The Denver Nuggets and the 1996 parallel

Brian Shaw and Josh Kroenke - USA TODAY Sports

2013 is eerily setting up like another famous, disastrous year in Nuggets history. The year Bernie Bickerstaff took his giant axe to the Nuggets organization. 1996

I will be the first to admit that being a long-time Nuggets fan can lead to dramatic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when it comes to the decade of the 1990's. You make correlations when things aren't corollary. You think every move the Nuggets make will lead to the apocalypse. Additionally it makes you twitchy when you see the organization go in a dramatically different direction than before.

However, the summer of 2013 is becoming eerily similar to the summer of 1996. The year Bernie Bickerstaff decided to blow up the Nuggets so thoroughly that it took the Nuggets 7 years to recover. This 2013 Nuggets team, through a series of executive and coaching changes has thrown everything into chaos. It has culminated in a player that they traded for merely a year ago walking for nothing via free agency, just like Dikembe Mutombo did 17 years ago.

You can read my breakdown of that season right here.

In an equally dizzying series of events, the Nuggets have lost the Executive of the Year (Masai Ujiri), Coach of the Year (George Karl), traded their starting center (Kosta Koufos), let their third string point guard go (Julyan Stone), and finally let a player they traded for 11 months prior (Andre Iguodala) go for nothing via free agency. All this in a little over a month. It's hard to wrap your head about what's going on.

The Iguodala situation was alot more complicated than people let on. I had people telling me as soon as the season ended that Iguodala was looking elsewhere. It seems like maybe his desire to look for greener pastures (so to speak) was greater than his desire to make more money (as it turned out). So Iggy signed with the Golden State Warriors after being ever so chummy with Mark Jackson and Steph Curry in game 5 and 6 of the first round of the playoffs. I suppose that lends more credence to the notion that Iggy was the "mole" that Mark Jackson was eluding to in his post game press conference after game 5.

Yet the Nuggets are left with a roster with no veteran presence aside from Andre Miller. No veteran shooters (most were signed away while the Nuggets waited for Iggy), and their best perimeter defender is gone. All in all this paints a very bleak and uncertain picture for the future. One that I can't honestly say I'm comfortable with.

As I said a couple days ago, the Nuggets need a direction - up or down. They can't be content to go just straight ahead because that does them no good. In the NBA either you are getting great (like the Warriors) or you are getting terrible (like the Celtics and 76ers have) if you are in the dreaded middle you are in NBA purgatory and you are stuck with nowhere to go. This is by far the worst position you can be in as an organization. Not bad enough to get great players, not good enough to contend.

I hope, in my heart of hearts that the Nuggets have a plan up their sleeve to display to the public. As of right now they don't seem to have a direction other than "let these young guys develop". However with a lack of true superstar on the roster it makes that notion kind of aimless. With so many teams in the Western Conference getting better, the Nuggets are rapidly heading toward treading water in a sea of mediocrity.

They need a direction and fast. This "stay pat" notion will not do. We can be happy for Ty Lawson's progression as a point guard. Danilo Gallinari, if he can get healthy, is a nice piece. JaVale McGee is an enigma. Kenneth Faried has heart and hustle. Yet, no one projects to be a superstar and unfortunately that is what you need in this NBA. It's not good enough to be good. You need to be great.

Josh Kroenke and Tim Connelly ... I hope you have a plan. I hope it a solid one. Waking up the echos of the Nuggets horrible past is not a good way to start your new regime. If you show us the way, even if it's painful, we will follow.

***

Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78

mortonagency@juno.com

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