clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Redefining success, Nuggets style [UPDATED]...

Taking a page out of the Bush Administration's and Hillary Clinton's (proving that this site is bi-partisan) ability to continually redefine what "success" means in the Iraq War and a Presidential race, respectively, Coach Karl and the Nuggets have been trying to dupe us fans - and the local media - into thinking that winning 50 games and making the playoffs will be considered an "amazing achievement" this year. Before getting into all of this, I want to re-clarify that I'm the last person who wants to hate on the Nuggets and am openly rooting for them to not only win at least 50 games, but win a playoff series (or god forbid, two, so I can be proven wrong about the coach, rescind my demand for a coaching change and stop annoying my readers with email updates).

But as stated in my Saturday post, I won't get conned into this "if the Nuggets win 50 games it would be an amazing achievement" nonsense. Just because the Nuggets underachieved up until this blog launched and refused to play with any sense of urgency or cohesiveness (hence the reason why this blog launched), suddenly getting their act together in time to sneak into the playoffs doesn't mean anything unless they win a playoff series. Frankly, I couldn't care less if the Nuggets win 50 games, or 54 games, or 48 games, etc. Lest we forget, before attempting to redefine success as of a week ago, everyone in the Nuggets camp cited a playoff series victory as the benchmark for a successful 2007-08 campaign.

As far as I'm concerned, while 50 wins and a playoff series absence is a complete and utter failure, winning 50 games and losing in the playoffs is also a failure (although not quite as dramatic of one). But after watching the Nuggets kick the crap out of the Seattle Supersonics in historic fashion (again) tonight, I have news for Nuggets fans everywhere: the Nuggets are winning 51 games and just might make the playoffs.

Doing my Woody Paige "take a look at the schedule" impersonation, here's how the season is going to shake out. I'm going to add up their record in parentheses as we go along (starting from tonight's record of 40-26)...

-Over the course of the Nuggets next five road games against inferior teams - except Detroit - the Nuggets will go 3-2. (Improving the Nuggets to 43-28). I'm assuming we'll lose the Detroit game and blow one of the two trap games - at Philadelphia or at Memphis - since each is the second of back-to-backs (i.e. the type of games the Nuggets historically lose).

-Next, the Nuggets will win both of their two home games against Dallas and Golden State, the teams we're desperately trying to catch and/or surpass. (45-28)

-The Nuggets then have a home and home with Phoenix, which they'll also split. (46-29)

-After the mini-series with Phoenix, the Nuggets play three inferior Western Conference opponents (albeit two on the road), including Seattle again, and I'm guessing they'll go 3-0. (49-29)

-Then comes the toughest three games of the season - at Golden State, at Utah and home against Houston (on a back-to-back after the Utah game). Considering the Nuggets haven't won a single big game on the road all season, I'm betting they go 1-2 here. (50-31)

-And finally, the Nuggets get another home game against Memphis (their third of three games against Memphis in three weeks), which they'll win. (51-31)

Ahhh...but what about Golden State you ask? Currently 41-24 and just a game-and-a-half better than Denver, the Warriors have a brutal schedule and I believe will go 10-7 down the stretch to also finish 51-31 (including splitting their two games against the Nuggets). Worse yet, I predict that the Nuggets and Warriors conference records will both be 31-21.

[UPDATED] As one of my readers astutely pointed out, there is no play-in game in the NBA. This means that whatever team has the best record against .500 or better teams between the Nuggets and Warriors gets the 8th seed. Currently, the Nuggets are 15-19 against plus .500 teams, and the Warriors are 17-16. If their records against .500 teams are also tied, the next tiebreaker is accumulative points scored in the teams' four regular season games against each other.

So what does this all mean at this point? When the Nuggets have been dysfunctional and inconsistent all year, why even try to make predictions now?

I simply want to point out to my readers and Nuggets fans everywhere not to fall for this redefinition of success. And while we should be enthusiastic and 100% supportive as they fight hard to get into the playoffs, we should also hold them accountable if they fail to make the playoffs, or make the postseason but fail to win a series for the fifth consecutive year. This coach was hired (and is paid handsomely) and this team was built (and is paid even more handsomely) to not only make the playoffs, but win multiple playoff series.