Archive for the ‘Denver Nuggets’ Category

nate-robinson-baseball

With the dust mostly settled on this offseason’s player movement — and there was a whole lot of it this year — it’s time to take stock of all the fascinating new faces in new places, as well as the more compelling stories of players who will face new challenges while sticking around. Over the course of the next few weeks, Andrew Unterberger will do a team-by-team look at the most interesting players going into next season — one new to the team, and one returning — as we all try to pass the dog days of NBA-less summer, dreaming of hoops-filled months to come. The series continues today with the teams in the Northwest Division: the Nuggets, Timberwolves, Thunder, Blazers and Jazz.

DENVER NUGGETS

Most Interesting New Player: Nate Robinson

I guess? Like the Mavs, the Nuggets added a whole spate of recognizable new players to their roster this offseason, and none of them are even slightly exciting roster adds. Randy Foye? We know pretty well what that dude can and can’t do by now. J.J. Hickson? The Nugs already have one frontcourt energy guy/rebounding machine, and he’s a whole lot more fun to watch than J.J. Hickson. Darrell Arthur? Don’t think there are a lot of NBA fans who watched Denver last year and thought to themselves “fun team, but would it kill them to shoot more 18-foot elbow jumpers?” None of these guys are gonna make the team League Pass must watches, exactly.

That just leaves Nasty Nate, who is at least always fun to watch on a new team — to see the respective fanbases come to terms with his strengths and weaknesses, to see him make funny friend duos with his new teammates (Shrek ‘n Donkey 4EVA!!), to see him get way too many starts when the point guard he’s backing up goes down with injury. It’s hard to see where he fits into this team that already has Ty Lawson (essentially a steadier, less-maddening version of NateRob) and Andre Miller (NateRob’s inverse in just about every conceivable way), but Nate Robinson always manages to make his presence felt by year’s end, and the Pepsi Center crowd should eat him up. He’ll look great in those Denver baby blues, too.

Most Interesting Returning Player: JaVale McGee

This feels like the fourth or fifth consecutive make-or-break year for JaVale, who has still yet to really be made or broken. He shot a career high 58 percent and posted a career high 20.9 PER last year, but proved weirdly unplayable alongside Kenneth Faried and still couldn’t manage to unseat Kousta Koufos as the team’s starting center, averaging his fewest minutes a game (18.1) since 2010. Well, not only is Koufos now gone, but so is head coach George Karl — the latter’s dismissal supposedly coming in part due to his unwillingness to give the high-upside, well-compensated McGee big minutes. It’s never been nower or neverer for old Pierre.

Amazingly, JaVale will still be just 25 years old on opening night, so the belief that McGee has remaining yet-to-be-tapped potential still remains at least slightly justifiable. And for a team that basically went through an across-the-board downgrade (down to the management and front office) in the offseason, getting that kind of level-up in production from their eternal project of a big man might be one of the only ways that the team can stay a contender in a suddenly very crowded West. Even if not, we should be getting a lot more JaVale this season, which you don’t need me to tell you is always a good thing.

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Here are Deron Williams’ solid backflip maneuvers.

And here are Nate Robinson’s equally solid backflip maneuvers.

Even though I don’t think anyone’s ever really compared them — except for maybe during last year’s playoffs when Nate was torching the Nets, and everyone was like, “Why is Nate Robinson getting the best of Deron Williams?” — but these couple of clips really illustrate the difference betwixt the two point guards. Deron is super steady flipper who can do every flip in the book in a controlled, calm manner while Nate is literally pushing his kids out of the way so that he can do their moves in the backyard. Apparently it takes a trampoline and some flips to discover the true nature of a point guard. Who knew?

(via Beyond the Buzzer)

I literally just realized as I was typing up this post that JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson are going to be teammates next season. This is going to be better than Nate and Big Baby and Nate and Shaq combined. I don’t know if the Nuggets actually improved this summer, but they definitely got a lot sillier.

