Nuggets Still Search For New Identity

HANG TIME, Texas — Leave it to George Karl to enjoy running a gantlet of four games that started at home against Miami and now goes to San Antonio, Memphis and Minnesota.

“I just think I’m a sadistic guy,” he said.

Or more likely a just a coach that likes a challenge.

Karl’s Nuggets were a trendy pick by many to make a strong push up Western Conference standings following the offseason deal that brought Andre Iguodala to Denver.

This was a team of no true superstar that was going to get out in the open court, apply defensive pressure like a vise and run, run, run it’s way into the role of a real playoff contender.

But to date, instead of cranking things up a notch, the Nuggets have regressed, as Karl admitted to our buddy Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post:

“There’s no question we’re not wearing teams out like we did last year,” said Nuggets coach George Karl, whose team, for much of the night, looked like it was the one that played the night before in L.A., not the Heat.

LeBron James finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists, playing point forward for much of the game.

“They made their run, they’re a great team at home,” James said, “but we were able to withstand it.”

The Heat was without guard Dwyane Wade, who sat out because of an ankle injury he reaggravated in Wednesday night’s loss at the L.A. Clippers.

Meanwhile, Andre Miller played like Ty Lawson, while Ty Lawson played pathetically. Lawson went scoreless, 0-for-7, while Miller scored 19 points with a pair of 3s.

“It was a game we definitely needed to win before we go out on this three-game road trip,” Miller said from a nearly empty losing locker room. “We talked about their 3-point shooters, we just didn’t play a good floor game.”

Now the Nuggets stand at 4-5 because they have been the picture of mediocrity. Their offensive rating (103.8), according to Basketball-Reference.com, stands 15th in the league, while their defensive rating (103.3) ranks 17th.

This was supposed to be a newer version of the 2004 Pistons who won a championship without one big dog pulling the sled all season. But instead they have too often looked like Iguodala’s old team that he left behind in Philly, where he leads a team in scoring that for the most part does not a singular focus, except fo the rebounding monster that is Kenneth Faried.

We can cut the Nuggets some slack because they have an absolutely brutal schedule. They opened with six of their first nine games — and 17 of 23 — on the road.

“I’m kind of happy with how we’ve played. I’m not happy with how well we’ve played. But as a coach, how is probably more important than how well.”

7 Comments

  1. Wes says:

    Their Identity is in Orlando along with a First Round Draft choice that might of made a difference someday.

  2. The Nightfox says:

    None of these comments matter until every team is 25 games in.

  3. nba fan says:

    this team will still go to the playoffs

  4. googergieger says:

    First of all their schedule is ridiculous. And this argument about how it evens out towards the latter part of the season, really holds no weight. If you have an easy schedule to start with(like the four teams in this four team league this “sport” has become) it is a lot easier in the long run. When you can relax towards the latter part of the season heading into the play offs. Second of all, how can a team like Denver that gets so many of their points in the paint not get more love from the refs? How can they more than double the paint points Miami had, not counting the attempts which probably tripled Miami, and only end up with three more free throw attempts? And six more personal fouls called on Denver? In their home court by the way. Don’t get me wrong, Lawson deserves a lot of blame right now. He got his extension and has been playing beyond lethargic out there. No effort at all last night and the games before, he has been waiting way too late to attack. Karl deserves plenty blame too. How does he stay with Lawson all night when the effort clearly wasn’t there? How does he leave Koufous in for more than a second when he can clearly see he is going to be useless against Miami? And most teams to be honest with you. How can he take Mcgee out when he has the effort and is playing a fantastic game against Miami?

    But really this would all be a non issue if the refs and league started calling a consistent game, every game, regardless of who was playing who. However in this four team league, that is more liken to a reality show and less of a sport, it probably will never happen again. Not about athletes anymore, it is about celebrities. And it is a shame like real journalists, sports journalists are no longer interested in doing their job. Just looking for soundbites and perpetuating whatever message the league wants them to push at any given moment. What are the odds this gets approved?

    • 80's Baller says:

      I’m a Miami fan, but you are right on. The game last night had too many questionable calls. On one play James pushed Gallinari out of bounds for a rebound, and it was right in front of the ref.

      • TWizz says:

        Lets not even mention Battier getting all those charge calls where he was obviously moving, especially towards the end of the game where Lawson would have got an and1. NBA needs to get rid of the charge call. Too many teams benefit from it when they shouldn’t.

  5. steppx says:

    Lawson hasnt played well at all. Not pre season and not regular season. He just got a contract extension. But like Nene, denver wouldnt be hesistant to make a move. Karl wasnt that happy with Lawson’s inconsistency last year either. But this year he has looked slow, lacking in explosion, and hasnt attacked the basket as he did in the past. Ive no idea the problem…..but I wont be surprised if denver made a change.