Somewhere along the line I went from the guy who wrote a weekly column called "Weekly Optimism" to a fairly cynical human who is known for what Andrew Feinstein calls "conspiracy theories" (they aren't theories if they're TRUE). I'm not sure when or where it happened.
The Denver Nuggets have been a passion of mine since I was really young, but two consecutive seasons of sub par to quite frankly miserable basketball have turned this once optimistic soul into jaded "Old Man Morton" (as a certain former colleague called me). Where did the endless optimism go? Where did the eternal hope that THIS will be the Nuggets season?
As this offseason progressed, I started to feel a bit more encouraged again. The play of Joffrey Lauvergne and Danilo Gallinari in Eurobasket has given us something to look forward to. Additionally the drafting of point guard Emmannuel Mudiay has given us some level of confidence that maybe the future of the point guard position may be in good hands. Maybe Nikola Jokic coming over from Europe and the continued development of players such as Gary Harris and Erick Green will provide the fun that has been missing from Pepsi Center for two seasons? Plays like Jameer Nelson can provide the veteran leadership and Will Barton can bring that zany x factor that hasn't been seen in Denver for a couple years?
In a town like Denver when absolute perfection is expected for all teams not named the Broncos for undying devotion, it makes it hard. You need to be fun. You need to provide something that others don't, and the last two seasons the Nuggets were a mess of a whole bunch of different reasons. However, you can see that our "fun" tragectory is on the up.
Will that translate to wins thought? It would quite an achievement considering how daunting the Nuggets schedule will be. Much like 2012-13 the Nuggets schedule to begin the season is road heavy at the start. Nearly half the Nuggets home games come on TWO homestands (an 8 game home stand and a later 7 game homestand). The Nuggets don't play an Eastern Conference opponent until the very end of November. It will truly be a huge task to reach 30 wins WHILE incorporating a rookie point guard.
What we are looking for is hope. We are looking for improvement and we are looking for fun. Much like the 1992-93 Nuggets, this team needs to be just be fun again. Bringing back that element again will go a long way to restoring a good feeling and vibe at Pepsi Center ... even without having too many wins under their belt. Can head coach Michael Malone provide a certain level of professional behavior while restoring the run and gun ways of the Nuggets. Can this go from a post-heavy team under former Coach Brian Shaw, to a modern NBA team that features pace and space?
So what do you think the Nuggets will do this season my fellow Stiffs? Do you feel that hope for the future?