Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by Ryan Carbain Comments


Projected Record: 38-44 (10th in West)


Kenneth Faried

After shining for Team USA, Kenneth Faried looks to break out this season. (AP)

Head coach: Brian Shaw
Projected record: 38-44 (10th)
2013-14 record: 36-46
2013-14 ORtg: 103.3 (T-16th)
2013-14 DRtg: 105.4 (21st)
Players in: Arron Afflalo, Erick Green, Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic
Players out: Aaron Brooks, Evan Fournier, Anthony Randolph, Jan Vesely
Projected Starting Lineup: Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Javale McGee

Last year, the Denver Nuggets lost their star GM, fired the incumbent Coach of the Year, and then went to assemble one of the most disparate rosters in the NBA. For their efforts, the team dropped 21 games in the standings.

The team's top-five rated offense fell out of the top ten, and a surprisingly above-average defense – rated 11th in the league – fell to 21st. Injuries hurt: Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson, Javale McGee, and diminutive sixth man Nate Robinson missed roughly 200 games combined.

If you're a Nuggets fan, you're probably encouraged. Kenneth Faried, once a potential cut from the USA men's national basketball team, performed better in FIBA play than just about anyone not named Anthony Davis.

Better yet, the team expects to come to camp healthy.

The Nuggets took advantage of a penny-pinching Bulls franchise to swap the rights for their 12th pick, Doug McDermott, for two picks in on the deepest drafts in recent history, nabbing Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic and former MSU shooting guard Gary Harris. They then reunited with Arron Afflalo, only parting with struggling prospect Evan Fournier and the team’s 56th overall pick, well below Afflalo's market value.

But still, the team does not make sense.

Their draft picks lack a chance to grow. Afflalo joins a loaded wing position that includes the returning Gallinari, multi-talented Wilson Chandler, and sharpshooting Randy Foye – likely burying Gary Harris. Nurkic stands behind McGee and Timofey Mozgov, two bonafide shot blockers, on the depth chart.

At power forward, the similarly skilled Faried and J.J. Hickson expect to share time, except Faried delivers far more than Hickson, for a fraction of the price.

Nate Robinson offers scoring punch off the bench but sits on the depth chart as a backup point guard, a position where he remains derelict at the required duties.

A starting five of McGee, Faried, Gallinari, Afflalo and Lawson seems balanced. The bench, in particular the versatile Wilson Chandler, has some talent. But, even if healthy, do you think this roster can crack the top-10 in an ultra-competitive Western Conference? Me neither.

They won’t always be an easy win; particularly off back-to-backs and extended road trips. This is a team that can run you off the floor with Faried and Lawson able to wreak the most havoc. (The team ranked 2nd and 3rd in terms of pace the past two seasons.)

Faried and Hickson can also feast from time-to-time on the offensive boards while visiting teams struggle to take in the thin Rocky Mountain air.

The team can space the floor: Gallinari, Afflalo, Foye, Lawson and Robinson are all respected beyond the arc. It has legitimate rim protection: McGee and Mozgov are both They have multiple players who can lead the team scoring on any given night.

But that's the best-case scenario. The team lacks a big respected from 18 feet and out, players like McGee, Hickson and Robinson are notorious for uneven play, and certain bench units will struggle. Lest we forget, they play out West.

The Brooklyn Game projects this team to compete, but with scant chance at the playoffs, putting them at 38-44. The record may dip some of the team decides to sell off some of its more attractive contracts. Look for Chandler, Mozgov, Afflalo and Foye on the block near the trade deadline. But with this team, 38 wins seems about right.



The Nets had plenty to joke around about on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Nets had plenty to joke around about on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Here's a roundup of last night's Nets festivites:

What happened: The Nets thoroughly obliterated a Denver Nuggets team that is a shell of its healthy self, setting the tone early by going up 29-8 after the first quarter and never letting it get closer than 20 points in atypical Nets fashion. The Nets won the second game of a back-to-back on the road, one night after getting spanked by the Portland Trail Blazers without LaMarcus Aldridge and Thomas Robinson and indicating total embarrassment to reporters after the game.

