With the Nuggets seemingly several different parts that have yet to mesh together, this next off-season will be critical for one for general manager Masai Ujiri to show his vision. A vision as to the direction this team is going (up or down) and who will be on this team going forward.
What will that vision be?
After watching the Nuggets "ho-hum" themselves through a (another) game they shouldn't have lost against the Hornets, it occurred to me that there is a very basic problem going on with the team. Aside from injuries there's just no sense of cohesion with this team. A square-peg-round-hole analogy. It lies either with the personnel on the court, George Karl's coaching, or the influx roster, but likely a combination of all three.
In the off-season Ujiri needs to address the direction this team is going. If Karl is to remain his coach, then players must be formed to his style. Karl misuses big men, and really has no understanding of how to appropriately maximize their potential. If Karl is to stay, do we need three seven-foot centers on the roster (and what to do about Chris Andersen)? These are the questions that need to be answered later. My personal gut feeling is that Karl will get to finish out his contract for the next two seasons, barring a complete collapse.
Right now, the Nuggets have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. Whatever happens, happens. However, even with the imminent return of Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler there's a sense that the parts that have been assembled are a bit out of sorts. Even if they had time to "gel", would they be cohesive enough with a coach that distrusts the very depth he has been given by Masai (three seven foot centers!!). That is not Karl's fault, and quite frankly it is what it is.
This summer Masai needs to make the decision ... get more players that fit with Karl, or go in a different direction. That being said, based on what I've seen from JaVale McGee, that particular "decision" may have been made as we speak. JaVale has been so bad the last couple games that I'm sure it has even been alarming to the Nuggets front office, who traded for him. I have hope that McGee will flip a switch and become a more mentally sound player, but it's my faint hope.
Whatever this brings, we know that the Nuggets front office staff will have their work cut out for them. The Nuggets approach, it seems, is to acquire valuable assets to move for a potential star or additional valuable player(s). They haven't cast their lot with the draft, so if they are going to "make hay", it begins July 11th. We will see where it goes.
On to the links!
What the NBA and NCAA need from each other - Tom Ziller, SB Nation
Tom Ziller (of Sactown Royalty and SB Nation) tackles an idea I've been suggesting for a couple seasons now (I think Feinstein has as well). Empowering the D-Leauge for a development alternative to College for those who choose not to attend.
Nuggets suffer another bad loss, this one to the New Orleans Hornets - Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post
Well ... if you'd like to revisit last night's pukefest in New Orleans, go right ahead. I DARE YOU!!
Nuggets Mailbag: Beast vs. East. but why is Denver a mess in the West - Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post
There's an answer to a question about George Karl's future in Denver that is sure to rile up some Stiffs.
Denver takes steps back now to get brighter look at tomorrow - Shaun Powell, NBA.com
An outsiders take on the Nuggets approach to the future. The building of assets in order to acquire a star via trade.