Last night, the Nuggets lost 102-101 at the last second when Carmelo Anthony missed a 20-foot jumper.
And while the game wasn’t won, not all was lost as Denver found a gem in rookie Gary Forbes to fill in.
After injuries to starter Kenyon Martin and backup Chris Andersen left the Nuggets thin in the front court and new Nugget Shelden Williams starting, starting center Nene pulled his groin and was unable to play.
Williams moved over to center, and Forbes played the power forward position.
Forbes played well, but it was clear that his 6’7” 220 pound frame isn’t big enough to play with the much taller power forwards in the NBA.
Still, Forbes showed he has lots of energy, a player who works hard for everything he gets on an NBA hardwood—his block and steal were both hustle plays.
He can drive the ball relatively well, with some quickness and showed a floater a few times and plays intelligently—Forbes’ 12 points were made on 6-of-12 shooting.
And Forbes is a team player—he added three rebounds and two assists in the game last night.
Forbes looked very similar to an improved Arron Afflalo at times, which wasn’t a bad thing, and it gave Denver a quick and hard-working duo of players and Forbes could possibly work well with JR Smith down the road this season off the bench.
Overall, his showing was encouraging for technically an NBA rookie who finished college play in 2008.
After his senior season at UMass in ’08, Forbes wasn’t drafted but invited to the Orlando Magic’s summer camp and was eventually cut after averaging 3.8 points and 0.6 rebounds per game.
He played for the NBA D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce in the 2008-09 season and averaged 17.4 points and 5.3 boards and then moved on to many international teams in 2009-10.
This summer, Forbes was given another shot at an NBA career by the Houston Rockets, and after playing in four of five games for their summer league squad, he was once again cut.
Then the Nuggets gave him a chance and Forbes performed well (10.1 points, 2.9 boards per game in preseason) and made Denver’s team.
Now if he can learn how to consistently play like he did Wednesday night every night, Denver will have found a valuable player for the future of their team.
And as for the immediate future of Forbes, he will be a value at backup with the ability to fill in at starter at times.
What Last Night’s Loss Meant for the Nuggets
Denver was over-matched all night by Dallas’ much taller, bigger and stronger players, as it showed how deficient the Nuggets are in the big man department.
Denver has to outscore opponents with K-Mart and Birdman out, and they did that for most of the game. That was, until the Mavericks started using a zone defensive scheme that slowed down the Nuggets attack and turned their game into too much one-on-one.
Indeed, the Nuggets were at their best when playing team basketball, sharing the ball well and scoring with ease. But Denver fell out of that mode in the late third and early fourth quarter and found themselves having to come back in the end and came up short.
Still, it was an encouraging game against one of the West’s best opponents, especially when thinking about Nene, Kenyon Martin and Chris “Birdman” Andersen coming back to the team soon.
Rich Kurtzman is a Colorado State Alumnus and a freelance journalist. Along with being the CSU Rams and Fort Collins Beer Bars Examiner, Kurtzman is a Denver Broncos and the Denver Nuggets Featured Columnist for bleacherreport.com and the Colorado/Utah Regional Correspondent for stadiumjourney.com.