(via The Buzz)

lionel-messi-weird-smile

It seems like just yesterday that we were talking about Nate Robinson deciding to wear No. 10 for the Denver Nuggets because he loves using Lionel Messi in video games. It seems like that because it was indeed yesterday that we were talking about that.

But now we’re going to Paul Harvey this thing to give you the rest of the story, because the real Lionel Messi — not a video game avatar — has finally spoken on the matter. From his real Facebook page:

Hey man, what a great surprise to see you are using the number 10. Welcome to the ‪#‎10Team‬ – Nate Robinson, wishing you the best on your next season with the Nuggets ‪#‎NateBigFan‬

First and foremost, I can’t wait to use #NateBigFan any time the lil’ guy does something awesome next season. Assuming we all don’t forget about this by then, I can see that hashtag getting a lot of play. Good job, Lionel Messi.

And good job internet for making this whole thing possible. The best soccer player in the world is Facebooking about a professional basketball player who decided to wear his jersey number partly because of video games — considering Mark Zuckerberg didn’t single-handedly invent Facebook without any additional help until 2004, this is literally something that could not have happened 10 years ago. Plus, who knows when Nate Robinson got in to FIFA on whatever gaming system he uses? This could have been impossible three weeks ago, for all we know.

Of course, all we need now is to hear from every other diminutive No. 10 in the soccer world to see if they’re OK with Nate breaking in to their fraternity. I’ll get in touch with Wesley Sneijder, someone else get Wayne Rooney on the phone. Tell them it’s a standard hairplug check-in if you have to. We need an answer.

(via Dime)

nate-robinson-10

The No. 10 in soccer is such a big deal that it gets special mention in a Wikipedia article about playmaking forwards. If you watch footy, I don’t have to explain this for you. And if you hate soccer, you don’t care anyways, so let’s move on.

Because once we move on, we get to talk about Nate Robinson, who was worn single-digit numbers his entire professional playing career, but will now be rocking that famous No. 10 because of another short, shifty guy who Nate loves. From Denver Stiffs:

Robinson on wearing the No. 10 next season in Denver:

Robinson: I usually dig the single digit numbers, but No. 2 is retired. Alex English, great player. He was my coach at predraft camp when I played in Chicago. He was my coach and I averaged like 22 points and 8 assists, something like that, and he was just letting me go. I was like, “Man, it’s a pleasure. You rocked my favorite number.” I knew exactly who he was and I was like, “Man that No. 2, there is something special about it.”

I’m going to change it up and wear No. 10. I’m going to wear it for [Lionel] Messi, that’s my favorite soccer player. I’ve been playing a lot of FIFA lately and watching the games. He’s the best little guy to do it and I’ve got to be the best little guy to do it at No. 10 in the NBA. That’s my goal.

If you’re scoring at home, the Nuggets now employ one guard who wears No. 94 because it is part of the phone number of his hometown overseas and one guard who will wear No. 10 because he likes using a certain soccer player in a video game. And of course, Andre Miller wears No. 24 to honor his birth year. I’m not sure where exactly you should note all this stuff in your souvenir program that you bought for $10 and will forget under your stadium seat, but you should definitely make note of it.

And hey, considering this is already the seventh time in his career that he’ll be picking a number, I guess it’s good to still be able to find new reasons for picking certain numbers. Sure, I’d expect a No. 10 to be a little more distributor-y than Nate Robinson has been in the past, but he also had a 23-point fourth quarter during a playoff game for the Bulls, so he can kind of do no wrong in my eyes. If he wants to wear Lionel Messi’s number because of video games and real games but probably a little bit more because of video games if we’re being honest, then so be it. He can wear No. 1 for all I care.

(via Beyond the Buzzer)

tim-connelly

At first, this quote from new Nuggets executive VP of basketball operations Tim Connelly seems like a humblebrag of epic proportions. From the Baltimore Sun:

When Tim Connelly gets married in early August in Washington, the NBA will be well represented.

