The Denver Nuggets have finally gotten back on track after the All-Star Break, starting the second half of the season with a perfect 4-0 record.
- Ty Lawson Is The Nuggets MVP: People can argue that he is top-tier point guard or a superstar in the NBA, but all he really is the Most Valuable Player on the Nuggets squad (which isn’t a bad thing). Danilo Gallinari may be the team’s best player, but Lawson is by far the MVP. He was key to the Nuggets success last season after the Carmelo Anthony-trade and was a big factor in Denver’s fast start this season. However, he also deserves some criticism for the Nuggets struggles in February. When he isn’t being aggressive and is letting defenses take him out of the game or letting Andre Miller lead the offense the Nuggets usually lose. However, when he is attacking the basket, hitting jumpers and making defenses defend him they win. It is not a coincidence that the Nuggets are 4-0 since the All-Star Break and Lawson is averaging 19.5 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. He has a double-double in three of those victories and nearly had a triple-double in each one as well. Now the question is – can the third-year point guard continue his hot streak?
- Kenneth Faried Should Start: The best thing to come out of the Nuggets struggles in February was the development of Faried. The Manimal, as he is called, is arguably one of the best offensive rebounder in the league and has had double-doubles in three of the previous four games. Even when the Nuggets get completely healthy he shouldn’t just be on the floor – he should START. He has made a bigger impact then both Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov this season. Not only does he have more double-doubles then Koufos and Mozgov, but is also averaging more points then the duo as well.
- February Was A Brutal Month: It is hard not to ignore the Nuggets tough stretch last month. Not only were they playing short handed, they were playing the roughest part of the schedule. Thirteen of the 15 teams Denver faced had winning records. And only three times in February did the Nuggets have two or more days off and in those three games they did have rest they won.
- The Nuggets Are Not Trading Nene: While some fans believe that the emergence of Faried has made Nene replaceable. That is not the case. Nene was a big part of the Nuggets success earlier this season, he played a key role in the Nuggets wins over the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks and is the Nuggets best big man offensively. There was a reason why the Nuggets resigned Nene, he can score, share the ball and is versatile enough to switch on defense. Before injuries set in this season, Nene was putting up career numbers and helped the Nuggets start the season 15-7. While he is overpaid, the Nuggets aren’t in financial trouble and don’t need to rid themselves of his contract. They have room under the cap and still see Nene as a big piece on the team – just like they did last year. Lets not forget that before this season Nene was relatively injury-free, missing only 12 games in three seasons. So far this season he has missed 16. If he battles injuries each year then something needs to be done. As of now, the Nuggets can bee patient.
- Fans Are Fickle: Denver prides itself in its fans and they are a hard group to please. And even though nobody has expected the Nuggets to be anything close to 22-17, fans have not been easy on the Nuggets. There have been a few fans (and columnists) that have blamed George Karl for Denver’s struggles in February (ignoring the very difficult stretch and the injuries). They wanted the Nuggets to trade Arron Afflalo during his struggles earlier this season, taking shots at his defense and heart (one fan called him selfish and another said JR Smith tried harder). Now the wrath has turned to Nene, rightfully so because he is the $66-million man. The bottom line is sports is a ruthless business, and fans can, and will, change sides and opinions in a second depending on how a team is playing. But fans also need to realize that their indecisiveness has little impact on the franchises’s direction and that isn’t a bad thing.
Topics: Andre Miller, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets, George Karl, J.R. Smith, JR Smith, Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos, Miami Heat, Nene, Philadelphia 76ers, Timofey Mozgov, Ty Lawson