Preview: Nuggets are Going for the One in Portland

Damian Lillard - Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets need to just think one game at a time. One win. One positive performance all the way through. Can that begin tonight in Portland?

Game 57: 2013-14 NBA Season
@

25-32 (11-17 road)
Series 0-3
40-18 (22-7 home)
March 1st, 2014
Moda Center, Portland Oregon
8:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Aaron Brooks
PG Damian Lillard
Randy Foye SG Wesley Matthews
Wilson Chandler SF Nicolas Batum
Kenneth Faried
PF Dorell Wright
Timofey Mozgov
C Robin Lopez
Notes
You're here!
Blogs Blazers Edge
Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee(leg fracture) is out, Nate Robinson (ACL sprain) is out, Ty Lawson (rib fracture) is doubtful,
Injuries LaMarcus Aldridge (game time decision), Joel Freeland (game time decision), Meyers Leonard (game time decision), type of suit Terry Stotts will wear (game time decision) Will it Rain in Portland (almost certainly, but a game time decision) How many times I will call it the Rose Garden (game time decision)
Nuggets are pretty bad

Portland is pretty good

and here you stand no taller than the grass sees
Should we really chase so hard?
The truth of sport plays rings around you...
Going for the one.

-Yes

I've spent an inordinate amount of time this morning wracking my brain trying to figure out what the heck to write. This season has been so depressing that it's been hard not to contribute to the negativity surrounding the team. A series of calamitous injuries, uninspired play, questionable coaching and rotations, ill-fitting players and everything else has made watching games an complete chore.

I'm not going to be myopic and whistle past the graveyard that is this Nuggets season, or their prognosis for the future. It looks weird - potential high draft pick but no cap space. Sooooo...confusing? Yes.

The Portland Trail Blazers have no such confusion as their future seems set. Many people have made the comparison between last year's Blazers team and this season's Nuggets. There's some validity to that, but that particular team played hard for their coach Terry Stotts. I'm not sure you can say the same for these Nuggets. The Blazers should be a model of how to rebuild your franchise without burning it to the ground (ala: Philadelphia 76ers). It helped that they already had LaMarcus Aldridge when they got Damian Lillard, but it goes to show that it CAN be done without bottoming out.

Is THAT what the Nuggets are counting on right now? Are the Nugget wanting a potential high lottery pick (ala Lillard) to be not the "savior" but the piece to get them over the cliff? Not sure anyone has a clue right now. The addition of Robin Lopez, in place of J.J. Hickson seems to have helped the Blazers immensely. Toughened them up inside to have TRUE center. Do the Nuggets have that in Timofey Mozgov?

It's clear that coach Brian Shaw WANTS to install some sort of half court-centric, triangle-ish (not completely) system that favors and inside out approach. This would make the Nuggets very much an outlier in today's NBA as a center-based offense is largely a thing of the past. Most teams are going with (ironically) the George Karl approach to slashing to the basket and shooting threes. Portland is slightly different with LaMarcus Aldridge shooting many mid range jumpers. However they do like the three ball. The NBA just seems to be moving that way.

The Blazers are a good team. It remains to be seen if a team that shoots so many jumpers can win in the playoffs. Maybe that is what Brian Shaw has been after? However in order to win in the Playoffs you need to get to the playoffs, and the Nuggets seem to be far off from that point right now.

Nuggets of Wisdom

Going for the One


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