All Star Break: Denver Stiffs crew grading the Denver Nuggets

USA TODAY Sports

With the Nuggets wrapping up a six-day respite from the All-Star break (except for Kenneth Faried), Andy, Nate, Jeff and Colin return the Nuggets homework to them with their thoughts on their performance before the final stretch of the regular season.

Midterms.

Who doesn't remember that period in our formative educations where we'd anxiously await the results of our efforts through midway point of the school season? While the Nuggets lack any player selected to the popularity driven All-Star team (surprise), this short break in the season gives us a chance to sit back and ruminate on the performances of the team so far.

What grades would you give the Nuggets players so far?

PG

Ty Lawson - In 34.8 minutes per game: 15.8 ppg, 7.1 apg, 2.6 rpg, 2.8 TOpg, 16.8 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: B

Ty has probably suffered the most from the stratospheric expectations Nuggets fans and observers have had for this team since opening night. Throughout much of the first half of the season, Ty was shooting abysmally, had to be continually prodded to assume a leadership role, couldn't seem to sustain any real consistency (posting two games where he scored 0 and 2 points in 20+ minutes) and frankly looked complacent. Although his January performance was stellar - 18 ppg, 6.5 APG, 2.6 RPG on 49% shooting - the Nuggets continuing success rides on Ty sustaining his better play over the last 28 games of the season.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: B-

As we've been saying since the pre-season, the Nuggets go as Ty Lawson goes. During their recent nine-game winning streak, Lawson played superbly. But when the Nuggets faltered throughout November and December, it was directly related to Lawson's tentativeness and lack of consistency. I remain a Lawson skeptic and fan simultaneously, but question whether or not the Nuggets can win a championship with a point guard who lands in the bottom of the top-15.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: C+

No matter what we all think of Ty Lawson, we all must acknowledge that he is one of the most important keys to this team. This is primarily because the Nuggets offense is set up for heavy guard penetration. So, if Ty is having another passive/off night the team has to work extra hard to make up for his mindset. That being said the last month and a half have been by and large very consistent for Ty and hopefully we will see that continue for the remainder of the season.

Nate's Midseason Grade: A-

I know Ty got off to a bit of a rough start, but it wasn't as bad as most folks think. His scoring averages have gone from 13 ppg, to 14, to 17, to 22 (not counting two games in October where he averaged 16 ppg) and he is averaging a career high 7.1 assists per game and is even learning how to throw a pretty nice lob pass. I love watching Lawson play and believe he is incorporating more into his game and that can come with rough patches. Without Ty, the Nuggets would be in a much worse place.

Andre Miller - In 25.6 minutes per game: 8.9 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.0 rpg, 2.1 TOpg, 15.1 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: B-

Perhaps George Karl's favorite player and a consummate floor general, soft-spoken Andre Miller has been somewhat of an enigma this season. While I've always appreciated his ability to read the court like nobody else and open up the floor with (mostly) excellent outlet passing, Andre's been exposed often on the defensive end of the floor. With the tropes about Andre's "old man game" truer than ever, it's also unfortunately showing just how old he can look when he's asked to guard anyone faster than Glen Davis. With the Nuggets forced to hide Andre as much as possible on the opponent's weakest offensive player, I'm concerned that he will remain a liability against teams with faster backcourts in the playoffs.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: B-

I've soured a bit on Miller after his end-of-overtime antics at Boston and his recent negative comments to Paul Klee out of Colorado Springs (The Gazette). On the one hand, Miller has kept the Nuggets in games and actually won games for the team. But on the other hand, his uncharacteristic selfishness has arisen too often this season in the form of errant late three-pointers, holding the ball too long towards the end of games, whining to the media about playing time and publicly questioning the Nuggets chances of ever contending for a title.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: B

There's a bit of me that believes George Karl has realized he overused Miller last season, and he is trying to rectify that by playing him less in late-game situations. That's just a guess however. Regardless, there are times that Miller affects the flow of games extremely positively. You can't deny that. Of late, however, there has been some selfishness and one has to wonder if that is in response to Karl using him less at the end of games.

