The weather outside in the Denver Metro area sums up the Nuggets season well. It is supposed to be sunny with hints of summer in the spring, but these past few April days have been miserable - just like the end of the Nuggets season. Denver was supposed to be gearing up for a post-season opponent right now, but instead the team will be making decisions that will affect the organization for years to come.
Let's take a look at some stories this week that revolve around the Denver Nuggets.
1.) A phenomenal piece by Yaron Weitzman on Timofey Mozgov for SB Nation, check it out here. How long will I continue to shove Mozgov related items down everyone's throat? That answer is: forever. FOR-EV-ER! Check out this tidbit from Weitzman's article:
Mozgov was sitting in school in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-biggest city, when Trzheskal, a renowned youth coach in Russia, stepped into the 9-year-old's class. She was looking for tall people. Mozgov, the son of a 6'8 father who played professional handball and a mother who ran track, raised his hand.
He was asked if he could run and jump. Mozgov ran back and forth in the hallway and jumped up and down. He was then asked if he wanted to be a basketball player. Mozgov said that his father wanted him to be one so, sure, he could be a basketball player. Come to the Admiralteyskaya sports school for a practice tonight, he was told.
That was the first time Timofey Mozgov ever stepped foot on a basketball court. That he was the only one there who had never played before didn't matter. He was hooked immediately.
2.) Our friend, and basketball psychopath, Matt Moore has your update on all things NBA lottery related, click here. The Nuggets will have the 7th pick in the draft before the May 19th lottery. Denver has a 4.3% chance at the top pick and a 15% chance to move into the top three. The Nuggets could also fall all the way back to 10th if three teams jump ahead of them. Let's hope if anyone not named the Nuggets moves up, that it's a team in the top six. No moving back!
3.) Christopher "Don't call me Chris!" Dempsey penned a piece on Jameer Nelson and the decision he'll be making in the offseason. Nelson can opt-out of his contract for next season that will pay him roughly $2.8 million and become an unrestricted free agent, or he can opt-in and join the Nuggets for season number two. Here is what Nelson told Dempsey about part of his decision:
"Whatever I decide, I'll definitely discuss with that team what my role would be," said Nelson, who has a player option decision. "I feel like I'm definitely more than a 15 or 18-minute guy, for sure."
Check out the article for more quotes on Nelson, including some on Melvin Hunt's job with the team the final 23 games.
When the Nuggets didn't move Nelson at the trade deadline, it made me curious. Why would a guy who signed to play with the Dallas Mavericks be okay with a rebuilding team - when he just left that situation in Orlando? The theory I came up with was that Nelson is searching for longer-term security. I expect him to opt-out and then perhaps re-sign with the Nuggets or maybe another team. I do think he left himself a little leverage with Denver by staying with the team and he could be looking to get rewarded with that decision on a new 2-3 year contract.
Who knows, but going to a playoff team that had a stud point guard (like the Wizards with John Wall) would have meant a very reduced role for Nelson. It's possible that the Nuggets deal Ty Lawson in the offseason and that could pave the way for Nelson to start in Denver, on a short term basis, while the point guard of the future is groomed. Again, just a theory I have been debating. Which leads us to ...
4.) ESPN Denver's Raj Sharon wrote that the Nuggets should trade both Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried in the offseason - he penned this piece right after the Kings vs Nuggets game: click here. The crux of Sharon's argument?
For the Nuggets to truly start over, they must trade Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried.
I see the point he's trying to make, but I also feel that Raj hates fast-break basketball and he views those two guys as fast-break guys that cannot win in the post season. For me, the desire shown by Lawson in the second half of the season was pretty telling. It didn't look like he was enjoying games and he wasn't quite the same Lawson either. There is something there below the surface that we are not seeing. I really do think we've seen the last of Lawson in Denver ... for better or worse.
5.) Mark Kiszla is back with a trade happy article of his own. He wants to see the team ship Ty Lawson out and build around Danilo Gallinari - a player that Kiszla has recommended the Nuggets trade since 2012. Here is the start of Kiz's debate:
Amid the ashes of a lost Nuggets season, forward Danilo Gallinari stood tall, vowing to do whatever it takes to become an NBA all-star, while point guard Ty Lawson cleaned out his locker and quietly slipped out a side door to get on with his summer vacation. ...
This is Gallo's team now.
It's nice to see Kiszla finally acknowledge that Gallo is a player, and not one the Nuggets should trade ... despite his own suggestions multiple times.
Here's a blurb from a June 2012 piece where Kiz recommends dealing for LeBron James. Yes, you read that correctly.
So, the Nuggets should pick up the telephone during the next month and make a trade proposal: Lawson, Gallinari and Afflalo for James.
Well, the Nuggets didn't make a deal for LeBron, surprise surprise, so Kiz was back at it in May of 2013, this time with Kevin Love on his mind:
Here's the trade I propose.
Send Nuggets starters Danilo Gallinari and Kosta Koufos to Minnesota for Love.
Unfortunately for Kiz, the team once again didn't follow his advice. That didn't stop Kiz, on Feb. 15th, 2015 he had this to say in a debate column with Benjamin Hochman:
And it's time to put Danilo Gallinari back in the starting lineup to determine if he can work the kinks out of his game or if his bad-luck history of injury has permanently damaged his career. Let Gallo play 30 minutes per night at small forward, move Wilson Chandler to shooting guard, and who knows? The Nuggets might create value in the trade market for Gallinari and Chandler as the action around draft day heats up.
Kiz's value for Gallo dropped immensely over the years; from LeBron James, to Kevin Love, to draft picks. But now Kiz recommends the Nuggets stick by Gallo to become good again. Perhaps good enough so that he can recommend trading him for the best player in the league again. Kiz also recommends, in that same article, that Denver should hire Scott Brooks if he becomes available. Read with caution!
6.) Yes, it's a top five list, but forget all about the numbers for a second here. GM Tim Connelly had some interesting quotes about the Nuggets coaching search, definitely worth a read.