Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
The Nuggets wrapped up the preseason tonight in Phoenix with an unimpressive loss to the Suns, 88-72. Denver ends the fake season with a 3-4 record after jumping out to a 3-0 start. Let the season begin!
Well, I'm glad tonight's game is over along with the preseason.
The Nuggets made it through seven "fake" games, one annoying back-to-back (tonight), without any major injury. So, we can all be thankful for that. We can now sit back and wait for the season to begin on Oct. 31st in Philadelphia against Andrew Bynum (will he play?) and the 76ers.
Good news: Anthony Randolph is just 23 years-old, the same as Kosta Koufos. He hit the glass and grabbed 8 rebounds (2 offensive), protected the rim a couple times (2 blocks), and was working hard to find his offense.
Bad news: His only shot with extended minutes (19 total minutes) didn't go so well. Randolph turned the ball over, had a couple moving violations on screens, tried to go coast-to-coast a couple times through traffic, and shot just 4-13 from the field with more than a few forced attempts. It will definitely take some time before Randolph is able to work his way into the rotation, if ever.
Good news: Evan Fournier showed some flashes tonight in his 27 minutes of action. The rookie was aggressive on offense and active on defense. He jumped the passing lanes while the Suns were in transition a couple times and almost had a couple nice steals. He finished around the rim a couple times, had some nice drives, and showed some range on his three ball (1-4 from deep). He finished the night with 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Bad news: Despite his smarts, the 19 year-old still played like a rookie at times too. He had 5 turnovers and shot just 3-8 from the field. Fournier has been impressive Karl and that bodes well for his future. I don't know how often we'll see him on the floor this season, but he has started off right for Denver.
Good news: Jordan Hamilton finally got some extended court time and put up 15 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes. Hamilton wasn't afraid to go HAM and pulled the trigger from all over the floor, I liked his gunner mentality. He was 6-17 from the floor and tried out multiple facets to his game from runners, to layups, to jumpers, and threes. Hamilton is growing into the player he will become and his best route to playing time could come as a rebounder who provides some scoring pop. Of his 10 boards, 4 were on the offensive glass - he gains great position when he rebounds and knows how to use his body, totally different form most of his teammates who use their athleticism to board.
Bad news: Hamilton had a bad turnover and got a touch out of control at times. He only connected on 1-4 of his threes, but shooters have to shoot and he didn't hesitate (which is good). Hamilton will battle for minutes all season, but when he gets his time - hopefully he can find success with what he does well and continue to round out the rest of his game as well.
Good news: JaVale McGee put up 7 points, 8 rebounds (2 offensive), and 2 blocks. McGee was running in transition all night and getting up and down the floor well. Andre Miller found him for an easy dunk early on and he finished around the rim with authority on another occasion. It was good to see McGee hitting the defensive glass as well, he should be a vacuum on the glass with his size and ability.
Bad news: McGee wasn't so successful when the Nuggets got him the ball in and near the post. He attempted one post-up way out above the foul line, on the elbow, and wasn't really a threat to score from that far out - he's miss a wild hook shot. Again, trying to become an improved and revamped player is going to be a long road for McGee. The question is, that Jeff Morton and I were texting back-and-forth tonight, can the Nuggets and will the Nuggets give him extended minutes to try and develop him? Or will McGee's minutes be limited in order to try to control his chaos and energy? Is McGee a guy who can play big minutes or is he more effective in bursts?
I'm going to lump the rest of the guys into this paragraph. Ty Lawson looked to just be going through the motions tonight trying to just get the damn game over with (can't blame him). Andre Miller was a little more active on the defensive side of the ball tonight and he was looking to set up teammates and was a safety-net of sorts when Fournier was on the floor -- letting Evan run the offense a bit, but there in case anything happened. Kenneth Faried was active and looking more like his normal self with 12 points and 6 rebounds. Corey Brewer played 32 minutes and wasn't much of a factor offensively and committed 6 turnovers. Brewer is the classic energy guy and not able to fulfill that role with heavy increases in minutes. Kosta Koufos was his consistent self with 8 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes of action - some nice hook shots and finishes in traffic. Wilson Chandler played 13 minutes in the first half and shot just 1-6 -- he was running the floor hard and active during his time -- still trying to round himself into form.
I'm so glad the preseason is over ... let the games begin!