New look Nuggets benefit from trade

With the Nuggets landing Andre Iguodala they may have found that player that can help them advance past the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

The Dwight Howard trade saw so many scenarios in the last 10 months, who knew what teams would end up being involved in a trade, if it were to happen. Well, when drama finally ended in Orlando, the Denver Nuggets turned out to be one of the winners of the deal. The trade involving the Lakers, 76ers, Nuggets, and Magic sent Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark to the Lakers. Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson to the Magic, Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, and the Magic receiving Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Nikola Vucevic, and Chrisian Eyenga.

The Nuggets have been a .500 team and have had numerous runs into the postseason but have always ran into those teams that have an elite player they can’t stop or contend with. Well with the addition of AI in Denver the future for this team is as bright as ever, with AI striving in a fast paced, run and gun offense. The style of play for the Nuggets is an up and down style and they have been one of the highest scoring teams in the league the last few years with PG Ty Lawson setting the tone. AI also is familiar with backup PG for the Nuggets Andre Miller from their playing days in Philadelphia. Read more…

Nuggets Faried’s looks to improve in his sophomore season

Kenneth Faried

When the Denver Nuggets drafted Kenneth Faried with the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 draft they knew they were getting a hard worker that has been undersized at his position his entire life. Faried is listed at 6’8 and numerous times is matched up against other teams power forward or sometimes center, but never backing down Faried is one of the most ferocious young rebounder’s in the game. Bouncing around like Dennis Rodman, battling like Ron Artest, and getting in the air like Barkley, Faried is one of the best rebounding big men in the game already.

Coming into the NBA Faried was known as one of the hardest workers that college basketball could remember and he continued that success at the next level. Being able to rebound with the best of them has made Faried a key part to the future of the Denver Nuggets who are a contender in the Western Conference. If Faried can come back his sophomore season and continue to what he started in his first year in the league this kid has a bright future. Pulling down 7.7 Rebounds per game in only 22.5 minutes a game are some good numbers for a young man in the NBA who was held back from a locked out season as well.

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Manning not 100 percent but still wowing teammates

Peyton Manning emphasized that he is not 100 percent, but he has his Denver Broncos teammates convinced that whatever percent he is physically, that that could be plenty good enough.

“I can’t emphasize enough that I still have rehab to do,” Manning told USA Today. “That’s still part of the process.”

Despite the on-going recovery process from the neck surgery that cost him all of last season with Indianapolis, Manning has impressed his new teammates in Denver, even ones who have been around the block a few times like veteran cornerback Champ Bailey. Bailey raved about Manning’s 35-yard TD toss to Demaryius Thomas in Tuesday’s workout.  Read More…

The Thunder would rather play the Lakers over Nuggets

Russell WestbrookTeams define themselves in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. Through tough road losses, injuries, and everything in between, the crucible of postseason basketball readily separates both contenders and pretenders. Put the Oklahoma City Thunder on the contender list above the frontcourt-less Miami Heat and the ever-so-volatile Los Angeles Lakers.

Sweeping a struggling, championship-defending Dallas Mavericks team under the rug sent a clear message to the entire NBA that the Oklahoma City Thunder intend on storming through the Western Conference bracket to claim what is theirs, the Larry O’Brien trophy.

The next round should be much stiffer for the Thunder and will offer either a tremendously balanced Denver Nuggets squad or an under the radar Lakers team, if such a thing can exist, that has developed an unquenchable thirst to prove themselves. The Thunder struggled to put away games against the well-rounded Nuggets this year, but always seemed to bring their A-game for the Purple and Gold.

With the regrettable circumstance of owning allegiance to the Northwest Division, the Nuggets are forced to devise a roster that can consistently equal the offense output and athleticism of the Thunder. The familiarity the Nuggets have with the Thunder aides Denver in preparing for the unique style of offense that has become commonplace in Oklahoma City. The Nuggets know how to chase three-time reigning scoring champ Kevin Durant around every feasible type of screen for forty-eight minutes and how to challenge Perkins or Ibaka in the paint on offense. On top of that, Denver Point Guard Ty Lawson can certainly keep up with Westbrook on both ends of the floor and still facilitate to his go-to scorers. Denver was designed to keep up with the Thunder, and if the two Northwest Division foes play each other in the next round, look for the series to go seven games.

Much like the Nugget’s design of tailoring their roster to more consistently beat select opponents, the Thunder were made to beat the Lakers. The Oklahoma City roster represents everything Los Angeles is not: solely defensive minded big-men, a high-scoring wing player, a point guard that shoots too much, and above all else, homogenous hyper athleticism throughout the roster. The Thunder can beat the Lakers by simply challenging Bynum and Gasol with Ibaka and Perkins, effectively bogging down the key and forcing Kobe into isolation situations. Quite simply, the Thunder only need a few things to go right to take the series, while a fragile Lakers team needs a bevy of variables and intangibles to go their way. The Thunder’s defensive game plan for the Lakers creates easy rebounds to feed Oklahoma’s invincible, lightning-fast open court system that features three scorerers who can always smell blood in the water- Westbrook, Durant, and Harden.

Head Coach Scott Brooks must certainly hope the Lakers can successfully grind out the Nuggets series, only to be neutralized by their polar opposite. He and Durant realize that the well-rounded Nuggets offer a much stiffer challenge to match his young Thunder team than old-man Kobe, that gangly Spanish guy, and the giant man baby named Andrew Bynum.

Eric Eulau is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at EEulau@TheSportsBlitz.com

To tank or not to tank: When winning just isn’t all that important

Kobe-vs-DenverI was watching Lakers-Nuggets Game Five the other night.  You remember that game in Los the Staples Center where Kobe Bryant scored 43, yet his team still couldn’t close out the series? All anyone in the bar could talk about was whether the Lakers wanted to close things out that night, or whether it was more conducive for them to drop a game, let the series go a game or two longer, thereby allowing for the return of the oft-suspended, former defensive player of the year and recurring troublemaker, Metta World Peace. Peace (that just sounds so silly) was suspended seven games for catching the back of James Harden’s head with an allegedly, inadvertent elbow.  Accordingly, Los Angeles has had to play their opening series against the Nuggets without him.  After a Game Six loss, the series has gone a full seven games. Read more here…