You could tell Brooklyn's intensity was at its peak, and it was clear Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had no designs of losing this game. The Nets went on to pick up their first win in Denver since Jan. 2007.

Where they stand: The Nets are now 27-29, once again squarely facing that two-games-under-.500 plateau that has plagued them for the last few weeks. They're now 6th in the Eastern Conference, a half game ahead of Charlotte and two games behind Washington, which has won its last five including a triple-overtime thriller over Toronto Thursday.

The stats: The Nets somehow ended up shooting only 47.6 percent, but they held Denver to 37.5 percent and 6-of-22 from deep. The Nuggets had 30 made field goals and 24 turnovers. That race was close for most of the game.

Pierce led the Nets with 18 points. Everyone on the Nets' active roster scored. Yes, that includes Jason Collins, who had 3 points.

If I were a blowhard, I'd say the only important statistic is 1-0, the Nets' record in this game.

Fast breaking the Fast Breakers: 

Vintage Pierce: Pierce only had to play 22 minutes, but he was at his peak. He nailed threes from the top of the key and whirled into icy turnaround jumpers at the elbows. The Nets need this Pierce for the balance of the season in order to compete.

Joe Johnson still might not be healthy: Johnson sat out a game at the beginning of February as a result of knee tendinitis. The way he's moving and shooting, it appears to me that his knee is still barking at him. Johnson's not one to complain, and he never made an excuse last year when he bravely battled plantar fasciitis in the first-round series against the Bulls. But it might be best for the team if Johnson takes some time off now rather than soldiering through it. Given Kidd's hyper-conservative tendencies with injury and rest with the rest of his roster, I'm not sure why Johnson isn't getting the same opportunity to heal.

Kirilenko has been working on his granny shot:


I defy you to show me a more Kirilenko shot than that.

Shaun Livingston, doing things: He did things. Nothing worthy of a GIF or video. But he was there. Stuff got done by him. He finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and more than zero stuffs done.

The Alan Anderson/Marcus Thornton Experiment: Alan Anderson didn't play in the first three quarters of this game, and that was notable because he has played in every single game this season for the Nets. He's not shooting well (he's under 40 percent from the field this season and his three-point stroke has been ice cold in February). But I don't think his three-quarter DNP is necessarily a harbinger for things to come. This game was a good excuse to get Marcus Thornton some extended minutes and see what he could do with his new teammates. I doubt Kidd has made a decision either way as to which of them will get the bulk of the backup guard minutes down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs.

Andray Blatche wants nothing to do with your piggy-back rides:

Andray Blatche was really good in this game, though: This was a quintessential #TheBestOfBlatche game. Granted, he wasn't wildly inconsistent and unpredictable, but he did all the good Blatche stuff with none of the dumpster-fire Blatche stuff. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals in 18 minutes. And he drained a three from the wing.



Go back to Germany, Dirk. Your services are no longer required. Jason Collins got this.


Wilson Chandler, Andray Blatche

The Nuggets blew out the Nets in Brooklyn, 111-87. (AP)

With the Nets trailing by 24, out came the boo birds at home for the Nets. These weren't just one-time boos, they were multiple-time boos. It wasn't one loud, obnoxious fan, or one small section. These were the type of boos you'd hear at Philadelphia sporting event or even a New York Mets game. These were loud, consistent boos for a soon-to-be 5-13 Nets team with sky-high expectations.

It all started half a year ago.
... MORE →

Better Know: Denver Nuggets

Posted on: September 2nd, 2013 by Devin Kharpertian Comments


Today marks the beginning of a new series here at The Brooklyn Game, looking at the other 29 teams in the NBA and trying to figure out how they match up with your Brooklyn Nets. We'll be doing them in mostly random order. Today's installment of Better Know An Opponent focuses on the Denver Nuggets. Let's take a look.... MORE →


George Karl

George Karl accepting his Coach of the Year Award. (AP)

Denver Nuggets coach and reigning NBA Coach of the Year George Karl has been let go by the Denver Nuggets. Karl had one year remaining on his contract with Denver and was reportedly angling for an extension with the Nuggets, but the team didn't want to guarantee him that contract immediately, which could've led to a troublesome season between Karl and Denver's front office, notably team CEO Josh Kroenke.