Nate's Midseason Grade: B-

Miller is such a reliable backup point guard, the Nuggets are lucky to have him. At the same time, Miller is lucky to have a coach who adores his game and plays the veteran in a unique way. Miller's ability to run the offense is incredible at times and he can score with the best of them in creative ways. Andre's defense is incredibly suspect and his effort on D can be suspect, as well. He has been very good in fourth quarters though and has helped this team in a number of ways. I still think the Nuggets would be best served if the young guys can make Miller's playing time decrease by increasing their own play on the floor.

Julyan Stone - N/A

Colin's Midseason Grade: Incomplete

Stone hasn't seen the floor enough to warrant a real grade, but I've loved his defensive tenacity and size from day one, even if it seems that he's not able to shoot. He's a 6'6" 200 pound point with some great handles and athleticism, and I feel he is capable of giving the Nuggets solid backup minutes when called upon.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: Incomplete

I had the pleasure of meeting Stone recently and he couldn't have been a nicer kid. He seems very bright and very grateful to be here. That said, I haven't seen enough of him on the court to give him a grade but am hoping he gets healthy soon.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: Incomplete

Seems like a nice kid. Have not seen enough of him to say anything definitive. Hopefully he will get that chance.

Nate's Midseason Grade: Incomplete

I'll tell you what - there isn't a much better interview on the team outside of Stone. Great kid with a big work ethic. I can't wait to see him on the court and I hope he finds success while still in a Nuggets uniform. I'm interested to see if Karl will make good on his comments about playing Stone in some key defensive situations.

SG

Andre Iguodala - In 34.3 minutes per game: 13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.6 TOpg, 14.8 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: A-

Iguodala is probably the player other than Ty with the second-highest performance expectations coming into this season. When the Nuggets acquired Iguodala for Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington, I feel like the fanbase believed that he'd singlehandedly morph the team into a defensive juggernaut and provide explosive scoring. It was a rude awakening for many Nuggets fans to find out that Iguodala just isn't the scorer they might have otherwise expected him to be, and replacing Afflalo's silky J in a brand new offense was a tall order. While Iguodala's struggled to score the ball so far, he is beginning to understand that the team needs him to be more decisive and willing to take big shots when he has an open look. In a way, I think that Iguodala's a victim of his own game - his defense is so good (and so much harder to quantify than offense) that it's easy to dismiss it as routine when it's anything but. Even with the Nuggets frenetic pace, Iguodala remains a ++ defender and has made several huge stops this season - including an eventual game-clinching strip on Paul George (later ruled a missed call by the NBA, but it's already in the books!). I hope Iguodala opts in this offseason, as I'd love to see at least one more year of his doughty defense shoring up a team that's always been shaky on the defensive end.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: B+

Iguodala has taken a lot of heat from fans and media alike for not delivering on his All-Star/Olympic reputation, but I guess I never expected much more from Iguodala than what he's giving to the Nuggets. I've always felt that Iguodala is a great number two guy on your team. And while it took Iguodala a long time to get used to Karl's system (or lack of a system, especially coming from the rigid Doug Collins' system in Philadelphia), he seems to have settled in nicely and is becoming the multi-purposed, shut-down defender that we hoped he'd be here.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: B

Iguodala's perimeter defense is essential to the Nuggets. He is simply the best perimeter defender the Nuggets have and this is indisputable. However, his struggles on offense and his penchant to be The Human Turnover knocks him down a grade. I believe Iguodala is who he is, but WHAT he is to the Nuggets - at this point - is invaluable.

Nate's Midseason Grade: A

My favorite player growing up was Scottie Pippen. I tried to do the things that Pippen did well on my teams growing up. We had a big scorer on my team and it was my job to do a lot of other things: pass, defend, handle the ball, and rebound. I was happy when the Nuggets got Iguodala because I thought he was a big time player at all the little things and his addition would still allow Lawson and Danilo Gallinari to be the primary scoring options. It has taken me some time to get over some of Andre's offensive limitations (he's so unselfish, almost to a fault) and appreciate his game, but I do appreciate his game and you can see that he rubs off on his teammates with his professionalism.

