If one thing is abundantly clear, Melvin Hunt is certainly (at least publicly) a very positive man. It is reflected in his team's confidence and swagger since taking over the Nuggets 6 games ago. Hunt has a 4-2 record in those games, including an upset over the 50 win Atlanta Hawks at Pepsi Center.
In a contrast with previous coach Brian Shaw and his lead assistant Lester Conner, Hunt has managed to tap into a beaten down and depressed basketball team and turn them into happy, smiling people. Even after losses. The Shaw/Conner combo was near relentlessly negative, and while I don't think former coach Brian Shaw is a negative person ... he projected the air of negativity from the very moment he took over the team in June of 2013.
Say what you want about the players behavior prior to Shaw's dismissal, it is abundantly clear that Shaw's public approach to berating his players caught up with him in a big way toward the end of his tenure. Privately, it seemed that the Shaw/Conner tandem wore on the players so negatively that they began to tune them out. Particularly Conner, who was Shaw's strong arm. It's hard to relate how overwhelmingly oppressive and negative the Nuggets locker room had become.
Needless to say that contributed, greatly, to the horrible vibe that surrounded the team for so long. A handful of players absolutely contributed to the problem, and in no way was this meant to absolve them ... but Shaw/Conner had a big hand in their own problem in Denver.
One thing that has been surprising is how Hunt is not only a great motivational coach, but a fantastic x's and o's coach, as you will see in one of the below videos. Hunt isn't a flash in the pan. He COACHES. Not only that, freed of endless isolation sets and lane clogging post ups ... the team has responded in a big way to once again moving the ball around and getting the best, most efficient, shot available. It's half court, but without the faux 90's veneer.
Melvin Hunt has made this team ... believe. That's the best and most complimentary thing I can say. He has absolutely (small sample size acknowledged) made this team believe again. He is using the best talent on the team to their best abilities ... and quite frankly I'm excited to see what he does with Jusuf Nurkic when he returns. I'm actually excited again, and looking forward very much to each and every game.
I owe, and I think Nuggets fans owe much of that to Melvin Hunt. The man who made us believe again.
Tonight ... as Danilo Gallinari said ... it's time to beat the Golden State Warriors.