Karl, 61, has coached the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Nuggets since 1984, compiling a regular season record of 1131-756. He has never won an NBA championship, losing once with the Supersonics to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in 1996.

Karl easily becomes the highest-profile coach available on the market, and while there's no indication that the Brooklyn Nets are interested in Karl as of yet, that could change soon.

There's also a possibility, as detailed by Marc Stein, of a "trade" between the Nuggets and Grizzlies, whereby the Grizzlies send Lionel Hollins to coach the Nuggets while the Nuggets send Karl back to Memphis. Weird? Sure. Possible? Definitely.

Topping Denver's list to replace Karl? Brian Shaw and Lionel Hollins, the two top candidates for the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers. With fewer good coaches than good coaching openings, buckle up.

Yahoo! Sports -- Source: Nuggets fire George Karl



The Game Starts Now... MORE →



Tonight: The 42-29 Brooklyn Nets, five games into their eight-game, 17-day road trip thanks to Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey taking over Barclays Center, take on the 49-24 Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The Nuggets have won 17 straight games at home and recently had a 15-game winning streak snapped. The Nets are 4-1 so far on the road trip, winning their past two games despite not having Joe Johnson -- albeit against inferior competition.

The BK Game Streak: Play "The BK Game Streak," where you can build a streak of wins along the betting line over the course of the season. Three prizes will be awarded at the end of the year, with first prize a $200 Amazon Gift Card. Log in with Facebook to get started, vote in the box above, and good luck!

Watch & Listen: Tonight's game is broadcast on YES Network. Ryan Ruocco and Jim Spanarkel are on the call. The game is also broadcast on ESPN. The game is radio simulcast on WFAN, and in Spanish on WADO.

Out: For Brooklyn, Joe Johnson is OUT for the third straight game as he rests his sore quad. Keith Bogans will again start in his place. The Nuggets are without point guard Ty Lawson, the team's offensive catalyst, and rely on the ageless Andre Miller to start in his place.

Starting Lineups:
Denver Nuggets: Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos (83 minutes, minutes, +/- +12.5 per 100 possessions)
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Keith Bogans, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez (60 minutes, +/- +22.9 per 100 possessions)

Advanced Statistics:
Denver Nuggets: 107.2 offensive rating (4th), 102.2 defensive rating (11th), 97.59 possessions per game (2nd)
Brooklyn Nets: 104.4 offensive rating (9th), 103.4 defensive rating (17th), 90.83 possessions per game (29th)

Go Nets!


 Brook Lopez, Kosta Koufos, Ty Lawson

Rap Game Brook Lopez Face. (AP)

The 42-29 Brooklyn Nets have already guaranteed a record over. 500 this season, a .500 record on this road trip, a spot in the playoffs, and a career month for Reggie Evans. The next challenge for them: a tough 49-24 Denver Nuggets team, one that recently won 15 games in a row and has an outstanding 32-3 record in Denver. The Nuggets will be without starting point guard and speed demon Ty Lawson, which will hurt their chances, but similarly the Nets' Joe Johnson is doubtful after missing two straight games with a quad contusion.

Joining us to talk about the Denver Nuggets is the incomparable Matt Moore, senior NBA Blogger for CBS Sports and editor emeritus of Hardwood Paroxysm. Matt is notorious for both knowing everything about the NBA and absolutely nothing at the same time, and we argue often, because he argues often with everyone. One of the best NBA-related follows in the world.

Along with his Nuggets expertise, Moore recently conducted an interview with Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, and he's given us a sneak peek of what to expect in the questions. Really outstanding.

And, as always: The BK Game Streak is up. Get to playin'.


Devin: The Nuggets and Nets are probably as different stylistically as any two teams in the NBA. How do the Nuggets function on offense/defense, and how do they match up with Brooklyn?

Moore: ... MORE →



The Game Starts Now... MORE →