So, with an offseason full of doubt and disappointment, I figured I'd have to ask a few questions going into this upcoming season...
Can Coach Karl make it through the entire year?
But then, a familiar foe struck. Cancer had once again taken over Coach Karl, ending his season with the Nuggets. At first, he tried to come back, but it was simply too much for him to bear. Instead, assistant head coach Adrain Dantley took over a team that was slowly falling apart. He lost control of the team and, together, they faltered in the playoffs.
Months later, we have heard that George Karl is getting better and plans on coming back to coach a disorganized Nuggets squad next season. As exciting as it sounds, I'm not 100% confident he's going to make it through the entire season. His health has been the Achilles Heel. It's really unfortunate because Karl is a darn good coach. Sure, we get mad when makes mistakes, but he's one of the main reasons why Denver can contend with the best.
Will the Nuggets give Ty Lawson more playing time?
A big question indeed. My guess is that with Chauncey Billups playing for Team U.S.A., Lawson will be seeing at least 25 minutes this year. Also, considering that J.R. Smith may not even be a Nugget next year, look for Lawson's role on the team to dramatically increase.
Can the Nuggets survive the beginning of the season without Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen?
No K-Mart. No Birdman. No problem, right?
With them sitting out, the Denver Nuggets have almost no interior defense. Remember the Thunder game (the game Carmelo "quit" in)? The Thunder were able to drive into the paint at will. Denver won't have that consistent rebounder and lock down defender. Denver won't have that "intimidating" shot blocker lurking around everywhere. In fact, the Nuggets are going to play "small ball" for a while.
We've been waiting for Nene to become an elite power forward/center, but he's inconsistent. He's a big body and the Nuggets are going to need Nene to step up his game big time. If he can also avoid injury, that'll be great.
Al Harrington is not going to replace anything Kenyon Martin brings to the table every game. He's not a monster rebounder. He's not a guy known for defense. However, when he gets fouled, he'll make more free throws. He'll also take a bunch of pressure off of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
Another thing about Harrington is that he's coming off of surgery himself (shoulder), although it's not supposed to be an issue coming into the season.
The lack of playing time makes me wonder if reserve forward Shelden Williams can produce off of the bench. He was the NABC Defensive Player of the Year back in 2005 and 2006, so his defense can't be THAT bad. My guess is that we're going to see a lot of Williams and Renaldo Balkman (assuming he ACTUALLY gives a damn) in the beginning of the year. Maybe longer. Even if Williams doesn't do jack, at least we get to see Candice Parker in the building more often. Haha!
Can the Nuggets keep their focus against the sub-.500 teams?
Nuggets beat the Lakers. Nuggets lose to the Kings.
Nuggets beat Orlando. Nuggets lose to the Knicks.
Yeah, you get the point. Denver has a nasty habit of playing to the level of their opponent. No Defense. Always trying to outscore the opposing teams (see: Golden State). That has to stop. Play like the elite team you're supposed to be. You could have been the 3rd seed, maybe 2nd seed in the playoffs, had you taken every game seriously.
Come on guys. We know you're more then capable of beating the sub-.500 teams. You want respect? Play like it.
Will Carmelo Anthony remain in Denver?
We want him to stay in Denver. We don't want to see him leave for the Knicks, or anybody else. We're close to winning a championship, so why would he leave? Why would he leave so much money on the table?
There have been reports that Carmelo has had enough with the Nuggets and plans on leaving by a trade or in free agency next year. The thing is, it's all rumors. Carmelo hasn't said a thing about it. All he has said is that he wants to see where the team is heading before he makes a decision.
Things aren't looking too good right now. Two of the Nuggets top eight players are going to be missing in action and they didn't do very much in the off-season. The organization did nothing in the draft (although they were "on the phones all night long") and then they fired two of the top guys in the front office, Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman.
Yeah, not very convincing.
People have to remember something: Carmelo has all year to make up his mind. That also gives (new Nuggets GM) Masai Ujiri plenty of time to trade Smith and Martin for some help. They don't have to trade Anthony, no matter how much he "addresses the case".
Just hang in there.