Corey Brewer - In 23.7 minutes per game: 11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 TOpg, 14.5 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: B+

Corey Brewer has been one of the bright spots on this team to me. When Brewer's been hot, he's been on fire, as he was in the game against the Lakers on December 26th when he went 6-7 from three. When inserted by Karl, the game almost instantly changes pace to match his energy. He's constantly leaking out, playing passing lanes, and running to his favorite corner three spot. Brewer is surely not a great shooter and tends to over gamble on steals, but I've seen him wear out so many teams that he forces to try and stick with his never-ending font of hustle. Whatever he and Kenneth Faried do to stay so energized during games, they need to share it with the rest of the team.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: A-

I've been an admitted Brewer skeptic and a non-fan since his arrival in Denver. I cringe every time he shoots, every time he dribbles and every time he passes. And yet, Brewer has undoubtedly helped Denver win games with his relentless energy and enthusiasm. Brewer is that X-Factor that every team needs, and he has thrived in a reserve role this season. Brewer is yet another example of how Karl takes players left for dead elsewhere and turns them into serviceable NBA players.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: B

I can see how Brewer would be one of the most, if not THE most infuriating risk/reward players on this team. He sometimes is unconscious from three. Sometimes he can't hit a shot but keeps shooting. Sometimes his steals and defense are the spark which ignite long Denver runs. Other times his defense leaves him way out of position and either gets his teammates fouls or the Nuggets give up an easy hoop. I know Karl likes him and when Brewer is "working" ... I like him too.

Nate's Midseason Grade: B+

Brewer has been one of the best bench scorers in the league this season. I still believe he is best served as a 15-20 minute guy and it's up to Karl to recognize the nights when Brewer has it or doesn't have it and play him accordingly. Corey is a mentor to a lot of the younger guys on the team and has been a big reason why Denver is so successful this season.

Evan Fournier - In 8.7 minutes per game: 3.7 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.9 TOpg, 8.5 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: C

While Fournier has not played enough to warrant a true grade, I still feel like I've seen enough of him to offer up at least a partial assessment. I definitely feel that Fournier's capable of contributing on an NBA level, but there's some concerning signs: he's not been a great free throw shooter, he's turned the ball over a lot, and his body language has been poor on a number of occasions. I'd like to see him cut down on the turnovers and improve his shot at the line so we can see more minutes from the Nuggets up and coming "French Mamba".

Andrew's Midseason Grade: B

In the (very) limited minutes allocated to the French rookie, Fournier has played with confidence and gravitas. I see big upside for Fournier and wish the Nuggets had more blowouts just so this kid could get more playing time.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: B

Not much to say, other than the dude is smooth. Has a very refined offensive game from playing in Europe professionally. He seems to work hard and want to learn. He has a beautiful stroke, and I'm curious to see how he will be used in the coming years by this team.

Nate's Midseason Grade: B

I absolutely love what I'm seeing from the rookie. The knock that people had on the kid before the draft was that he was a shooting guard that couldn't shoot - that has been proven to be completely false. He might have the prettiest shot on the team and he works hard to get better. I really like how he cuts to the bucket and I hope he gets more selfish when he goes to the rack. Can't wait to see more of Fournier and how he develops.

SF

Danilo Gallinari - In 33.3 minutes per game: 17.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.6 TOpg, 17.3 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: A

Like Lawson, Gallinari had a sluggish start to the season. But over the course of the last few months, he has undergone a remarkable transformation into the team's go-to scorer. Hitting big shots has become a specialty of Gallinari's, which is something that this team has desperately been searching for since the Melo trade. Gallinari's stellar all-around play of late has helped the Nuggets immensely, as he's able to contribute not only as a proficient inside-out threat but also as a premier perimeter defender. I'm very pleased with Gallinari and hope that his development continues into the playoffs.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: A-

After getting off to a horrendous start, Gallo has cemented himself as "the man" for the Nuggets. Not only has he made an assortment of game-winning and game-tying shots, but he has become a decent defensive presence and - perhaps most importantly - is finally staying healthy. Entering the pre-season, there were a lot of questions about who among the Nuggets should take clutch shots. Gallo has emphatically answered those questions.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: A-

Gallo only gets an A- because of his slow start. However, there is no player on this Nuggets team that has the impact in every phase like Gallo does. He seems to want to be the team's leader, and and interesting competitive battle is shaping up between he and Lawson for that role. That's a good thing. If Gallo refines his offensive game and adds a little post move ... watch out.

