The Nuggets will definitely need all seven preseason games to find their groove before the start of the 2013-14 campaign. The Oct. 8th loss to the Lakers, 90-88, showed us a little bit more about this year's Nuggets.
Let's run through some of my thoughts on the game:
-Shaw started the same lineup of Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, Quincy Miller, Kenneth Faried, and JaVale McGee. Jordan Hamilton was the first man off the bench for the team.
-Faried is struggling to find his place in Shaw's offense, thus far. The preseason is the time to try out new wrinkles to your game and we shouldn't complain about the missed jumpers because Faried won't hit those shots with regularity without taking them in game action. In the first quarter, Faried missed a few of those jumpers. He also ran back hard in transition a few times, but Lawson didn't find him ... as if he was searching for the old offense.
-The Lakers ran a little pick-and-roll with Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, the ball wound up going to Chris Kaman out on the perimeter, and Faried lost his man (Gasol), who wound up with an uncontested layup. Faried needed to recover back to his man after showing on Nash, but he failed to do so.
-A whole lot of jump shots by the Nuggets, which is a much different offense than we're used to seeing in Denver. The team was just 3-18 from the field in the first quarter. Let's hope the offense can get on track and get some easier buckets than we've seen thus far. This Lakers squad is not a defensive juggernaut by any means ... lots of work needed on the Nuggets offense.
-The Andre Miller (no haircut yet) and Nate Robinson (got a haircut!) backcourt made another appearance in this game ... still not a fan. The duo gave up back-to-back threes, to their men, to open things up. As a team, the Nuggets defense has been a mess in this one. Giving up open looks, fouling, and allowing the Lakers to extend possessions with offensive rebounds.
-McGee has a very soft touch on his post shots, with both hands. There's a lot of talk about how JaVale doesn't have a great feel for the game in some aspects like his footwork, but that touch is sweet and it'll help a lot of shots find their home. Fun to watch McGee work in the post, always enjoyed that about the NBA game. Again, the more he does it, the better the moves and the shots should become.
-Faried knocked down a jumper to cut the lead to 43-28 Lakers. Nice to see that shot fall and if/when it starts going down with more regularity, the more he'll be able to take advantage when the defense can't sag off and he can then use his speed to get around the slower forwards that will be guarding him.
-Shaw goes with J.J. Hickson to replace Faried and Evan Fournier to replace Foye in the starting lineup to begin things. Really liking what I'm seeing out of Fours. He has a nice shooting touch, moves well without the ball, and has been aggressive attacking on offense. Same goes with Hickson, nice range and aggression.
-Lawson on offense is still awesome. Lawson on defense, different story. Too many times he wasn't fighting through screens to get back in front of Nash. By playing behind him he allowed Nash to dictate passes by drawing big men to him trying to cover for Ty.
-Kaman and Gasol toying with Denver's big men in this one. If they're given a shot, they take it and make it. If they have a pass available for an easier shot, they make it. This was their first real time together and it looked like they'd played together for years.
-McGee was good in the post in the third. He was drawing fouls and knocking down shots. I like what I'm seeing out of McGee on the offensive end. Would be nice to see him get some deeper post moves, not setting for jumpers, and work towards getting dunks (that will draw fouls).
-Anthony Randolph gets his first work in the final quarter after playing throughout the first game. He's such an interesting athlete, but he really has his work cut out for him to get into the rotation with this team with as deep as the Nuggets are down low.
-Nice to see the Nuggets fight back in the final quarter. Guys going after the boards and some intensity picking up. Still difficult to make much out of what we see detail wise on both ends of the floor until we see some consistency in the rotations. Still feels like Shaw is trying to find out what he has with this group of players.
-JaVale still needs to continue to learn when he won't be able to or shouldn't go after blocks. Gives up too many easy plays or rebounds when he's going for them and it puts more pressure on his teammates to cover for him. He either needs to go for fewer blocks or his teammates need to be aware and cover his butt for him.
-Nuggets were 26-43 at the foul line - only 60.5%. They were also just 2-14 from deep for 14.3%. None of that is pretty.
-Two guys who didn't see much action: Damion James and Jordan Hamilton, each with just 9 minutes. Veteran Andre Miller only saw 7 minutes of action ... a sign of something or just a vet getting rest?
-Nuggets are missing a shot creator. The absence of Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari hurt the team, bad. They can run the offense through the post and Lawson can do his thing, but the offense will flow better with Wil and Gallo in the lineup.
Next preseason game will be on Monday, 10-14, at the Pepsi Center against the Spurs.
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