HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — You have to wonder how many boxes Andre Iguodala still has unpacked in his new place in Denver.
Acquired this summer in a four-team deal, Iguodala hasn’t had much time to get settled in his new city. Over the first two months of the season, his Nuggets have had just one homestand that lasted more than a game. That was a two-game set against the Warriors and Hornets in the days after Thanksgiving.
Every other home game the Nuggets have played has been sandwiched by road games. In total, they’ve played 22 of their 32 games away from the Pepsi Center.
While the Nuggets’ 17-15 record may be disappointing to those who projected them as a top-four team in the Western Conference, George Karl seems pretty happy.
“I think it’s getting better, I think it’s improving and I’m very proud of them,” Karl told the Denver Post. “This is a tough stretch and we’re above and beyond where I thought we’d be. I thought 16-16 would be great. I don’t know what the celebration is going to be, other than a day off. And then somehow put a double-digit win column up in January. We’ve got to go 10 games or more in January.”
There’s reason for Karl’s optimism, because 15 of the Nuggets’ next 18 games (12 of 15 in January) are at home, starting with Tuesday’s big matchup with the streaking Clippers on NBA TV (9 p.m. ET).
And home has been very good to the Nuggets. They’re 9-1 at the Pepsi Center, outscoring their opponents by 11.9 points per 100 possessions in the 10 games. That’s a difference of 13.8 points per 100 possessions from how they’ve done on the road (-1.9). And that’s the biggest home-away discrepancy in the league.
Biggest home-away discrepancy, point differential per 100 possessions
The difference between the home Nuggets and the away Nuggets has been on both ends of the floor. Their offense has been 7.5 points per 100 possessions better at home, and their defense has been 6.3 points per 100 possessions better.
Interestingly, even though the Nuggets shot a putrid 1-for-32 from outside the paint in Portland on Dec. 20, on neither end of the floor has shooting from the field been the biggest difference. Offensively, they’ve been better at taking care of the ball and getting to the free-throw line…
Nuggets’ offense, home vs. away
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained
TmTOV% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
FTA Rate = FTA / FGA
Defensively, it’s all about rebounding…
Nuggets’ defense, home vs. away
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
DREB% = Percentage of available defensive rebounds obtained
Turnovers and free-throw rate are understandable. But rebounding? How are you a great rebounding team at home and an awful rebounding team on the road?
The numbers point straight at Kenneth Faried, who’s either a good rebounder or a great rebounder, depending on where he’s playing. Faried has grabbed 27.6 percent of available defensive boards (which would rank him ninth in the league) when he’s been on the floor at the Pepsi Center, but only 20.8 percent (which would rank him 36th) in all other arenas.
So, on one hand, Nuggets fans can be encouraged. They’ve been great at home so far and have a tremendous opportunity to move up the Western Conference standings in the next five weeks.
On the other hand, you have to wonder why they can’t just rebound better on the road.