Andy Feinstein is a bit of a stud.
I won't embarrass him too much, but suffice it to say that Mr. Feinstein did me a real solid of late, and I owe him one. Andy is even better a guy than he comes across in his writing, believe it or not.
Funny thing is, I've had very similar experiences with all of the Stiffs staff, from some deep chats with Jeff Morton, Adam Mares, Russ Hamilton, and alum Nate Timmons, to better getting to know the expanding staff of Stiffs Studs. ("studs" is gender-neutral here, Kayla, and also covers anyone keeping the site afloat, writers, mods, and janitorial staff)
That sort of teamwork helps the writing staff keep on excellent terms, even when we don't always agree with what the next guys is spouting.
It doesn't stop there, actually. From Stiffs Nights Out in Colorado and California, to house guests (Hank, the too infrequent traveler), travel crossovers (mtnmagic22 last week in Kauai... completely awesome), or former-life twin (John Kobbeman - seriously, too many freaky crossovers in life and personality), and even on these pages, I've found this community to be filled with a lot of great people, who primarily seem to like each other. Terribly blessed by a few of the friendships established amongst you all.
OK, OK... blah, blah, blah let's all hold hands, can we please talk about the Nuggets, Mike?
Thing is, your Denver Nuggets seem to be of a similar mind about each other these days. Michael Malone talked about what success means when combined with a personnel and culture change in a chat with the Denver Post's Chris Dempsey:
"But I think for our true fans, the fans that came every night and really study the league, they're going to say, 'OK, you had more wins than last year, new coach, a lot of young players, a lot of injuries and we made improvements.' From the players, from management, from the people who have been around this team for a long time, the culture has changed. And people saw that from Day One. ... We would love to have won more games, but if you take out Wilson (Chandler), fourth in the NBA in games missed, starting the second-youngest lineup in the NBA, you're in the Western Conference a-OK. Everybody had us going into the season - when we were healthy - maybe winning 26 games. It was a success. Next year, we have to continue to build on that and improve, and that's the goal."
It's a great point. The Nuggets were expected to be less successful with more tools. That culture change was a big part of it, and came from a good group of guys working together... Gary Harris noted the same for Denver Stiffs a few weeks back:
"...I feel like we're all pretty close on the team right now. The chemistry is great, especially between us young guys continuing to figure these games out together, and getting to know each other on and off the court. The relationships are still just growing every day."
Nuggets PR guru Tim Gelt agreed about the culture on social media the other day. Gelt's enviable travel plans aside, I like the call out to the great locker room and staff.:
Does harmony amongst players, coaches, and staff automatically breed success? Of course not, there's a skills to fill in, game plans to develop, styles to mesh, and all around general improvements to be made. But the piece the team currently has in place is no small task. Many great championship teams were driven by such cohesion, from the Showtime Lakers to the Duncan-era Spurs. The Celtics of both Russell and Bird had such a bond, even when there were conflicts between the group at times.
It's a powerful thing, and has brought them through the first step of a lengthy process. If they can maintain the this attitude throughout the changes to come, they may finally be able to build something bigger for your Denver Nuggets.
What say YOU, Nuggets Nation? Does the team's ability to get along and survive a bumpy first year mean anything at all to the success of the future? Or is it just a bunch of Kum Ba Yah on the way to a lack of plans? Do you say no, no? Or yup, yup?