Needless to say, things are not looking particularly well in Denver. High expectations followed by a blistering start have covered the overlying issues that have plagued this team before and after the Gallo trade. And with Gallo out for a month, AAA trying way too hard to live up to his contract, Nene and Moz hurt and inconsistency all across the board, any stretch of games would be brutal. Out of our next 13 games, only 2 (the Warriors and the Suns) have winning percentages under .500. In that stretch we have 4 b2b's, all of which except for the Mavs/Warriors at home, have travel involved. Those who looked at the schedule before the season could have seen that this stretch of games would be difficult to say the least, let alone going at it with a hobbled front line, our best player out and our supposed high powered offense and home court advantage disappearing like the wind.
A look ahead at the rest of February and the rest of the season for the Nuggets
As depressing as this all may seem, there is a bright spot in all of this mess. Several if you look hard enough.
The average winning percentage of the teams we play in February is .571 at the moment. In March? .481. In April? .508. This difference, while appearing small, appears to make the Nuggets lives much easier after the All Star break and into the playoffs. And continuing along with the scheduling, I am of the opinion that tough stretches like this breed character into a young team and form a camaraderie amongst them that few other things can. This is not a team that will point fingers and play the blame game (GK's inexcusable throwing of players under the bus notwithstanding).
And looking around the league, we are not the only team that has injuries. Chauncey is out for the season. Memphis is without Z-Bo for a while and Darrell Arthur for the season. Who knows how much longer Kobe's knees can last. The Mavs are without Jason Kidd.
Every team has shown signs of the lockout affecting them. Every team has been blown out this year. Every. Single. Team. Chicago has gotten beat by double digits several times. OKC as well. The Heat lost to the Bucks twice in a week. The Spurs can't buy a game on the road. Utah and Portland are having their struggles as well. While our issues may appear to be overwhelming as they are all coming at the same time, that was the whole point of building the team the way that it's built. That we can have people stay in and allow people to heal if necessary. How many other teams in the league would be able to have 3 of their starters out and still make a competitive game against a very solid Houston team?
And let us remember the last lockout season where the Knicks limped into the playoffs as an 8 seed and tore through the Eastern Conference before running into the Spurs. We have all seen the potential of this team when all cylinders are firing. The Mavs and Jazz game at the beginning of the year. The dismantling of the Heat and the Clippers more recently. The beautifully tough winning streak on the road. The talent and will to win is there, somewhere.
I believe that we can still raise hell in the playoffs this year. Will we be able to catch the Thunder and get that coveted 1 seed? Probably not, but stranger things have happened Could we get home court? Absolutely. Could we win a serious without it? Last time I checked our road record was one of the best in the league. So my advice is patience. Things are bad now, but they will get better, even if it gets worse at first. And who knows, maybe this will force GK to play the rooks and allow them to develop into real contributers on this team. Dig in. It's going to be a wild ride to the finish.