Nate's Midseason Grade: A

A little bit of a slow start, but Gallo has been the team's MVP this season. Need a big shot? Call Gallo. His defense has been awesome this season, his rebounding is much improved, and you can see he wants this to be his team.

Wilson Chandler - In 20.6 minutes per game: 9.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.6 apg, 1.2 TOpg, 13.3 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: A-

Left for dead or as trade fodder after being sidelined with a nagging hip injury, Chandler's come back to provide a huge punch off the bench in the small forward spot. Much more than just a jump shooter (which he needs to improve upon), Chandler's shown that he is capable of scoring from anywhere on the court and plays very tough defense. I will never forget the 30-11 scoring run the Nuggets made against the Houston Rockets earlier this year, which began with Iguodala, Gallinari and Chandler guarding the perimeter. Chandler seems to be healthier now than he's been since being traded to Denver, and getting significant defensive contributions from him has been a very pleasant surprise.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: B+

Chandler's disgruntled Tweets knocks him down from an A- to a B+ for me. But you have to love how Chandler waited more patiently to return from injury this time and is playing solid basketball as a result. Chandler's name continues to be mentioned in trade rumors but that's because he can fill a lot of gaps for a team ... a credit to Chandler's play.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: C+

I am conflicted about Wilson, primarily because I'm not convinced he wants to be in Denver. His play has run the gamut from inspired to downright disinterested. From assertive to blah. His hip injury is partial responsibility for this and must be given consideration. However if his mind is somewhere else, those step-back, contested, long two-point jump shots won't fall. When he is aggressive he drives the lane and is a hell-beast on defense. The Nuggets need more of that Wilson.

Nate's Midseason Grade: B

I don't think people realize the severity of Chandler's injury, but people also don't want any excuses. He has played pretty aggressive basketball when he has been on the court. He has hit big shots (including a 5-5 from deep performance against the Bulls and a game winner, too), played solid defense, and rebounds in big moments. We still haven't seen a healthy Chandler, but my hope is that we will see him in that light and in a Nuggets uniform to boot.

Jordan Hamilton - In 11.4 minutes per game: 6.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.6 TOpg, 17.8 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: C-

I've been disappointed with J-Ham so far. While it's certainly a valid point that he's been leashed to Karl's doghouse, that's not without reason. The silky stroke that impresses so many of us has come with some truly boneheaded shot selection and very questionable turnovers. His defense has been below average, and Hamilton has a lot to prove before he sees the floor for significant minutes again.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: C-

I have to second Colin's sentiments here. Karl gave Hamilton a clear mandate during the off-season: come into camp ripped and you'll get playing time. And despite Hamilton's fine Las Vegas Summer League and pre-season play, he has never looked ripped. Not even close. Hamilton must get himself into superior condition if he's ever to make an impact on an NBA floor.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: C-

Let's put aside the dog house issues with Ham, and focus on what he does on the court. He has the best three-point shot of any Nuggets player. He has a great feel player positions when attacking the defense. He also has the ability to "turn it on" a la J.R. Smith. However he is one of the worst team defenders and routinely gets lost on his rotations. He tends to get abused one-on-one and this clearly frustrates him. I like the desire to get better, but in the NBA he needs to show it first. Hopefully he can get there.

Nate's Midseason Grade: C-

I can only imagine how tough it has been for Hamilton not to get on the floor this season; fans feel for him too. His limitations thus far are on the defensive side of the ball and paying attention to details. I have been quite impressed, at times, with JHam's game and also frustrated at some of is play. I don't know where he will go from here with the Nuggets. I do think he has that rare ability to see things before they happen on the floor and that can been seen in the way he can rebound and jump passing lanes. You can't excel in the NBA on talent and natural ability alone and that is something J-Ham must learn.

