuable piece to this team. Until Lawson and Danilo Gallinari prove to be ready in crunch-time, Miller can be counted on late in games. The soon to be 36 year-old (March 19th) has shown signs of Father Time creeping in, nine games of 8-points or less, but he also has shown that he has a semi-reliable three-point shot! Miller has hit some big shots for the Nuggets, but how about that three-pointer he made from 31-feet against the Knicks in overtime? Or the countless big shots against the 76ers on Jan. 18th? Like Luke, Miller can be stubborn and perhaps pig-headed, but he's a competitor and that has to help Lawson and push the team.
Arron Afflalo: 12.1 points / 3.0 rebounds / 37.7% 3-pt - Rocky III
When I thought about Afflalo's season, the word rocky came to mind ... then the movie Rocky III popped into my head as AAA, like Rocky Balboa, seemed to get rich, fall off, and suddenly his underdog story appears to be in jeopardy. I had pretty big expectations for Afflalo heading into the season and it's obvious that he's pressing very hard when he plays, but it's just been a tough start for the lovable character. The best part, Balboa redeemed himself in a major way by dismantling Clubber Lang in a re-match. Afflalo is now dealing with a groin strain and needs to not rush back and come back healthy. The good news ... in his last six games, Afflalo went 13-23 from deep (56.5%) and is likely shaking off the early season rust.
Fernandez likes to shoot 'em up.
Rudy Fernandez: 8.3 points / 3.4 assists / 32.1% 3-pt
In the Spaniard's first few games with the Nuggets, I understood the frustrations of the Portland Trail Blazers fan base. When a simple pass was needed, Fernandez tried to throw it one-handed off a dribble ... turnover. When an easy shot was available, Fernandez would find a way to take a difficult fade-away. Rudy plays the game with a certain flair that can get him into trouble or can result in an awesome Kenneth Faried alley-oop. Like the movie Smokin' Aces, Rudy plays at his best in a shootout and can really get up and down the floor. When chaos ensues, Rudy seems most at ease. It appeared that Rudy calmed down a bit and has been settling in pretty nicely for the Nuggets. He's a pretty good defender, even though he's skinny-skinny, and is the perfect fit for George Karl's uptempo style. The strained Achilles is very worrisome and I hated seeing Rudy on the floor against the Wizards ... he definitely needs to rest until he's totally okay to come back. I think we'll have to live with the hot-and-cold nights from the flamboyant guard.
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