We're a giving group here at Denver Stiffs and so allow us to present you with one final holiday gift: A fresh Stiff List! While many had a joyful and wonderful holiday season, there were some that drew the ire of their coaches, the organization and their fans and have unfortunately found their way to the Stiff List. The Phoenix Suns, our own Denver Nuggets 2nd half play, Bismack Biyombo/Javale McGee, Odell Beckham Jr and the Stiffs Staff have all got the unenviable honor of making the cut this week.
1. The Phoenix Suns
It was not all that long ago that the Suns were looking like they had gotten back to their winning ways that left them just short of a playoff appearance in the 2013-2014 season. Their dynamic backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight had led them to wins in four out of five games right before Thanksgiving (aided by playing the Nuggets twice) to get their record to 7-5. Since that time they have went 5-15 on a downward spiral that has been marked by poor coaching, poor play and unrest between the players and the staff. When they last played Denver (a loss) things started to boil over as Markieff Morris threw a towel at coach Jeff Hornacek in frustration (who threw it right back) which drew a two game suspension for Morris. Lastly, the dysfunction appears to extend to the front office as just last night they gave a half-hearted attempt to fix the situation by firing two assistant coaches but keeping Hornacek on board. The Nuggets know first hand that an assistant coach can be a problem (Lester Conner) but when they were faced with such an issue they recognized it went deeper than that and made wholesale changes. The Suns seem to be delaying the inevitable. To add injury to insult, Bledsoe recently tore his meniscus and will be out several weeks.
2. Bismack Biyombo's post..move? Can you call it that?
Let me put my Jay Leno hat on for a second. Did you see this? Have you heard about this? In a recent game against the Dallas Mavericks Bismack Biyombo went to post up on Javale McGee, a situation that has Shaqtin-a-fool written all over it. Biyombo and McGee did not disappoint as...well...just watch.
3. The Denver Nuggets 2nd Half Play
Last night's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder is just the latest example of the Nuggets failing to keep up in the 2nd half. That loss is somewhat understnadable, the Thunder are a much better team and Denver was on the second night of a road back to back. However, there is no excuse for the losses to teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Orlando Magic. Each of those games Denver had a decent lead going into the second half and each one they blundered away. Against the Magic they could only manage to score 27 points in the second half, including only 11 in the fourth quarter. The problem is stemming from their inability to score in the later quarters. Currently the Nuggets rank sixth in the league in first half scoring at an average of 51.7 points. In the second half though that number drops to 47.1 points, 4th worst in the league. Whether this is simply related to the fact that Denver has a very young roster and has been beset with injuries this season, or it is a deeper issue related to coaching and player ability, time will tell.
4. Odell Beckham Jr
Unless you've been living under a rock you know who Odell Beckham Jr is. Up until last week's matchup with the Carolina Panthers Beckham was the darling of the NFL media machine. He was featured on the cover Madden NFL 16 and has been branded by many as the next great wide recevier of the league. The talk went full ridiculous hyperbole when Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera compared Beckham to Jerry Rice, a ridiculous notion. Rice is widely regarded as the greatest receiver of all time and his record for career receptions (1549) is one of those records that may never be broken. Apparently all the hype got to Beckham's head and whispers among league circles about him being a self entitled jerk came full force to the surface when he made a complete ass of himself against the Panthers. Carolina cornerback Josh Norman easily got under Beckham's skin and he responded with three personal foul penalties and an ugly helmet to helmet cheap shot on Norman. His childish behavior drew him a one game suspension but Beckham made sure to compound the issue by making weak excuses about feeling threatened pre-game and waiting to issue an apology for his actions until after he lost his appeal. Jerry Rice? Please.
5. The Denver Stiffs Staff
The Stiff list is never going to be shy about calling out those that deserve it, and the Stiffs Staff is not excluded from that. If you haven't been following, we do a weekly pick em challenge on Fridays that pits the Stiffs Staff, Stiffs Commenters and Nuggets subreddit against one another. So far the only thing that has performed worse than the staff has been the Philadelphia 76ers. After putting up a 2-3 spot on the latest round of StS, the Stiffs Staff has an overall record of 16-29 which puts us well behind the other groups and 12 correct picks out of the lead. Coverage of our favorite team? We've got you covered. Telling you who's going to win the close match-ups around the league?...We'll get back to you on that one.