Quincy Miller - N/A

Colin's Midseason Grade: Incomplete

Another incomplete for a Nugget who has barely seen the court this year - such is the depth of this team. Miller is largely an enigma to me. He seems like he has the capacity to develop, but desperately needs to get in the weight room with Steve Hess. Dude's spindlier than Tayshaun Prince and Brewer, and that's saying something. If Miller can develop a baseline jumper in the D-League and keep rebounding at a high level, he could be a nice surprise - next year.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: Incomplete

Like Stone, Miller seems like a great kid but seems too much like, well, a kid. Miller needs to put on a lot of weight and get some anger in that face if he's to become a full time Nugget.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: Are you kidding me?

Seems like a nice kid, and I look forward to seeing his development next year. In the meantime he is impossible to grade with so little action.

Nate's Midseason Grade: Incomplete

Miller has an uphill battle to make it in the NBA and I believe he knows it too. I don't know how much he'll bulk up physically, but he must add some strength and just continue to learn the nuances of the NBA game. I believe he will be able to score, but it will be his ability to defend and rebound that will make or break his career in the league.

PF

Kenneth Faried - In 29.4 minutes per game: 12.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.5 TOpg, 0.87 bl.pg, 19.0 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: A-

I admit it. I'm a Faried homer. He's the only current Nugget whose jersey I own (in the sweet gold no less). Even in his tough games where he's being shot over by the David Lee's and Ryan Anderson's of the league, Faried defines "relentless energy". For as much is made about him being a bad defender - and I certainly acknowledge that he can improve - his contributions on the boards and on the un-quantifiable hustle plays have been enormous for this team. He's a great teammate, an awesome human being and is still in just his second year in the league. In my opinion, Faried is probably the third most important player to the Nuggets current and future success, behind just Lawson and Iguodala. I hope he's here for a long time to come, no matter what happens.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: A-

For the 22nd pick in the draft to have this sort of impact is nothing short of amazing. My only fear with Faried is what happens when the youthful legs give out? Will he ever develop a mid-range jump shot? Faried is the team's Energizer Bunny and every fan in the NBA would be thankful to have a guy like him on their squad.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: A

Great energy. Nose for the rebound. Limited offensive game. These are all the things we heard about Faried on draft day and they have proven to be correct. It's nice to have a player on your team that has a nose for the ball and plays with such energy. If he can get better on his positional defense he will be all the better.

Nate's Midseason Grade: A

Faried was an early candidate for MVP of the team and has routinely put up big performances. His biggest issue has been on the defensive side of the ball (theme for a lot of young guys). He must become a better one-on-one defender and he has to read pick-and-roll defense better too. He has been a killer on the offensive glass and you can see he's incorporating more into his offensive game.

Anthony Randolph - In 7.4 minutes per game: 2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.67 bl.pg, 0.9 TOpg, 11.2 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: D

Randolph has been a big disappointment. After some good games in Minnesota last season, I've been questioning what exactly the front office saw in him. Although he's only received limited minutes on the court (just 7.4 minutes per game), he's embarrassed himself and then some in those games. He's looked selfish, has had some truly poor shot selection and slumping, sulky body language. Randolph is a reserve in case of disaster, and I doubt will ever become a real contributor for this team.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: D

Enough with the "Anthony Randolph has big upside" talk. Now in his fifth NBA season, Randolph is having his worst year ever. Thankfully, the Nuggets are getting him cheap.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: C-

Hard to give a solid grade to someone who has seen so little action, but Randolph has proven to be exactly what he has been so far in his career. A kid with immense natural talent with very little idea how to play team basketball. I would, personally, love to see him gain more awareness of his teammates and play within the flow of the game. Don't want to see such natural talent go to waste.

Nate's Midseason Grade: C-

Randolph has a long way to go to be a regular rotation guy for Denver. He plays with a little too much selfishness on offense and isn't always aggressive. He did play some inspired ball recently and continues to frustrate fans as he has so much natural ability.

