Denver Nuggets: Lack of Chemistry Led To Team's Failure

Ruru RurururulandContributor IJune 13, 2008

You gotta admit, the Nuggets are a sick squad on 2K8.  You know they're one of those teams you create in franchise mode, where you trade all your scrubs for "superstars", taking advantage of the value glitch. 

It's a striking resemblance, those "Denver Nuggets," to a gamer who knows how to roll the sticks. 

Take Melo, A.I., or J.R. and let them dribble around the defense, maybe launch a three (Why waste your time passing?)

Run the break with Marcus Camby. Put up 168 on the Sonics.


Don't think George Karl plays on "Live", but you have to wonder where the inspiration for his offensive "system" comes from. Sticking with oxymorons, he may have gotten it from Doug Moe, who must be "rolling in his grave" as the Chuckster would say. 

One does wonder what Moe was doing these last few years on the bench.  But that gets us to the crux of the matter, which is, does anyone know what's going on with the Denver Nuggets?

I do.

This is an impromptu assemblage of ego-centric school-aged superstars on recess, masquerading as a professional basketball team.

Sometimes you wonder if this team is playing for popsicles. 

It might not be so bad if the head coach didn't give the impression of a flighty old gym instructor who fiddles with his eight-track while the kids play.  

The extent of George Karl's activity on the bench is popping a hand-full of sweet candy-drops and proceeding  to suck them down like the chubby kid on the sideline (he is a self-proclaimed cow).

This is not to confuse GK the coach with GK the man, who certainly has gone through personal adversity, which should be admired.

Karl has conned his way to the top of the ladder within the Nuggets organization. His gift of gab and life triumphs have certainly endeared him to the media, who has given him immunity on all fronts.  This, we should assume, is the same process for which the old King has risen to claim his new throne.

This is where we can find the origins of disorganization. 

You have got a La-Z-Boy sitting on top of a three-legged front-office, which can't be comfortable for Silent Stan Kroenke.  The Bearup, Warkentien, Chapman trio have done some good in turning value.

Certainly, the J.R. Smith trade was one for the ages, and they didn't give up much for Allen Iverson. But you still have Mark Warkentien, the mastermind behind the "Jail Blazers."

He's the same man who this past-trade deadline submitted a grand proposal to get Zach Randolph in the gold and blue.  No, that's not a joke. It's clear evidence that "Wark's" analysis comes from the back of basketball cards.  

While the roster was assembled without a vision for cohesion, you have a coach who has openly admitted that he does not believe in players having roles (He is also a self-proclaimed "feel coach," whatever that means).

Let's remember,  the hiring of Karl was the first in a procession of band-aid moves.  The Kiki Vandeweghe blueprint was going according to plan until the disastrously rushed and inept sign-and-trade of Kenyon Martin.

The dominoes eventually toppled Jeff Bzdelik and apprentice Michael Cooper (who was given a mere 24 games to prove his worth).  An expanded payroll and newfound pressure to compete was the impetus for the Karl hiring in 2004 (after the team fell more than 10 games below .500).  At the time, Karl was looked at as a three-year guy. 

But as we know, history repeats itself, and it's clear the Nuggets have made the same mistake the Bucks and Sonics made.

In essence, you have an organization falling apart at the hinges, being held together by Scotch tape.  It's not only the coach and front office, financially strapped with the K-Mart move. The Nuggets have always lacked the proper floor spacing and congruent player roles. 

Confronted by severe penetration and shooting issues in the playoffs of '05 and '06, the Nuggets put all their cards on the table for Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith. 

Let's see why this roster doesn't work by identifying the flaws of each player and their respective "role" to the team and then critiquing the team as a whole:

Allen Iverson: Primary ball-handler regardless of the point guard.  A shooting point guard who disrupts any offensive rhythm by either not passing to open teammates, passing late to open teammates, passing as a last resort, not using the pick role and an unwillingness to set up the weak-side hockey assist. A defensive liability whether guarding the 1 or 2.

Anthony Carter: GK's latest midget affair, a D-league scrub with marginal abilities across the board.  Can't shoot, a subpar passer in any situation, can't run the pick-and-roll, doesn't finish well, a mismatch for almost all 2 guards and far too slow footed to guard top point guards.

Carmelo Anthony: Disinterested on both sides of the ball when the ball is not in his possession or in his man's possession.  Does almost none of the small floor plays that great players make.  Doesn't like to run, typically exerts the least amount of energy on the floor, settled for jumpers in '08.  Doesn't move off the ball for easy shots, sets poor screens.

Kenyon Martin: Undersized, bipolar, antics player, limited post game, subpar open jump shooter.

Marcus Camby aka "Mr. Touches": Mismatched almost every contest (or anyone over 230 pounds). Doesn't defend the pick and roll.  Doesn't contest shots or make rotations outside of the paint.  Willing to injure teammates to grab uncontested rebounds (to reach incentives). Delusional offensively.  Believes he is a point guard.  Believes he can shoot.  Can't finish. Is a frail presence on both ends of the floor despite gaudy numbers and is willing to inflate stats at the cost of make solid basketball plays.

J.R. Smith: Not smart.  Poor shot selection, unaware defensively.

Linas Klieza: Poor defender, can't drive left,  a black hole on offense.

Eddie Najera: Undersized and limited skills wise.

Nene: Injury-prone.  Injury-nurser.  Not a leaper in most situations, never developed consistent jump shot, poor rebounder for size.

Team: Doesn't buy into Karl's defensive concepts.  Lacks communication and accountability defensively.  Is allowed to take any shot offensively. Lack passing instincts.  Stars don't make teammates better, nor are they leaders. Role players can't take advantage of attention stars draw, as the Nuggets remain one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA.  Lack of movement in the half-court.

Karl: A hypocrite who has never pointed the finger at himself.  Never takes responsibility for his team.  Lacks leadership and accountability.

This is a team that emulates the tendencies of the coach and of the star players as the vast majority of any team at any level does whether conscious or not. 

You can't change this team anytime soon.  Not substantially enough to make a difference under GK.

You've heard that Karl has promised to be harder on his team.  Let's remember, he made that same disingenuous promise in 2005. 


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