This feels like the Nuggets of pre-Carmelo Anthony days all over again. The head coach is a beaten man. The players are not playing well, not to mention they don’t want to be on the court together. The Nuggets are piling up losses each game. That’s been the story of this young season so far.
The Nuggets never thought they would go back to those days again. They knew they were okay enough to have a decent season. From watching them play seven games, it’s clear this team is a lottery team.
After winning the season opener against the Pistons at the Pepsi Center, the Nuggets have lost six straight after a 130-113 embarrassing loss to the Trail Blazers last night at the Pepsi Center.
Many questions have to be raised about this loss, especially in light of the Nuggets giving up 84 points in the first half and 130 points overall to a Blazers team that played Tuesday night against the Hornets. Most basketball teams lose 95% of the time when they play the second game of a back-to-back night. This was a troubling loss for the Nuggets.
The first question that has to be asked is whether or not Nuggets coach Brian Shaw lost his players. A performance like last night gets a coach fired. It’s one thing to lose with minimal talent, but it’s another thing to lose when the players are not putting in the effort. The Nuggets’ problem is the latter right now.
It’s no secret the team does not have many good players on the roster. Still, it can’t be too much to ask for these guys to act like professionals by playing defense, being active on the loose balls and grabbing rebounds. The Nuggets are not doing these things that win games. This does not require a skill to do so. It takes effort. That’s a reflection on Shaw that his players are not doing these things.
The second-year Nuggets head coach expressed his outrage on his players not playing well last night. He had an issue with the effort of his players. He did not take any questions from the local media after he made his opening statement.
What’s there to say after a loss like this one?
Shaw has to wonder if his players are listening to him or playing for him. That does not seem to be the case right now. Kenneth Faried, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov are not off to great starts. Arron Afflalo is not happy about his role and how the offense is run.
This isn’t the first time he had issues with his players. He and Andre Miller did not get along last year, and it got to the point where his point guard had to be banished from the team. Lawson was not happy about running a halfcourt offense last year. There were times Faried was unhappy about his playing time that his head coach was doling out.
This poor performance and poor effort will put the spotlight on Shaw. He better get his players to play for him or he could be fired before Thanksgiving or Christmas if it does not get better. He knows this as much as anyone.
It’s not his fault that his team stinks, but it’s his job to make sure these guys are trying. In a perfect world, the players would be traded, but it’s hard to do when no team wants any of the players from the Nuggets. That’s why coaches get fired with the hope a new coach can get his players going.
Here’s another question that has to be asked: How good are the players?
The Nuggets talk about depth. From this view, this team has too many warm bodies. They don’t have guys who can be difference makers. That’s a problem. They haven’t had one since Anthony orchestrated his departure to the Knicks.
Damian Lillard had 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting with 9 assists to show for it last night for the Blazers. He was able to move past his defenders in the paint, and he was able to hit from downtown. His strong start to the game set the tone early in the game for a tired Blazers team. That’s the type of game-changer the Nuggets need to win games.
They don’t have one. Sorry, but Lawson and Gallinari are unreliable. Shaw does not know what to expect out of them on a game-to-game basis. That can’t be a good situation for a head coach. Teams win when players are consistent enough.
This team has too many outside shooters. They have guys that are nothing more than bench players at best. It’s tough to win that way.
This is a flawed roster that is not good enough to make the playoffs in a tough conference. That’s why the Nuggets are what their record is.
It’s getting ugly already at 1000 Chopper Circle.
We all know this Nuggets team is not a playoff team. The only question about this season is whether or not Shaw last the entire season.
It’s not looking good for him. If he lost his players, it’s hard for him to win them back again. It won’t be long until Nuggets assistant coach Melvin Hunt becomes the head coach that gets his players on track.
If this slide continues all the way to February, the Nuggets will try to trade everyone as they can.
There are many questions about the Nuggets moving forward. One thing we know is they are not a playoff team.
Not even a new coach can make that happen.
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