C

Kosta Koufos - In 22.9 minutes per game: 8.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.40 bl.pg, 0.7 TOpg, 17.0 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: A

Perhaps the most pleasant development on this team outside of Chandler's healthy return and the development of Gallinari into a crunch-time player, Koufos is one of the best values for cost in the entire NBA. When Masai Ujiri locked up Koufos this past offseason with an amazing three years and $9 million contract, I knew that it was a good signing, but I couldn't have predicted it would have been this good. At just 23 years old, K2 has gotten better every year in the league. He has solid fundamentals, blocks shots at good rate, listens to his teammates, and can score with an array of nifty hooks and drop steps in the paint. By the time his contract is up in three years, Koufos may end up as one of the better centers in the league. Kudos for Masai for securing an excellent developing center to a deal that belies his great production.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: A

The consummate Stiff, Koufos is well on his way to joining Danny Schayes, Blair Rasmussen, Joe Wolf, Mark Pope and the others who have been enshrined in the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame. I couldn't be happier!

Jeff's Midseason Grade: B+

Koufos has been quite steady this season. Predictable even. Within George Karl coached teams, if you are a big man, you either have to be competent or you're riding the bench. Koufos has be extremely solid this season and has been a steadying force in the middle that can be chaotic at times.

Nate's Midseason Grade: B

Koufos has been a steadying force at the Nuggets weakest position. I'm not sure how far you can go in the NBA with inexperienced big men, but Karl has done a good job using Koufos this season (and Koufos does exactly what he is asked to do for this team). While he's not spectacular on defense, he does put in the necessary effort. His scoring pop has been awesome this year and has been a total "cherry on top" for the Nuggets. I wish Koufos would play a little angrier and would get a little stronger too, but I've been pretty happy with his play. I still think the Nuggets will be better if JaVale McGee can prove to be the better player.

JaVale McGee - In 18.7 minutes per game: 10.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.4 apg, 1.96 bl.pg, 1.1 TOpg, 21.5 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: B

JaVale is probably the most difficult player on the team to grade. It's so easy to look at his appearances on Shaqtin' a Fool, his poor rebounding numbers (which definitely need to improve) and his general antics and call him an $11 million mistake, but I still hold out that McGee could be a critical piece to a deep playoff run for this team. His length and athletic abilities are unrivaled except by perhaps Dwight Howard, in terms of size, leaping ability and general dunkitude. If he can get his head right, calm down, and remember what he went to Hakeem's camp for (playing smartly in the post), he'll be one of the best in the league. If not, he might be an unfortunate victim of a front office that's shown that if you're not playing to your contract, you're as capable of being shipped out to a different team as anyone else.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: B-

The enigma that is JaVale McGee continues to perplex coaches, teammates and fans alike. Unknown to most fans, McGee is a great, creative kid who just needs to be coached up by someone who really understands the center position. Once McGee gets his footwork down, the sky is the limit!

Jeff's Midseason Grade: C+

I get the feeling that if McGee was able to focus 100% of the time on just his footwork and boxing out, and let his natural ability take over everywhere else things will finally come together. He can change a game by himself, but allows himself to spiral out negatively. If the fundamentals come for JaVale, everything else will be allowed to be amazing. Will that ever happen? That is the question.

Nate's Midseason Grade: C+

I wanted more out of McGee this season. I don't know if he'll ever put together full 82 game seasons where he is totally focused or not, but he does play well in big games and might prove once again to be invaluable in the post-season. He might be the type of player that shows up for big games, but also leaves fans wanting more on nights where the Nuggets play the dregs of the league. I admit I got caught up in his post-season play last year and I had too high of expectations for McGee, right now. He still has a long way to go and that can be seen on a nightly basis. He has shown great improvement in professionalism on the court, is a great teammate, and still has a tremendous amount of potential. But the clock is ticking ...

