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Denver Nuggets: I Believe

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One commuter's epiphanies about your Denver Nuggets

I believe that this is not Michael Malone. But...
I believe that this is not Michael Malone. But...
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

I believe satellite radio saves lives. How, and who cares, you say? Last year, as part of a purchase of a new car, we were treated to three months of free satellite radio, with an opportunity to sign up at a discount after 90 days. As a consumer of perfectly-good-and-free radio for many years, I assured the salesperson we'd not be adding the service at the end of the trial, especially since we often use mass transit instead for sheer ease-of-use.

That first week, I put the radio through its paces, finding several stations that appealed to me, but not enough to pay for a service I'd enjoyed for years for free. And then the perfect storm came.

The day I discovered the comedy channels on satellite radio was the day that President Obama and Hilary Clinton visited Los Angeles simultaneously during my morning commute. Several of the usual routes were closed for security, and my six-plus mile drive took me a little longer than usual. To the tune of two hours and seven minutes. That math is usually a recipe for testing my capacity for aneurysms. That morning, I listened to comedy for two hours (and seven minutes) and arrived at work with a smile on my face.

Over a year later, I'm still paying for the damned radio, and laughing all the way. This morning, they ran an old Blue Collar Comedy Tour routine called "I Believe". The gist of the idea is what the four redneck comedians believe... and all I could think about as I drove was all I believe about this season's Denver Nuggets. Here's the idea...

I BELIEVE...

I believe that Emmanuel Mudiay will become Denver's first rookie of the year, due to a three-to-one assist to turnover ratio average for the last third of the season... and/or his surprising ownership of compromising photos of several people in the league offices. I believe only one of those things will be true. One more truth: I believe Mudiay will be two dozen games past his last high school contest on Friday night, and has made a few fans of some big-time guards along the way.

I believe that if Michael Malone continues to grow his beard, practice tough love on his players, and acquire the grey hair that this young Nuggets squad seems so bent upon providing, he'll be virtually indistinguishable from Gregg Popovich by late January. Yes, the confusing photo was on purpose. Apologies.

I believe that Danilo Gallinari will be on the bubble for an All-Star berth this season, getting in after a last minute push from his first 50-point game, (and possibly via an injury to a voted-in starter). I also believe that Gallo is secretly working on a thick New Jersey accent for a hoped-for Sopranos reboot. Back to semi-reality, I believe that Gallo's 50-point game will be in an all-small-ball game with him primarily in the post. He was wrecking the Pelicans down low two nights ago, when injuries forced New Orleans to stay with small ball lineups most of the night.

I believe that Will Barton and former Nugget Corey Brewer will discover they were secretly separated at birth, even though they are chronologically five years apart in age. What a horrible, tragic labor for Ms. Barton-Brewer. Brewer-Barton. BB. Speaking of former Nuggets now in Houston...

I believe that Ty Lawson will be playing backgammon with Kevin McHale this season if things don't improve for the Rockets in the next couple months, or by the start of next season at the outside. I'd be prone to bet the latter, but McHale's firing was certainly premature de-coach-ulation, and shows signs of Daryl Morey's sometimes famously itchy trigger finger.

I believe that by the last third of the season, Gary Harris will be one of the best two-guards the Denver Nuggets have had in years, and that he'll be the linchpin in a defensive renaissance for Denver. I also believe that one visiting team's color analyst will call him "Harry Garris" by season's end.

I believe that Randy Foye was abducted by aliens, and the eerily similar replacement pod-person left behind to substitute during Foye's cosmic voyage cannot shoot to save himself. Phone home, Randy.

Joking momentarily aside, Foye is still playing his guts out every time he's on the floor, even with his shot not falling. To keep trying all over the floor when your bread-and-butter is betraying you is a pro move. If/when Foye's shot gets regular again, I believe he'll have quickly earned his way to more playing time with his unfailing effort along the way. If Harris and Barton have left any minutes for him by then, that is.

I believe Wilson Chandler deserves a love letter back from Nuggets fans far more poetic than I, and to never suffer so much as another hangnail after his last few years' injuries. And I believe that he will finally grin on the court when he plays through a full 82-game season.

I believe that Jusuf Nurkic will be back by Christmas, and that he, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Nikola Jokic will play at least one game manning Denver's frontcourt simultaneously. If Gallo will play the point, we'll be one player from an all-Euro-at-least-6'-10" "big" squad.  Maybe we'll let Kostas Papanikolaou wear one-inch heels in his sneaks to get to the height requirement. Trying to imagine those five on the court at once. Passing, defense, shooting... Give me a sec...

I believe that DeMarcus Cousins is jealous of Kenneth Faried, in knowing Malone's gift for turning around talented big men who have struggled with other coaches. I doubt you'll ever see a scene with Faried and Malone as wooden as this recent Summer League love-fest between DeMarcus and former Nuggets coach George Karl:

Had the video run another 10 seconds, you'd have seen DMC immediately vacating the area. Sheesh. Tough times between two talented and strong-willed guys. But to our benefit, Cousins knows Malone's value to a team.

I believe that Jameer Nelson might secretly be a famous mutant... only in that he's got a healing factor hiding somewhere in there, as he seems to have a gift for helping heal things up, while strengthening the bones of things. And that I might see if he'd be up for hanging out with me and a couple of sadly-long-lost friends for a week at his place next summer. If any of that doesn't make sense, Google "Wolverine+Adamantium". and "Jameer Nelson hosts Nuggets". Jameer. Call me.

I believe that the Denver Nuggets have been bitten just enough by the injury bug this season as to possibly have to heavily lean on Mike Miller in one game, and that he will have a flashback and break the 20-point barrier. To ridiculously double down on an already longshot bet, I believe Miller will have at least one game-winning shot this season. All with both shoes on:

I believe Jeff Morton had some poignant things to say yesterday about how nice it is to be a fan finally back on the edge of possibility. The most recent streak of playoff berths outnumbered the last two lean years thus far nearly fivefold, and still the past couple of seasons felt interminable. Though there are still frustrations galore, it has been a lot more fun to be a Nuggets fan through a dozen games. Playoffs or no, there are some positive signs in six wins and six losses.

How about that.

Denver Nuggets? I believe.