“There will be seven GMs at my wedding,” said Connelly, who will now make it eight.

But then you read about how that could be possible, and it becomes kind of awesome.

But here they are, a few days before the 2013 NBA draft, spread across the country, four of the Connellys working for four NBA franchises.

Tim Connelly, 36, was named last Monday as the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Denver Nuggets after spending the previous three years as assistant general manager of the recently renamed New Orleans Pelicans. Connelly started out 16 years ago as an unpaid intern for the Washington Wizards while still in college.

Pat Connelly, 32, was hired last month as assistant general manager of the Phoenix Suns after taking the same route as his brother, working his way up from being an unpaid intern in Washington to following Tim as director of player personnel with the Wizards. His first job offer in basketball was helping coach the Brighton Bears in England’s professional league.

Joe Connelly, 41, has worked the past two seasons for Washington in player development after Pat introduced him to former Wizards guard Roger Mason Jr. The oldest of the Connelly brothers coached under former Towson Catholic head coach Mike Daniel while teaching 12 years in the Baltimore City school system.

Dan Connelly, 29, who was a junior varsity teammate of Anthony’s at Towson Catholic on a team that shockingly won only one game, was “the best manager” Daniel said he ever had. After working for four years as a team manager for Leonard Hamilton at Florida State, Dan Connelly is now an advance scout for the Utah Jazz and trains a number of NBA players, including former Maryland star Greivis Vasquez, now with the Pelicans.

The youngest brother, Kevin, 26, followed their father, Mike, into the financial world, but was recently approved by the NCAA to start his own scouting service for high school players.

“What are the odds of something like that happening?” Joe Connelly said recently. “It’s not like we sat down 20 years ago and mapped out a course. It kind of just fell together. It’s just what we were taught by our parents. Work hard and be good guys. Not try to outslick anybody.”

Not to steal Joe Connelly’s point, but seriously, what are the odds of something like this — five sons doing basketball personnel work, four of them in the NBA — happening to one family? Considering none of them were NBA players, which could lead to sweetheart hookup jobs for no real reason, I’m guessing we’re talking about ye olde fashioned slim-to-none. Pretty amazing.

And can you imagine the dinner conversations? You might be thinking they all kick around some serious knowledge over pot roast and sweet potatoes, but I’d guess it’s more like if anyone brings up basketball, everyone gets quiet because they don’t want to give away trade secrets so they just have to move on to another topic. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’d guess there’s a very realistic chance that this basketball-infused family never talks about basketball, simply because their jobs prevent them from talking about basketball. I hope that is the case, because it sounds like the premise for a very new kind of sitcom.

Whatever the case, if you’re looking to break in to the NBA, a good place to start might be crashing that Connelly wedding in August. I hear there are going to be eight GMs in attendance, plus a whole bunch of scouts, whose very nature will keep them looking for the next big thing, which just might be you. Don’t forget a gift.

(via Ananth Pandian)

denver-fire-george-karl-ujiri

Huh? What? Really? From Adrian Wojnarowski:

The Denver Nuggets have fired coach George Karl, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

With one year left on his contract, Karl was pushing for a contract extension and ownership was unwilling to make the commitment. With a sense that Denver could be facing a year of acrimony with the 2012-’13 NBA Coach of the Year, CEO Josh Kroenke decided to part ways with Karl.

For Kroenke, this was a bold move for the franchise, but multiple sources said that Karl had been so unhappy about going into the final year of his contract without a new deal that things could’ve become untenable with him.

So, since April 6 of this year, the Nuggets have lost one of their best players to an ACL injury, a first round playoff series that they were favored to win, the reigning Executive of the Year and the reigning Coach of the Year. Pretty rough couple of months, especially coming on the heels of their most successful regular season since joining the NBA. Cruel summer.