Timofey Mozgov - In 10.0 minutes per game: 2.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.2 apg, 0.52 bl.pg, 0.6 TOpg, 12.3 PER

Colin's Midseason Grade: D+

At this point, Mozgov is what he is: a poster for Blake Griffin. The seven foot Russian has clearly plateaued and won't ever be more than what he is now - a pass-fumbling, decent baseline jump shooting, barely average post defender. Once one of the key cogs of the Melo trade, my support for waiting for Mozgov to figure out his game has evaporated. Mozgov will find himself on a different team next season if not by the trade deadline. The Nuggets can find a better option for a backup center for the price Mozgov would command from other teams desperate for a big man.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: C-

Poor Mozzy. He can't break into the lineup and yet from everything I've heard, he continues to improve in practice and hasn't complained about the lack of minutes bestowed upon him. This grade might go up if he's traded for someone that upgrades the roster substantially.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: D

Sometimes when Moz plays, you will see them run an offensive set ... and you come to the sudden realization that no one wants to throw him the ball in the post, and he really has no idea where to position himself. While Moz has the size, strength and footwork to be a "Omer Asik-esque" talent in this league, his stone hands and lack of knowledge of where to be on offense have relegated him to the bench. He has the skill to be a starting center ... just not on the Denver Nuggets.

Nate's Midseason Grade: C-

I love how physical Mozgov is on defense, but he gets lost on both ends of the floor. Some nights he just doesn't look like a capable NBA player on a good team and other nights he looks like the best big man on the team. At 26 years-old, the Nuggets are better off continuing to develop Koufos and McGee and seeing what they can get for Moz. And Moz will be better off if he can go to a team that will play him.

HEAD COACH

George Karl - Nuggets 33-21, 5th in West, 22-3 at home, 11-18 on the road.

Colin's Midseason Grade: B+

Karl's guided this team through some truly difficult waters in the early going. Working hard to secure some cohesiveness for a roster that experienced major turnover in the offseason and working new players into the mix who didn't yet know what the Nuggets organization expected of them, Karl's done a commendable job so far. But his oft-cited mantra of being excellent at home - which the Nuggets mostly are so far - but a .500 team on the road hasn't done the Nuggets any favors. They've had a difficult road schedule, yes, but 11-18 is tied for the second worst road record amongst the Western Conference playoff teams. If the Nuggets can't show that they can win on the road, it looks like it could be another early playoff exit.

Andrew's Midseason Grade: A-

If you are what your record says you are than you can't complain much about Karl having the Nuggets within reach of the third playoff seed and in a dogfight for the four spot with Memphis. Sure, Karl's lineups, rotations and end of game plays continue to befuddle us all ... but he wins games. Karl will disappoint those who thought the Nuggets might be a one or two-seed, but I never saw them ascending higher than fourth. Moreover, Karl is doing this with an inconsistent Lawson, a 22nd overall pick starting at power forward, a certified Stiff starting at center and Corey Brewer getting meaningful playing time off the bench. Let's give kudos where kudos are due.

Jeff's Midseason Grade: B+

I was much harder on Karl last season, where I felt he often "out clevered" himself with odd lineup tinkering (particularly at the end of games) and an over-reliance on Al Harrington and Andre Miller (which led to physical breakdowns of both men at the end of the season). However, I believe, by and large he has corrected MOST of those issues. While I still do have quibbles (the fascination with Miller and Brewer and his "late to the party" acknowledgement of Gallo's clutch abilities) I think he has done a better job this season handling this roster. With him looking more healthy of late, that makes for an increasingly engaged Karl that will help the Nuggets for the stretch run.

Nate's Midseason Grade: B-

I have been very happy seeing Karl very engaged on the sidelines this season. There is a lot to be said for how Karl has got this team to buy into what he wants to do. I know Karl was looking for player combinations early in the season, but his rotations are still maddening at times. I also notice that sometimes Karl goes with a hot-hand and other times it feels like he'll yank guys that are starting to heat up. I still can't believe that Karl will allow so many open threes to opponents when he runs an offensive system designed to shoot threes - it's mind boggling. Karl does pay lip-service to defending the perimeter, but the numbers don't lie (Nuggets allow the most attempted threes in the league - because the line is always open!). Talking hoops with Karl is an awesome experience and like the saying goes - he has forgotten more about the game than I have ever known. But this is a big season for Karl and he'll need to step up during the stretch run and all eyes will be on him during the playoffs.

***

That's all for now, folks! The Denver Stiffs crew hopes you've had a great All-Star break and we look forward to seeing you again at our next Stiffs Night Out on Tuesday, March 19th against the Oklahoma City Thunder (details to be announced soon).

Go Nuggets!

-Colin, Jeff, Nate, and Andy

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