5 - Injuries
The Denver Nuggets survived a gaggle of injuries throughout the 2015-16 season to outperform expectations last year. With raised expectations this season, the injury issues haven’t gone away. Will Barton has missed eight of the first 11 games, Gary Harris has missed six, and Wilson Chandler and Darrell Arthur have dealt with injury issues of their own. The Nuggets are currently starting Jameer Nelson at shooting guard next to Emmanuel Mudiay, and this is a bad sign for Nelson. While he has been effective and will continue to be effective for the next month or two, Nelson began to wear down last season from extended minutes, and he eventually lost his job to D.J. Augustin via trade. If he continues playing over 25 minutes per contest (currently 25.2 per game), then I suspect he will wear down this year as well. Please get healthy, Nuggets. Depth should be a strength, not a necessity.
4 - Marcus Smart avoids baptism by flopping
Now, to be fair, taking the charge is the right basketball play when someone is barreling down the middle of the lane, but Marcus Smart got lucky here. Solomon Hill nearly pulled a “Vince Carter” here by jumping over Smart for the slam. Smart received a bit of contact and threw himself to the floor with incredible velocity, rewarding his team with a change of possession. I don’t blame him though. I blame the referee, who called the foul based on the reaction from Smart rather than actual contact. Hill made an incredible play, but it will never count.
Of course, this isn’t Smart’s first offense. Here are his (artificially ranked) top five flops of all time.
3 - KSE sued over a Closed Captioning dispute
In a story that went largely under the radar, a class action lawsuit was filed against Kroenke Sports and Entertainment on behalf of a deaf person who attended a Nuggets home game earlier this season. The basis of the lawsuit came down to the experience this woman had at Pepsi Center. She went to enjoy a game but was unable to do so due to a lack of closed-captioning throughout the arena. She could not hear what the announcers said, what the score was, or any of the information about the players. This was said to be against compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and if KSE is found guilty of it, there will be ramifications for the arena. Closed Captioning isn’t just a necessity for the hard of hearing, but also helpful for those who don’t understand the event as well as others. I am of the opinion that all arenas should have captioning at this point, given the ADA guidelines. Read the article here.
2 - Paul George kicks a basketball into a fan’s face
Frustrations are high for Paul George and the Indiana Pacers this season, as they have largely underwhelmed to start the year. Still, that gives George no right to kick a ball into the stands, hitting a woman in the face in the process.
Yeah, this happened awhile ago, but it deserves a place on the Stiff List for sure.
Paul, you’re a Broncos fan, right? So you must know that balls fly farther in the high altitude of the Mile High City. C’mon Paul, the Nuggets could use your star power, and being in Denver would allow you to attend more Broncos games! What’s not to like? You can see balls fly as far as you want! Just don’t kick them at fans.
1 - Golden State holds a super villain party
Yes, the Golden State Warriors are back on the Stiff List, but they have a better reason than ever. Super teams usually try and back away from the “villain” mantra that many fans throw their way, but some embrace it. The Warriors, headed up by host Stephen Curry, have taken things to a whole ‘nother level, holding a party with gigantic balloons spelling out “Super Villains”, also known as the most corny thing I have ever seen a basketball team do. They are trying to have fun with the mantra, but this is just ridiculous, and the topper for this edition of the Stiff List.