Different day, same bad Nuggets. There were a few bright spots but ultimately they were not enough as the Nuggets continue their zombie-like shambling toward the season's conclusion. Just think, there's only 25 more games of this to gooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
To paraphrase Chris Marlowe at the end of tonight's broadcast, "You look for things to build on":
- Will Barton seems to be playing well. I can't be sure if that's talent, or just because he hasn't had enough time to learn Shaw's bad jump shooting system and is attacking the rim instead. Either way, I think he could carve out a role with the team going forward, assuming he's not completely demoralized by the atmosphere he's going to end up playing in.
- Joffrey Lauvergne hit his first NBA 3 pointer ending up with a perfect 1-1 from beyond the arc! Nice going, Joff. 11 points and 9 rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench are very promising and will hopefully supplant every single minute that would otherwise go to J.J. Hickson.
- Speaking of which, LEEEEEEEEROYYYYYYY JENKINNNNNNNNNNNNNS was an astonishing minus 30 in 22 minutes. Hickson's deplorable defense seems to have gone from horrific to mind-rending with all the team's recent losing (which is, somehow, evidently, possible). It's truly amazing to watch a player not give a single fuck on one end of the floor, like when J.J. decided that his "help" defense on a pick and roll was to sag into the paint alongside Jameer Nelson to leave P.J. Tucker wide open for a jumperrrrrrrrrGHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAI CAN'T TAKE HICKSON ANYMORE GET HIM OFF THE TEAM
- Gallo put up 20 points on 6-16 shooting. He hit 5-11 from 3 (!), which means he went just 1-5 from inside the arc, and collected 7 caroms. I'm really not sure what to think of Gallo at this point. I have always loved his skill at leadership and the clear camraderie he inspires in his teammates, but I'm still waiting for him to take the next step. Will he ever get there? When can we say he's back to full health and isn't "shaking off the rust" anymore? I am pinning a lot of my hope for the future on Gallo going forward (which might surprise some), and he's clearly assumed the mantle of leadership for the team in the vacuum that is Ty's leadership. 6 turnovers hurt, gotta cut those down Gallo.
- Ty Lawson was nearly invisible tonight, despite scoring 13 points and dishing 7 assists. Going through the motions. Fading into the background, which seems to be sadly a pattern with him.
- Jusuf Nurkic has a high ankle sprain. Very, very fortunate that it isn't a fracture. Get well soon Big Beast, but not too soon. Brian Shaw's quest to lose the remaining 25 games of the season must continue, and you were a big threat to that.
- Randy Foye's basketball skills seem to have been stolen by the aliens from Space Jam. I rolled my eyes at Foye's defense on the perimeter, letting man after man blow by him for an easy layup, then they rolled out of my head when he attempted a turnaround fadeaway 3 pointer with 18 seconds into the shot clock.
- Gary Harris has not impressed. His jumper looks really bad and his defense has been pretty average so far. Not sure he can continue to get minutes if he can't knock down his looks. He's not performing right now and unless he can turn things around he might be destined for the D-league.
- The Nuggets clearly missed Darrell Arthur and Kenneth Faried on the glass, getting outrebounded 65-40. To anyone that thinks Faried's rebounding prowess and hustle don't matter, I'll just leave that stat there as evidence.
- The team shot 38.1%, another atrociously bad shooting night. Inexcusable. This team is taking too many bad jump shots and settling for looks that they shouldn't even consider. The quality of the team's shots and their inability to make them is a product of the coach's philosophy - or lack of one - and one that's clearly bankrupt. Saying that it's hard to watch is an understatement. At least the horrible shot selection is good for a laugh now and then. If the Nuggets are going to be a grind-it-out team, they have to take good shots and play good defense, something which seems to have completely evaded the team and Shaw to this point.
Once again, the team seemed to have no clear direction on offense to speak nothing of the defense spearheaded by J.J. Hickson and Randy Foye. The entire team stood around on the perimeter waiting for a one-on-one drive inside, followed by a contested long jumper, a turnover, or a long fadeaway three. As I watch Shaw's postgame it boggles my mind that he can single out newcomer Will Barton for "balling out" when Barton is doing what this team should have been doing since day one - running the floor and pushing the pace! Something that Shaw has clearly de-emphasized with this team to this point.
Another ugly loss in an ugly season. Shaw with the same old tired excuses. More injuries to Arthur and Nurkic. The march to a high draft pick continues.