Nuggets at Grizzlies preview: Two teams who are singing the blues

Kosta Koufos - Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Memphis Grizzlies and the Denver Nuggets reached franchise records of win totals last season. Looks like neither team will reach that mark this season.

Game 29: 2013-14 NBA Season
@

14-14 (7-8 on road)
Series 0-0
12-16 (6-10 at home)
December 27th, 2013
Fed Ex Forum - Memphis, Tenessee
6:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Ty Lawson PG Mike Conley
Jordan Hamilton
SG Tony Allen
Wilson Chandler SF Tayshaun Prince
J.J. Hickson
PF Zach Randolph
Timofey Mozgov
C Kosta Koufos
Notes
You're Here! Blogs Grizzly Bear Blues
Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee(leg fracture) is out, Kenneth Faried (ankle) is day to day, Darrell Arthur (thigh contusion) is day to day
Injuries Marc Gasol (out)
On December 7th, the nuggets were 6th in the league in scoring (104 ppg), since then, they are averaging 90.6 ppg, and their FG and 3-point averages during that span are league-worst. Stat Koufos is averaging 7.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for Grizzlies.

Nuggetsgrizzlies_medium

The Memphis Grizzlies won 56 games last season. The Denver Nuggets won 57. Both franchise records. The Nuggets were knocked out in the first round, the Grizzlies advanced to the Western Conference Finals, only to lose to the San Antonio Spurs.

Neither team is likely to duplicate that feat this year, or for the foreseeable future.

The Grizzlies let go Lionel Hollins over a titanic philosophical dispute over analytics and the use of Ed Davis (seriously). The Nuggets let George Karl go because they wanted to win "playoff basketball". The Grizzlies hired assistant coach Dave Joerger as new head coach, and the Nuggets went with Brian Shaw. This have been remarkably different with each team this season. Joerger wanted to change the way the Grizzlies play, turns out he didn't have the personnel for that sort of thing so he adjusted accordingly.

You can't remove injuries from the analysis of each team, and the Grizzlies suffered a titanic one when Marc Gasol went down 13 games into the season. If someone of that kind of talent is out of your lineup it is going to have an enormous impact. With the Grizzlies anchor in the middle gone, it's been left to Kosta Koufos to hold down the fort. We are all aware of Koufos' abilities here in Denver, and so far he is having a very Koufos-esque year. Not much to say more than that.

Meanwhile Zach Randolph is aging, while still managing to grab 10 rebounds a game. Since Randolph's game is fairly basic, doesn't involve flying up and down the floor, so his durability despite being so old he no longer leaves fingerprints is impressive. Memphis still seems to have that Memphis "look" without playing like Memphis. How much of that is the lack of Lionel Hollins?

I like Mike Conley. I think he's the type of point guard/tough mentality player the Nuggets so desperately need. He is the kind of point guard you can build a team around, and if that is what the Grizzlies are trying to do then more power to them. Conley leads the Grizzlies in scoring, and with Gasol out he seems to be their unquestioned leader.

One last thing I will say about Ed Davis. I think what Tim Connelly said on the CSG Podcast interview with him about certain analytics does apply to Davis in this sense - Analytics can tell you what someone does well on the court, but it can't tell you why a player sits on the bench. There's likely good reasons for both.

Nuggets of Wisdom

The Nuggets are averaging 14 points per game less than they did when they were winning games. The offense is in shambles, and while injuries have contributed to the team's woes of late ... you can say this problem is the classic case of "square peg, round hole". Nuggets, even with "pace" are running a system of offense that is pattently ill suited for the players that are currently here. While the defense has improved, the Nuggets are so bad at offense it makes little difference. Now they can't shoot from anywhere on the floor. Randy Foye has been so bad, he played 10 minutes against the Golden State Warriors, lost his starting job, then played a grand total of 7 minutes off the bench against the Pelicans while contributing nothing.

Mike Olson had that stat about ppg in his last preview, and I'm keeping it up there. The Nuggets offense is atrocious and it's hard to see how they can get out of this particular slump. A team that is made for fast breaking transition, full court offense, is not geared for tough it out, grinding, basketball that Indiana plays. This roster will have big changes happening, you can bet on it. It's just a question of when at this point. The Nuggets have lost 5 in a row and have looked terrible for 4 of the 5. One hopes this streak the team is on isn't part of the classic death spiral we have seen so many teams go through.

As for now. Play the young guys and go all in with development. What do you have to lose?

*****

REMINDER: STIFFS NIGHT OUT
HOLIDAY EDITION THIS SATURDAY

Join your fellow Stiffs at Jake's Food & Spirits as the Nuggets take on the Grizzlies in Memphis at 6pm. As part of the festivities we'll be giving out an autographed Ty Lawson jersey. Be sure to RSVP here or on our Facebook event page.

*****

Starting lineup photo courtesy of Dennis Kohler.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Denver Stiffs

You must be a member of Denver Stiffs to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Denver Stiffs. You should read them.

Join Denver Stiffs

You must be a member of Denver Stiffs to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Denver Stiffs. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker