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Old 11-08-2008, 10:03 PM   #301
Izulde
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Portland. Man, I -hate- this matchup. To the article.

"The Nuggets took another step towards reuniting with the Raptors in another Finals by dispatching the Supersonics in five games. The road gets rocky from here on out though, as the Trailblazers have an extensive history of getting the better of Denver in the regular season. The two have never met in the playoffs during GM Jestor's tenure. However, if the regular season record is anything to go by, the Nuggets are in trouble here.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Jerian McCrary

The Gama of old showed up in the first round, averaging 13 points, 10.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks. If Denver wants to keep going, they'll need the Spainard to keep his newly rediscovered form going.

McCrary may be better suited to SG, but so what? He averaged a team-high 22.2 points against the Grizzlies and is adequate enough to get the job done in the passing game with 6.5 assists and 2.2 blocks. At 6'6, 224 lbs, he's going to create matchup problems for Gama, particularly since he's a very nice all-around player with good shooting and scoring instincts and no real weaknesses.

Advantage: Trailblazers

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Sonny Boxler

Yeaton's another one who's found his old self, ripping Seattle for 21.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.2 blocks. He's focused, he's healthy and he's hungry to shut down the Boxler hype.

But that's going to be hard to do when Boxler's averaging 21.2 points, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks in the playoffs and when he averaged 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3 blocks and 1.1 steals in the regular season. He's undoubtedly this year's Marcelino Augusto, an explosive talent. One caveat: Despite his ability to make the highlight defensive play, he's still very, very raw on the fundamentals of defense on the NBA level and that's something Yeaton can cash in on. Particularly since Boxler's only 6'3, giving the Nuggets star the height advantage. Boxler's also got a small sprained wrist injury that could affect him slightly.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Luol Deng vs. Kevin Durant

Deng didn't make any highlight plays in the opening round; he simply played steady, consistent, quietly effective basketball in racking up 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds. That's the kind of balanced, consistent, unobtrusive play Denver needs out of the SF position and that's something they haven't had the last few years.

Part of Deng's job is going to be shutting Durant, who;s a firecracker in a loaded Trailblazer offense. This is the third time Kevin's been to the playoffs and each time his scoring average has gone down while his rebounding average has gone up. This postseason he's averaging 14.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals following a 20 point, 8.9 rebound, 1.4 steal regular season. Good rebounder, good defender, great shooter, smart and disciplined, there's a reason why he's a regular guest on the All-NBA teams.

Advantage: Traiblazers

Power Forward
Marcelino Augusto vs. LaMarcus Aldridge

People have a hard time believing Augusto's just 20 years old when he's putting up MVP-like numbers in the first round of 27 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.2 blocks and 1.2 steals against the Supersonics, but it's true. His defense and ballhandling are also rapidly improving and he's beginning to replace Yeaton as Denver's primary scoring option.

Aldrige is a good defender, great shotblocker and excellent rebounder, but his career's been a huge disappointment because he could never fully adjust to the NBA and become the kind of dominant player people hoped he might become. Instead, he's averaging a very quiet 9.2 points, 8.3 rebound and 1.7 blocks in the playoffs and looks every bit his 33 years. If Portland wants to advance, they should have him concentrate solely on shutting Augusto down.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
Victor Gipson vs. Marcus Honeycutt

Gipson's been one of the most pleasant surprises about Denver's season and he acquited himself well against heralded second year Scott Palmer in the opening round while averaging 8.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and a steal. He's a big boy, physically intimidating who won't back down like Tim Davis was notorious for doing last year.

Honeycutt's a curious case. Coveted by Jestor at times, the 28 year old is a phenomenal defender playing out of position at C. A natural SF, his 6'10, 224 lb body is too slender to go up against the likes of Gipson and he's going to have a very hard time matching his first round output of 14 points and 10.8 rebounds. Gipson isn't The Great Polish Sieve Narcyz Malinomowski after all.

Advantage: Nuggets

Bench

Rico Wolfe proved Jestor's shrewdness in picking up at the deadline from Toronto in scoring 9.4 points against Seattle. More importantly, his defensive skills will help contain the dynamite Portland offense that makes Seattle's look substandard in comparison. David Jackson is a versatile inside player who can spell the frontline well and he's averaging 5 points and 7.6 rebounds thus far in the playoffs. Emeka Okafor provides the interior defense and shotblocking.

Darrell James is a former 3 year starter at PG for the Sacramento Kings and he's been a capable backup around the league since then for the Pacers and now the Trailblazers. He's averaging 7.3 points and 4.7 assists in the playoffs. Charles Howard, this year's 7th overall pick whom Portland stole from the Washington Wizards for Waldemar Althusser is raw, but still averaging 7.1 postseason points and will be an All-Star by the time he's done developing. Sean Bergmann provides the inside muscle with 6.8 points and 6.2 playoff rebounds. However, he's bothered by a sore hamstring. A lot of good defenders on the Portland bench, but no shutdown defender like Okafor.

Advantage: Portland

Final Thoughts

Never once in their three year streak as West Conference champions have the Denver Nuggets met an opponent that matches up so well with them before the Finals. Portland has the offense, the defense and the depth to be able to beat the Nuggets and the gold rush ends here. The Trailblazers will ensure a new West Conference champion this series.
Prediction: Portland in 6

....Thanks for the confidence, guys. Yes I'm sweating out this series, but I still think we've got it in us to win.

Game One
This is what you call a statement game. Where one team gets really, really pissed off and blows the doors off the other team. Victor Gipson was the most impassioned, rattling Marcus Honeycutt for 25 points and 10 rebounds. Mateen Yeaton sneered in Sonny Boxler's face and scored 25 points, while Marcelino Augusto put up 18 points and 11 rebounds. David Jackson went on the hunt for his Best Damn 6th Man in the World title back and came up with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Rico Wolfe added 13 points off the bench. All the Trailblazers could do in the face of this Nuggets fury was 22 points from Kevin Durant, 14 bench points from Charles Howard, who I still can't believe the Trailblazers managed to get, and Joel Freeland's 11 bench rebounds. In short, a 34 point ass-kicking that told the Trailblazers they're going to have work their tails off if they want to steal our West Conference crown.
Final - Portland 90 Denver 124

Game Two
The Trailblazers get up off the mat in Game 2, Kevin Durant leading the surge with an impressive 22 points and 9 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Honeycutt double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds and 12 points and 13 rebounds respectively. But Mateen Yeaton and Marcelino Augusto step up with 23 points a piece, David Jackson pulls down 13 bench rebounds and Rico Wolfe continues to be our second team sparkplug with 15 points. A solid win to seize the 2-0 series lead. What's this about Portland winning in 6 again?
Final - Portland 83 Denver 94

Game Three
On we travel to Portland and I know the Trailblazers are in defensive mode now. They've been beaten soundly two games in a row and they need to at least split, if not outright sweep these next two contests if they want to stay alive in this series. Kevin Durant has his third straight super game in the series with 32 points, LaMarcus Aldridge double-doubles with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Marcus Honeycutt somehow scores 23 points. We just can't answer them, held to 36.6% shooting and our lone highlights are Zelipe Gama's 12 points and 12 assists and Rico Wolfe's 10 bench points. We're the ones to get blasted away this time and the series goes to 2-1.
Final - Denver 88 Portland 109

Game Four
This one's the most critical game of the series to this point. We win and the Traiblazers have their backs to the wall. Portland wins and we've got a whole new series on our hands. Zelipe Gama's been taking a lot of flak from the media about how he's virtually disappeared this postseason and this series in particular and so he gets his revenge here by scoring 26. Mateen Yeaton comes up with 19 points and 12 rebounds and Victor Gipson's right there with him, netting 17 points and 13 rebounds. Portland's only real counter is LaMarcus Aldridge's 19 points and 10 rebounds. Decent series so far by Aldridge, but when we're shooting 51.8% from the floor, teams simply can't stop us. We avenge the 21 point loss in Game with a 21 point win in this one and we're on the verge of going back to the West Conference finals at 3-1.
Final - Denver 100 Portland 79

Just one sweep in the second round and it's Detroit knocking out the upstart Knicks. I'm privately pleased to see New York still isn't back to the promised land and I secretly hope they never win a title as long as I'm in the league.

Game Five
Kevin Durant doesn't want the series to end here and he scores 22 points. Marcus Honeycutt plays a valuable second with 12 points and 16 rebounds and all five Trailblazer starters score in double digits. On our end, Marcelino Augusto scores 28 points and Zelipe Gama is still mad, pummeling Portland for 21 points and 10 assists. David Jackson grabs 10 bench rebounds. Yet, even these men were not the angriest Nugget of them all. For our star, the one who's been dogged by doubts from everywhere in the media; newspapers, television, the Internet, by naysayers all season long, saying that once the clock struck 30, he was done. Mateen Yeaton isn't done, not by a long shot and he emphatically makes that point in taking Player of the Game with 30 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. He's had an absolutely fantastic series and most dramatically and significantly, he absolutely schooled Sonny Boxler, holding the rookie phenom to 34.3% shooting and a 12.4 point per game average. By comparison, Yeaton averaged 22.6 points a game in the five game series. In short, it's a massacre and we triumphantly march back to the conference finals!! Take that, doubting media!!!
Final - Portland 96 Denver 118

Nobody else ends their series in five games, but the Raptors shake off the Magic in 6 games, moving the chains another notch forward in the march towards a fourth straight Raptors/Nuggets Finals. Even better, the Spurs refuse to lie down to a 3-1 Lakers lead and force a Game 7. Although the Purple and Gold finally prevailed in the decisive game, the fact that it took the Lakers so long to advance to the conference finals against us has to take its toll on their collective psyche. They also only get one day of rest.

And so, for the first time this playoffs, we'll be facing a familiar postseason foe.
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:32 PM   #302
JonInMiddleGA
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Meanwhile, you do realize this has got to be in the top 5 or so dynasty threads in the history of FOFC, right?

No pressure though
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:47 PM   #303
Izulde
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Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
Meanwhile, you do realize this has got to be in the top 5 or so dynasty threads in the history of FOFC, right?

No pressure though

Top 5 or so dynasty threads in FOFC history? Wow, that's really high praise considering how many great dynasties we've had here. Thanks. And no pressure, none at all.
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:18 PM   #304
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Golden Scribes need to be resurrected for this one.
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:47 AM   #305
Izulde
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Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
Golden Scribes need to be resurrected for this one.

Thanks. I've missed the Golden Scribes the last few years and wish they'd be brought back period.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:25 PM   #306
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Take that, doubting media!!!

Caffeinated Sports Weekly still doubts you!
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:08 PM   #307
Izulde
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Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
Caffeinated Sports Weekly still doubts you!

I'll run through the West Conference finals later tonight.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:51 AM   #308
Izulde
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The Lakers are a nasty matchup for us. I have no doubt we could've beaten the Spurs for the third year in a row, because I didn't see any improvements on San Antonio's squad that led me to believe there could be a different result. But, be that as it may, we've got the Lakers.

Let's see what the article says.

"For the third consecutive season, the two best teams face off in the West Conference finals. With all due respect to the 2 seed Sacramento Kings and the two-time defending Denver challenger San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers were clearly the second-best team in the conference all season long and one could argue they were the best during the early part of the year.

It promises to be an exciting matchup in both conference finals, three of the four teams directly marked by GM Jestor's dealings. The Nuggets are obvious, but two of Detroit's starters, Dan Jacobson and Phillip Gill, came to the Pistons as a result of a Jestor-initiated trade. Similarly, Lakers starting SF Austin Buller was dumped off on Los Angeles due to Jestor.

Is a fourth consecutive Toronto/Denver NBA Finals possible? Certainly. But the road is a formidable one for both the Raptors and the Nuggets. The Detroit Pistons have not lost a game this postseason and the Lakers are a quality opponent that has the talent needed to challenge Denver for conference supremacy.

The tale of the tape:

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Calvis Graham

Gama's been extremely erratic this playoffs and his postseason averages of 13.9 points, 9.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.5 steals are extremely misleading. The Spainard disappears for several games, then suddenly busts out with a 20+ point performance. Denver's offense runs much more smoothly when he concentrates on distributing the ball and acting as the floor general. That's something he hasn't been doing this year, neither during the regular season nor in the playoffs.

Graham was dynamite against the Timberwolves, but completely invisible against the Spurs, so like Gama, his postseason averages of 11.6 points, 9.2 assists and 1.4 steals is highly deceptive. He's nowhere near the shotblocker that Gama is, but he has good technical defensive skills, has similiar silky stealing skills and makes crisp, clean passes.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Kyle Hoiberg

Forget everything you learned from Yeaton's regular season struggles. The Nuggets superstar has on a mission this postseason, playing with the kind of passion and fire that carries a team to a title. As his playoff averages of 22.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals illustrate, he's determined to get a ring and bring the Nuggets the championship that have so tantalizingly eluded them since Jestor arrived in Denver.

Hoiberg's averaged over a 20 points a game every year he's been with the Lakers, both in the regular season and the playoffs. But despite that, he's earned a reputation as a potato-chip scorer in the mold of Ben Gordon. Tasty and delicious to watch rack up the points, but ultimately empty and unfulfilling and unable to lead a team to a championship. Some of this criticism may be unfair, because Laker Nation expects him to carry on the Kobe Bryant legacy and Hoiberg simply isn't Kobe. On the other hand, his defense is mediocre and he's going to get absolutely wrecked by the bigger, more talented Yeaton. Then again, the 20.4 points and 1.4 steals Hoiberg's averaging in the playoffs aren't to be dismissed so lightly either.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Luol Deng vs. Austin Buller

Deng wasn't able to contain Kevin Durant in the previous round, but he's still a very good defender who can give opposing SFs fits. He's had an extremely quiet postseason, averaging just 11.1 points and 4.6 rebounds, but that's perfectly fine with Denver's coaching staff. He doesn't take a lot of shots, which is a huge relief after the nightmares of past trigger-happy, inefficient Nuggets SFs like Ron McPherson and Ron Collier. Deng's not a good fit for some teams, but he complements Denver's system extremely well.

Buller's the second straight former Denver starting C to start at the three for the Lakers, following Tim Davis. Like Davis, Austin's a technically sound defender with good size, but poor rebounding and shot-blocking skills for a five. Both players also have the capability of producing points, but don't do so nearly as well inside because they play soft and are more finesse-oriented than anything else. In short, Buller, like Davis, is much more suited to the three, even given his awful ballhandling skills. For evidence of that, look no further than his 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in the playoffs and his 14 point regular season average, both of which are higher than anything he did in Denver or Chicago as a starting C.

Advantage: Lakers

Power Forward
Marcelino Augusto vs. Derrick Robinson

What a difference a year makes. Last postseason, Augusto had some nice games, but was inconsistent. This year, he's averaging a cool 23.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. The extra season of experience has really paid off as he's been a lot more consistent this playoffs and he, along with Yeaton, gives the Nuggets 2 players averaging more than 22 points a game in the postseason. That's a huge amount of offense and with one playing inside and one playing outside, opposing coaching staffs have their hands full trying to counter them.

Robinson's strongest attribute is his shotblocking. He's one of the best PFs in the game at it, as evidenced by his 2.9 rejections in both the regular season and the playoffs. Unfortunately, he's only an average offensive option, just an inch taller than Augusto and is leaner than the muscular Brazilian star. He's averaging 10.6 points, 7 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.9 rejections, but he's also a very weak defender. That weakness is bad news for Showtime fans, because it paves the way for Augusto to have another brilliant series.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
Victor Gipson vs. Andrew Bynum

The rookie Gipson just might be the most underrated center in the postseason. We've heard it again and again from the Nuggets organization, both the coaching staff and the front office that Gipson plays with a toughness and intensity that the more celebrated Tim Davis never did. He's averaging 10.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and a steal in his first playoffs, which is impressive for a rookie that wasn't even a Top 10 pick. He's big (7'2, 303 lbs) and as we've indicated, tough.

There's some who say the 32 year old Bynum is done as an elite-level center in this league. That may be true, but he's still averaging 17 points, 10+ rebounds and over 2.5 blocks, both in the regular season and the playoffs (17.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 2.5 blocks this postseason). He's also got the size to match up with Gipson at 7', 285 lbs. Bynum can fill up the stats sheet with points, rebounds and fantastic defensive plays as well as silently shut down opposing centers. This is the series where he shows he can still bring it in a big way and reveals Gipson for the rookie he is.

Advantage: Lakers

Bench

Rico Wolfe continues to impress and be the sparkplug off the Nuggets' bench with 9.5 points, along with solid perimeter defense. He's eager to go up against his old team, the Raptors, in the Finals and he's doing everything he can to make sure it happens. David Jackson is an excellent all-around reserve who struggles as a starter, but feasts on the weaker players of opposing benches, averaging 6.4 points and 8.5 rebounds in the playoffs. Louis Mertens may be a black hole on defense, but he's averaging 3.1 points and 3 assists in just 10 minutes a game. Excellent, excellent passer. Greybeard team captain Emeka Okafor provides the interior defensive muscle.

Richard Jefferson is 38 years old, but he's still an adequate scoring answer to Wolfe with 8.6 playoff point average. Lavell Ledbetter matches Jackson with 5.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and better defense than the self-proclaimed Best Damn 6th Man. The problem is they don't have a good perimeter defender like Wolfe and while Mackel Greenleaf somewhat approaches Mertens's ball-handling brilliance and can defend better than the young Belgian, the Lakers don't have a true reserve floor general they can turn to.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts

While the two teams come close to being evenly matched in terms of talent, Yeaton and Augusto have much more favorable matchups than Hoiberg and Bynum. The Nuggets also have a deeper, slightly more talented bench. And perhaps the clincher: Denver's gone through two 5 game series, whereas the Lakers have had to put in the full 7 games in both rounds to get this far. Los Angeles is going to be exhausted from all that basketball in so short a timespan. The longer this series goes, the worse it is for the Lakers. In the end, the Nuggets' freshness will get them the victory.
Prediction: Nuggets in 7

I hope that comes true. Even better would be a shorter series where we win.

Game One
The Lakers actually come out fired up, taking a 29-26 lead after the 1st quarter, but then the weariness kicks in and we blow them off the court the rest of the way. Great game by Kyle Hoiberg with 30 points. Calvis Graham also netted 12 points and 13 assists for the Lakers, while Richard Jefferson looked 28, not 38, in scoring 23 points off the bench. Rico Wolfe matched Jefferson nearly point for point, scoring 21 as a reserve, one of three Nuggets on the night with 20+ points. The others were Luol Deng with 21 and Mateen Yeaton with 26. Zelipe Gama got 11 points and 10 assists, while David Jackson grabbed 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. At the end of the night, a solid 24 point victory and first blood in the series.
Final - L.A. Lakers 98 Denver 122

Game Two
This game was a lot closer, as I thought it'd be. Andrew Bynum was terrific with 18 points and 19 rebounds and Kyle Hoiberg continues to channel Kobe Bryant with 28 points. We counter with 26 points from Mateen Yeaton, 13 points and 13 rebounds from Victor Gipson, 11 points and 14 assists from Zelipe Gama and 10 bench points from David Jackson. Good fight by the Lakers, but they run out of steam in the second half and we take this one going away for the 2-0 series lead.
Final - L.A. Lakers 93 Denver 101

Game Three
With a day's rest and a shift to their home court, I know the Lakers are going to come out energized as they can for these next two games and it's a very real possibility they could even things up over this night and next. And sure enough, the Purple and Gold have 3 20+ point scorers in this game, just like we did in Game 1. Andrew Bynum leads the way with 24 points and 15 rebounds and Kyle Hoiberg and Austin Buller score 20 points a piece. Calvis Graham distributes 10 points and 10 assists, Richard Jefferson scores 12 off the bench and Lavell Ledbetter pulls down 10 bench rebounds. All five of our starters scored at least 15 points, with the exception of Victor Gipson, who had 10, but our high scorer was Marcelino Augusto with 18 points. That wasn't going to do it tonight and our lead shrinks to 2-1 as we were beat soundly.
Final - Denver 97 L.A. Lakers 109

Game Four
We've been in this same situation the last two series, up 2-1 and pointing to this game as a crossroads. We've won the last two times, but pulling off the feat this time is going to be a lot more difficult. Winning has a way of killing exhaustion, no matter how tired your body is and this is, after all, the Lakers. But no matter how much you believe in the philosophy of mind over matter, sometimes there's just no wringing anything more out. You're just not physically capable of it. So while Kyle Hoiberg finds the energy to score 26 points, we lead box-to-wire and win all 4 quarters, running the Lakers ragged. It's been a surprisingly quiet series for Marcelino Augusto, but he breaks out here for 34 points and 10 rebounds. Mateen Yeaton pours in 24 points and Rico Wolfe adds the icing with 13 points. We leave the Lakers beaten, dazed and drained on their own homecourt, holding them to just 80 points on 35.6% shooting. It all adds up to a 33 point win and a commanding 3-1 series lead. Showtime weeps for its lost glory.
Final - Denver 113 L.A. Lakers 80

I send the Raptors an e-mail of congratulations as Toronto puts the lie to the Pistons' unbeaten playoff run and kicks them out with a sweep. One half of the fourth straight Raptors/Nuggets Final has been met. Now it's up to us to do our part.

Game Five
The last time the Lakers got a day off in this series, they beat us fair and square. But that was in Los Angeles. Now it's in Denver before a screaming, high-intensity, pro-Nuggets crowd that's waving large "Bring on the Raptors!" signs. What follows is one of the most personally satisfying games I've seen. Andrew Bynum plays valiantly, willing himself to 20 points and 13 rebounds, but just two Lakers break double-digit points and the other one (Austin Buller), scored the minimum 10. On our end, we shared the wealth with a balanced offense led by Mateen Yeaton's 21 points and Rico Wolfe's 14 bench points. We win by 40 points, holding the Lakers to an embarassing, collegiate-level 65 points on 33.3% shooting. Showtime.is.dead!!!
Final - L.A. Lakers 65 Denver 105

Raptors/Nuggets Round 4 is confirmed!!!

BRING ON THE RAPTORS!!!!!!
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:56 AM   #309
cubboyroy1826
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Congrats maybe the 4th time is a charm.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:15 AM   #310
RedHawk00
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Jim Kelly is rooting for...

The Raptors!
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:17 AM   #311
Coffee Warlord
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Caffeinated Sports Weekly, by Coffee Warlord

Maybe if we keep doubting the Nuggets they'll finally buck the trend and get the elephant off their back? As potent as their starting 5 is, I don't have a lot of faith in their ragtag bench, and an off night by one of the main guys is all it'll take for Toronto to stomp 'em yet again.

Go Nuggets.
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:20 AM   #312
rjolley
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Good luck, Izlude. Here's to you not becoming the future day Marv Levy and Ralph Wilson.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:34 PM   #313
Izulde
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cubboyroy1826: Thanks. I'm certainly hoping so.

RedHawk00:

Coffee Warlord: Interesting analysis, but I'll still take the combination of Rico Wolfe and David Jackson over any other two bench players in the NBA right now.

rjolley: Thanks. It's going to be tough, just as every Raptors/Nuggets final has been so far. But maybe this is the year.
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:34 AM   #314
Izulde
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"All the life-potentialities that we never managed to bring to adult realization, those other portions of ourself, are there; for such golden seeds do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could be dredged up into the light of day, we should experience a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life."
-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

The quote's on my mind as I pace the small balcony outside my bedroom door high up in the Rockies, slowly smoking. In my dark moods, in my melancholic periods of doubt, tobacco and Joseph Campbell are great comforts.

A copy of the day's Denver Post, the Sports section more specifically, sprawls carelessly atop the plastic green table shoved in the corner. There's thankfully no wind on this late May evening or it'd be lost to the winds, gone forever.

I suppose I'm a 40 year old dinosaur. In this age where most people read their news online and tangible books are dying a slow death to the steady enroachment of e-readers the past 15 to 20 years, I still hold to the solid, the texture of hard copy. There's something comfortable in the full-bodied form of newspapers and books that no electronic, cyber-transmission can replicate.

But my breed, too, is dying. After all, this isn't 1919, when the world is recovering from the ironically-named Great War. It's 2019 and we're 10 years removed from the Nuggets' championship, a crown claimed shortly before I came here to Denver.

We've lost three straight championship series to the Raptors and are in peril of replicating the 1990s NFL Buffalo Bills, who lost four consecutive Super Bowls. Our shame would be all the greater for having lost to the same team all four years.

Hence the need for clove smoke and Campbell. The former to relax me, the latter to remind me that even if we fail here, our title dreams do not die, but still reside, quietly waiting for the time until they -can- be realized.

But perhaps I'm being too pessimistic here. After all, the Finals have not yet been played out and the Post does not fully discount us.

I scan the article again as I have all the stories every year.

"The two titans of the NBA meet again for the fourth straight year for the championship and this annual Raptors/Nuggets clash is beginning to approach the legendary status of the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers' rivalry of nearly a hundred years ago. Denver's in danger of replicating the Buffalo Bills' feat of four straight championship losses, but they still have a chance to topple the three-time defending champion Raptors. It will not be an easy task, but GM Jestor appears to have put the pieces in place to make this the closest Finals between these two teams since 2015, when they went the full seven games, the Nuggets losing the deciding game in Denver.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Justin Richler

Nuggets head coach Jim O'Brien instructed Gama before the West Conference finals to focus more on passing the ball and go back to his old play style. Gama did just that and the Nuggets looked spectacular in ousting the Lakers in five games. He's averaging 12.8 points, 9.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks and if he can continue to follow the mantra of running and executing the offense, Denver's chances of winning increase significantly. One caveat: Gama's been a non-factor the last three Finals and that has to end here for the Nuggets to avoid another defeat.

Unfortunately, he won't have the luxury of facing eric Kostov after the Bulgarian broke his arm against the Pistons. Instead, it'll be another Finals of facing off against Richler, who has looked brilliant in the postseason, averaging 22.1 points, 4.7 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.1 blocks. Richler's not a natural PG, but he lit up the Nuggets last year and the native Canadian superstar looks poised to do exactly the same thing this season.

Advantage: Raptors

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Dale Stukes

Yeaton showed absolutely no signs of slowing down against the Lakers and is averaging 22.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.5 steals this postseason. He's been healthy the entire playoffs and looks the sharpest he ever has, shooting 48.2% from the field and an astonishing 52.4% from 3 point range.

Even better for the Nuggets' prospects, he matches up against Stukes, a 29 year old former 2nd round pick (3rd pick in the 2nd round by the Nets in 2012), who despite having some offensive pop, averaging 11.8 points a game as the Houston Rockets' starting SG last season, is completely overmatched here. He's just 6'2 and a mediocre defender, precisely the sort of opponent Yeaton feasts on for big points. The Raptors -really- miss Rico Wolfe here, who had the height, size and skill to contain the Nuggets star last year.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Luol Deng vs. David Anyan

Deng just keeps motoring along this postseason for his quiet 12.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals. He shut down Austin Buller in the conference finals, making amends for his failure to limit Kevin Durant in the second round.

But he's got another Herculean task here in going up against Anyan, who's been the MVP of the Raptors in the playoffs this season with 25.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks a game. Anyan's also a fantastic defender and it's a pity for Sam Mitchell and the rest of the coaching staff that he can't play SG, because he'd be an extremely effective glove on Yeaton. As is, Denver's going to have an extraordinarily difficult time trying to shut down the combination of Richler and Anyan.

Advantage: Raptors

Power Forward
Marcelino Augusto vs. Chris Bosh

While Augustino's been the answer to Anyan this postseason, averaging 22.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks, the 20 year old Brazilian still has the memory of last year's Finals, where he was completely neutralized by the Raptors. Toronto made the smart move of sicing Greg Oden on Augusto and there's a good chance they could use the same strategy again.

Bosh may be getting up there in years at 34, but he's still a very good defender and a force to be reckoned with in all facets of the game, with postseason averages of 17.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals. That said, if they keep him on Augusto, the younger, more athletic, more physical Denver star will certainly have the edge.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
Victor Gipson vs. Greg Oden

Gipson, although a rookie, is one of the two biggest X-factors this year for Denver. One of the reason why the Raptors was able to shift Oden on to Augusto last season was because Tim Davis was notoriously soft inside and Toronto could take advantage by setting Bosh at the five and Oden at the four. That same strategy, while possibly utilized again for this Finals, could backfire, because Gipson has built even in his first season a reputation for hard-nosed, physical play on the low blocks. He's averaging 10.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 rejections in the playoffs and shows absolutely no fear, not even against Andrew Bynum in the conference finals.

Oden's role continues to remain the same. Score some points if he can, but focus on his fantastic rebounding and defense. The size matchup here is going to be a fascinating one to watch, as Gipson's 7'2, 303 lbs and Oden's 7', 250 lbs. That 2 inches and 53 pounds could make a difference here, even given Oden's superlative talents and 11.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.9 blocks in the playoffs. Clearly, though, the quality edge lies with Toronto.

Advantage: Raptors

Bench

Rico Wolfe is the other major X-factor for the Nuggets. He hounded Yeaton in last year's Finals as the Raptors' starting SG. This season he's the first guard off the bench, scoring in bunches and playing extremely solid defense for Denver. In a recent interview, he said that he doesn't care about the Raptors' 3 straight championships, because he was only here for the last one and that, furthermore, a ring with Denver in destroying Toronto's stranglehold on the championship trophy would mean a lot more to him. That motivation and his 9.7 playoff points are something for the Raptors to fear. David Jackson's 6.7 points and 8.1 rebounds will also be difficult to contend with. This also could be team captain Emeka Okafor's last season, which adds even more intangibles to the advantage of the Nuggets.

34 year old Andrea Bargnani's defense took a real hit this year as he just doesn't have the foot speed anymore to keep pace with younger, quicker opponents. That said, he's still a very efficient scoring and rebounding 6th man, with 6.5 points and 3 rebounds in just 15 minutes a game. On the other hand, 38 year old Pau Gasol is a shell of his former self, particularly on the defensive end and there's nobody else on the Raptors bench who deserves any notice.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts

This is the best the Nuggets have looked against the Raptors on paper in any of their Finals meetings. Furthermore, Denver's playing with a huge chip on its shoulder, angered over media and sports fans doubts of their toughness and ability to win after early season struggles under Scott Skiles. Skiles's midseason axing and Jim O'Brien's hiring, along with Jestor's shrewd steal of Wolfe from the Raptors for raw, mediocre rookie prospect Jon Freeman and a 2nd round pick really rejuvenated Denver's season. But be that as it may, even with all those factors in the Nuggets' advantage, we just can't see them beating Toronto's superior frontline or the all-critical Raptors homecourt advantage.
Prediction: Toronto in 7

Well, it's better than they usually give us, so maybe, just maybe.... there's a chance, however fleeting. This is our chance to be heroes. Can we banish our monsters of the past? I'd like to think so, but only time and the games will tell.

Game One
Things kick off grimly for us in Toronto as Chris Bosh bulldozes his way to 21 points and 14 rebounds and Greg Oden is deadly with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. The sellout crowd is convinced their Raptors are on the way to a fourth straight title. Our bench makes its best effort, Louis Mertens surprising everyone as the Belgian leads with 11 points and our reserves outscore their Raptor counterparts 22-9. It's still looking bleak, though... until a hero arises. Mateen Yeaton displays another legendary performance with 35 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocks, stunning the hostile crowd and carrying us to a sensational Game 1 upset!!!!. I scream myself hoarse with joy in the skybox and celebrate with other members of the front office. Yes, it's only one game, but we've drawn first blood! In Toronto!!! Suddenly, Hope is real!
Final - Denver 101 Toronto 86

Game Two
David Anyan and Justin Richler were furious about being contained in Game 1 and they get revenge, feeding off the home audience's energy on their way to 29 points and 9 rebounds and 21 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists respectively. Greg Oden does his part as well with 19 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks. The Raptors concentrate on Mateen Yeaton, daring the rest of the Nuggets to beat them. Although Rico Wolfe put on a sensational showing of 22 points off the bench, that was all the offense we could really muster and the Raptors emphatically even the series in a bigger stomping than even the sizeable score differential suggests.
Final - Denver 81 Toronto 109

Game Three
Back home in Denver. I'm hoping we still have some confidence left from Game 1 to take back the series lead with the help of our fans. Justin Richler and David Anyan are hell-bent on that not happening, Richler erupting for 27 points, Anyan adding 20. Chris Bosh bangs his way to 12 points and 13 rebounds and Greg Oden plays effectively with 9 points, 19 rebounds and 6 blocks. Luol Deng matches Anyan with 24 points, Victor Gipson throws down the gauntlet against Oden with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks, but it was magical Mateen Yeaton coming through again, marvelously scoring 38 points to secure us an answering 20 point victory and the crucial 2-1 series lead.
Final - Toronto 92 Denver 112

Game Four
This could be the game that determines this year's NBA champions. Win here and we've got a huge momentum 3-1 series lead and one more game in Denver to finally win the trophy. Lose and we'll have to grind out at least one more victory in Canada. My heart's pounding in my chest all game long as Justin Richler scores 27 and Greg Oden continues his absolutely astounding hot Finals play with 17 points and 15 rebounds. The Raptors have replaced Dale Stukes at SG with Gabe Rosen, who's taller and a better defender to try and contain You Know Who. Our bench comes through for us again with 12 points from Louis Mertens and 11 rebounds from David Jackson, but all of our starting five struggles all night long and it appears we're headed to an evened series. All of our starting five, that is, except Mateen Yeaton, who is the hero of every legend, every song and every saga, dazzling everyone with 33 points and 11 rebounds as he carries us to a nailbiting, thrilling 3-point victory and the 3-1 series lead!!!!!!!!!!!!
Final - Toronto 92 Denver 95

Game Five
Oh what sweet justice, what marvelous poetry it would be to win the title at long last, here in Denver, home of so many magnificient performances by Mateen Yeaton, including the timeless ones we've seen so far this series. But I know this isn't Hollywood or some cliched sports movie. This is the Raptors, who are fighting mad, determined to drag us back to their den in Toronto and extend this series. I can barely watch as Greg Oden powers to 15 points and 14 rebounds and Andrea Bargnani wakes up for the first time this Finals for 15 bench points. Our valiant bench warriors David Jackson and Rico Wolfe combine for 10 and 11 points respectively, but our chances with victory lie solely with our champion, our bravest knight and Mateen Yeaton caps off his stellar, epic postseason with 28 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks and the confetti drops and the people scream, "YEA-TON YEA-TON YEA-TON!" as we win!!! At long last, THE DENVER NUGGETS ARE YOUR NBA CHAMPIONS!!! MATEEN YEATON NBA FINALS MVP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Final - Toronto 88 Denver 119

I rush out of the box and run down the steps, tripping and nearly falling in my hurry to get on the court. A group of deliriously happy Denver fans help me and an equally ecstatic security guard escorts me onto the floor.

Mateen Yeaton's got a fierce look on his face, but tears of joy are streaming, the same happy tears on my face as I run over and give our 6'8 shooting guard, our star a huge bear hug.

"I always wanted you on our team", I whisper in his ear, "And I'm damned glad I did."

"This is the happiest night of my life. Thank you, Mr. Jestor. Thank you!"

"Just come back to Denver. Whatever terms you want. We'll find a way to make it happen."

I let go and we walk together where a jubiliantly dancing Emeka Okafor is holding up the trophy and head coach Jim O'Brien is all smiles.

"We did it!" they shout in unison and I can't help smiling myself as I touch the gleaming, silver ball atop the trophy.

"Yes we did!"

Denver Nuggets. NBA Champions.

Here is our vivid renewal of life.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:34 AM   #315
BreizhManu
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Finally, congrats
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:04 AM   #316
law90026
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Huge grats! It's about time (great dynasty btw).
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:28 AM   #317
Coffee Warlord
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Yay!
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:42 AM   #318
Autumn
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Fantastic! I thought it would take Yeaton stepping into that sort of MVP role to finally get you over the top, and he did it.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:46 AM   #319
cubboyroy1826
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Way to go boss.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:13 PM   #320
Izulde
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BreizhManu: Thanks. It's a great feeling.

law90026: Thank you! On both counts.

Coffee Warlord: Yay indeed. I wonder what CSW has to say now.

Autumn: Yeah, that was one of the most awesome parts about this championship, that it was Yeaton who led us there. It's even sweeter considering there were some readers on both forums who thought I gave up too much in the trade to get him.

cubboyroy1826: Thanks. It really made my night, let me tell you.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:18 PM   #321
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Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Marv Levy shed a single tear each...

Great Job Bro!
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:15 PM   #322
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHawk00 View Post
Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Marv Levy shed a single tear each...

Great Job Bro!

Thanks. What an amazing postseason it was, especially the Finals!
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:44 PM   #323
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Constructing a Champion: How GM Jestor Did It

The recent championship parade for the World Champion Denver Nuggets exceeded even the paegentry and excitement of the Denver Broncos' NFL title celebrations. And with good reason. Not only is Mateen Yeaton the Mile High City's basketball answer to John Elway, but GM Jestor has acquired the celebrity and popularity that few front office men attain. Then there's Emeka Okafor, the greying veteran and team captain who finally won a championship in the last year of his contract and Jim O'Brien, the midseason head coach hire who won his first ring and showed he's still worthy of consideration as one of the NBA's best.

But all of these elements would not be possible if it weren't for Jestor himself, who arrived in 2010, two years removed from the Nuggets' 1st NBA title. He started the franchise's transformation with bang, dealing Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks and raising fears in Denver that he would blow up the team as he did in New York as the Raffle GM.

And indeed, Jestor did wholly make over the team. Twice, in fact, in the years that followed. His methods were unorthodox, but the results can not be argued with, for the Denver Nuggets have won 9 straight Northwest division titles and appeared in four straight NBA Finals, all during Jestor's tenure. That kind of divisional success begins to approach the level of baseball's Atlanta Braves, who won 14 consecutive division titles from 1991-2005.

And yet, despite all those triumphs, the Nuggets, like the Braves, struggled to win that elusive ring. Every time they got to the Finals - 5 times in those 9 years, the Toronto Raptors awaited them. 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, all went to the Raptors. And then finally, this year, in 2018, as we all know, Jestor and his team finally slew the Great Northern Dynasty and banished the past nightmares.

How did Jestor finally do it? Most want to say it started in the 2013 offseason with the biggest trade in history, but it actually began early in the 2012 season with this trade:

Quote:
Denver Nuggets receive
PF Emeka Okafor

Charlotte Bobcats receive
SF Caron Butler
2013 Washington Wizards 2nd round pick
2014 Washington Wizards 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Okafor has been on GM Jestor's radar for quite some time and was almost traded to the Nuggets last year when they landed Mehmet Okur instead. Emeka is a huge defensive and rebounding presence that will probably start at PF and see Okur shift to SF. He'll be a critical piece as Denver tries to counter the frontcourt strength of teams like the Lakers and Rockets.

What this means for the Bobcats
Charlotte really needs more scoring offense if they're going to have a hope of winning the East conference crown again any time soon and Butler can give them that. After a game or two as the 6th man to adjust to the new team, much like Okafor in Denver, Caron likely slots in as the starting SG, where he'd be a signicant upgrade over Josh Smith. They also get likely high 2nd round picks for the next two drafts which gives them more tickets to try and find a gem.

Advantage: Draw
Both teams got something they needed out of this one, while giving something in return. It's a little surprising to see GM Jestor trade Butler, his fellow Racinian, but reports out of Denver suggest the Nuggets front office was frustrated with Butler's inconsistency.

Okafor was signed to a lengthy contract extension immediately after the trade and he became Denver's starting PF for the next 5 and 1/2 seasons before graciously moving to the bench the last two years. He provided the Nuggets toughness, defense and rebounding inside, something Denver hadn't had since Marcus Camby left the team. More importantly, he became the team captain and the Nuggets' spiritual leader, the extremely popular and well-respected veteran who held the players together.

Ironically enough, Butler, who is also from Jestor's hometown of Racine and attended Park High School with the Nuggets GM, signed with Denver this season and now has a ring along with his old classmate.

-Then- came the 2013 offseason, but the first trade that contributed to this championship wasn't the blockbuster. It was this deal:

Quote:
Denver Nuggets receive
PG Kirk Hinrich
SG Willie Green
Atlanta Hawks 2013 1st round pick (#18)

Atlanta Hawks receive
SF Al Thornton
PG Leigh Nash
Denver Nuggets 2013 1st round pick (#24)

What this means for the Nuggets
Hinrich has a horrible contract through his age 36 season, but that doesn't matter. He's a pass-first PG with some scoring punch and good defensive skills who instantly turns into Denver's 6th man. They haven't had this kind of luxury on the bench since Chauncey Billups. Green's on the books for $3.6 million a year for the next 4 years and is roster filler, but the Nuggets just moved up 6 places in the first round.

What this means for the Hawks
Let's face it, Atlanta, their surprise run to the 2nd round and taking the Celtics to 7 games last seaon aside, aren't going to be title contenders any time soon, which played a big role in Hinrich's demanding a trade. Thornton may be $9 million a year for the next 4 years and a bench player, but the Hawks still shed on average $3 million a year the next four seasons thanks to dumping both Hinrich and Green. Nash is an end of the bench player and a min-sal expiring contract.

Advantage: Denver
GM Jestor is in Win Now mode and the pressure to deliver a title has only been heightened by the recent change in ownership and Larry Brown's hiring. Giving them a safety net at the guard spots goes a long, long way to filling that aim. Besides, who plays PG for the Hawks now?

Although Hinrich started just one season at PG for the Nuggets, he's been an invaluable bench reserve for the last five seasons, capably distributing the ball, providing some scoring and playing solid defense, even at 37 years old. He almost didn't stay with team, however, as Jestor entertained numerous possiblities of trading him through his Denver years.

-Then- came the big one, the draft day trade that changed the face and fates of two franchises.

Quote:
Denver Nuggets receive
SF Patrick Pastner
SG Mateen Yeaton
C Phillip Gill
PG Marcus Williams

Indiana Pacers receive
PF Joakim Noah
PF Leroy Wright
SG Ben Gordon
PG Paulinho Buboltz
Denver Nuggets 2013 1st round pick (#18)

What this means for the Nuggets
GM Jestor has long coveted Yeaton and it's not hard to see why. He's 25, a two-time All-Star who just made the All-NBA 2nd Team last season and he gives Denver major size at the SG spot for the first time since Jestor's arrival at 6'8, 207 lbs. He's extremely polished and the Nuggets believe he can be the new AI. Pastner has quietly developed into a consistent, solid starting SF and at 24, he helps make Denver a lot younger in the starting lineup. Most importantly, he forces Mike Miller to the 6th man spot, where he'll be much more effective. Gill is raw, but has some very nice potential. Under the Great Teacher Larry Brown, he'll develop a lot more quickly than he would've under George Karl. Williams is a pass-first PG with good shooting talents, though he lacks the killer instinct.

What this means for the Pacers
The Pacers have pined for Buboltz in the same way that Jestor craved Yeaton and, together with Gordon, suddenly Indiana has a fearsome 3-guard set in Buboltz, Gordon and Tony Parker, a trio reminiscent of the Buboltz-Gordon-Chauncey Billups grouping in Denver a couple seasons ago. Gordon is a good replacement for Yeaton's offense and in Buboltz, Indiana sees a future franchise player and one of the best PGs in the NBA, if not the best. High opinions, but valid, given Paulinho's steady improvement in his three years in the league and the fact that he's still just 21 years old. Noah provides defensive punch that the Pacers lacked and tenatively slots in as the starting SF. Wright fell out of favor after a solid rookie season, but he's proven a capable starting C before and for the heretofore big-man-starved Pacers, he could be just what they're looking for at the five.

Advantage: Draw
This is a major shakeup for both teams and it's too early yet to tell who will come out on top. Buboltz and Yeaton are both in the final year of their rookie contracts with no extension signed, something that may have played a factor in the trade.

The end result of that deal concerning Yeaton is well-known, but what some may not know is that Jestor wanted Yeaton ever since his rookie season, so much so that he actually went out and bought the phenom's Indiana Pacers jersey. He dreamt of the day he could have Yeaton on his team and on this day in 2013, it happened.

What's fascinating to note is that all four of the players Indiana received have stayed with the Pacers for the last five seasons. In that time, Indiana rose to serious East conference contender and collapsed to one of the NBA's worst teams this season, quite the marked difference from Denver's sustained dominance.

At the time, the trade received strong criticism from Nuggets fans, who loved Buboltz and Gordon and angrily wrote and called in to media publications, Internet podcasts, blogs and radio shows, saying that Jestor had given up far too much for Yeaton and he'd ruined the Nuggets' title chances.

Lindsey Williamson, who flip-flopped between the bench and the inactive list on this year's team, but still a member, was drafted 27th overall in the 2014 draft. Although he never developed like the Nuggets hoped, his defense and shotblocking have been a welcome addition to the reserves.

Another starter arrived in an early 2015 season blockbuster trade, one that also brought last season's playoff scapegoat:

Quote:
Denver Nuggets receive
C Tim Davis
PG Zelipe Gama
SF Antwan Jamison

Detroit Pistons receive
C Dan Jacobson
C Phillip Gill
PG Shaun Livingston
C Eddy Curry

What this means for the Nuggets
GM Jestor strikes again, cutting off a major blockbuster with the defending champion Detroit Pistons after the Nuggets poor play infuriated him. Davis has the best inside shot in the game and is averaging 20 points so far. He's got exceptional defense, great ballhandling skills for a C and is working on developing his rebounding game. He's also an extremely hard-working fan favorite, especially after breaking out in last year's championship run. He'll take Jacobson's place in the rotation. Gama is as gifted a passer as Brandon Brooks and he'll start at the point while Brooks recovers from a nagging arm injury. It'll be interesting to see how the 24 year old Spainard reacts to the increased playing time he'll get in Denver, as he hasn't been a full-time starter since 2012 with the Spurs. Jamison is a $6.5, $7 mill dead weight for the next two seasons. Phillip Gill's departure also means that Jestor's wishes will be fulfilled and Ron McPherson becomes Denver's new starting SF.

What this means for the Pistons
Jacobson may not have the offensive firepower that Davis does, but he's a far, far better rebounder, something Detroit needed. Davis's point total can be more than made up for by Curry, who still brings terrific offensive game and becomes the new starting PF in addition to his lovely $9.9 million expiring contract. Gill, whose potential everyone still swears by, slides in as the starting SF. Livingston's an end of the bench player.

Advantage: Detroit
The Pistons shed a bad contract and pick up three brand-new starters, all of whom combined are an upgrade over what they had previously. Jestor's desparation really cost him here and it may have handed Detroit the keys to the first repeat champion since the Raffle GM entered the league.

Gama was given the keys to the PG spot because of Brooks's injury, as noted, and he's never lost it since, earning an All-Star appearance in 2015 and an All-NBA 2nd Team nod in 2016. He was a miraculous story in his own right, but just as quickly as his star rose and he was considered one of the league's top PGs, so has it just as swiftly fallen, fallen to the point that he's been the incessant target of trade rumors. What Jestor's plans are, no one knows.

Davis looked like the C of the future, but then he got a well-deserved reputation for soft play inside and after being widely cited as the reason for Denver's loss in last year's Finals, he was dealt from the Nuggets for the second time.

Then came the 2016 draft and a move up by Jestor in one of the weakest classes in NBA history:

Quote:
Denver Nuggets receive
Atlanta Hawks 2016 1st round pick (#6 overall)
PG Javaris Crittenton

Atlanta Hawks receive
Denver Nuggets 2016 1st round pick (#21 overall)
Denver Nuggets 2016 2nd round pick (#34 overall)
Utah Jazz 2018 1st round pick
SG Willie Green

What this means for the Nuggets
The oft-traveled Crittenton, famed for his ball-handling skills, is back in Denver, much to GM Jestor's delight. His return means the Nuggets can renounce Brandon Brooks and allow him to go in free agency. Denver also gets the opportunity to draft a player they really like with this pick.

What this means for the Hawks
Atlanta's not going to be a major player anytime soon, so by acquiring the extra picks, particularly the 2018 1st rounder of the Jazz, allows them to find some more young pieces to go with what they already have. Green's an expiring contract next year of $3.6 million, a nice bonus as the Hawks try and build cap room.

Advantage: Draw
A lot of it depends on what that 2018 1st round pick turns into. Denver acquires a player they covet in the draft, but the higher slot and Crittenton's larger salary mean the Nuggets are going to be facing considerable cap trouble this year.

With this pick, Denver took David Jackson, a cocky, loudmouthed senior from Utah whose gone on to become a fan favorite and the self-proclaimed World's Best Damn 6th Man after a not altogether successful year as the Nuggets' starting C. He's thrived in that role and done much to live up to his self-selected nickname, including his excellent play off the bench in this year's championship run.

Then the 2017 lottery came, where the Nuggets held the Hornets' pick following an earlier trade a few years before. Luck smiled on Denver as they won the top pick in the draft. Jestor was tempted to trade away the 1st overall selection and only impassioned pleas from then-head coach Larry Brown convinced him to finally take Marcelino Augusto, who had a brilliant rookie campaign last year and won Rookie of the Year at 19 and who this year, at 20, became an All-Star and one of the league's top PFs as Denver's first or second scoring option most nights. Augusto's been the subject of trade rumor after trade rumor and we've heard reports that he was almost dealt to the Dallas Maverick for Jonte Jones. Fortunately for Denver's fans, he's stayed with the Nuggets.

The 2018 offseason brought in two more starters, as well as a good portion of Denver's bench. It all started with this trade:

Quote:
Denver Nuggets receive
SF Luol Deng
SF Lannce Dudley
Milwaukee Bucks 2018 1st round pick (#22 overall)

Milwaukee Bucks receive
C Tim Davis
PF Ron Collier
Denver Nuggets 2018 2nd round pick (#31 overall)

What this means for the Nuggets
Deng provides good defense, rebounding skills, scoring punch and a veteran influence on a team that's still pretty young. He'll step in immediately as the starting SF. Even better for the Nuggets' financial situation, the 33 year old is only signed for this season and next, greatly enhancing their future salary cap flexibility. Dudley, who does spell his first name with two Ns, was taken 17th overall out of Duke by the Bucks in 2014 and the 27 year old showed tantalizing flashes of potential last season. Terrific quiet defender who has some ability to pour in points. Secure with the ball, too. Can't pass, rebound or make the highlight defensive play, though. Also signed to an absurdly long, if modestly priced, contract. The 1st rounder is ammunition in case GM Jestor wants to move up.

What this means for the Bucks
Milwaukee's taking a page from the Lakers and are starting Davis at SF, where he should be an explosive offensive presence and his notorious softness on defense should firm up against the much smaller opponents. He's also the heir apparent to Andrew Bogut at C. Collier moves to a probable 6th or 7th man role, where he's a huge upgrade over Charlie Villaneuva as a reserve in all aspects except rebounding.

Winner: Milwaukee
While L. Deng and L. Dudley should provide better defense, more toughness and more consistency than Davis and Collier did, Denver's going to sorely miss the scoring punch inside and the protection for Marcelino Augusto. David Jackson isn't ready to be the starting C and it's questionable as to if he ever will be. Meanwhile, the Bucks get huge upgrades in size and depth and only have to move down 9 spots in the draft to do so. That's a steal of a deal for Milwaukee and makes them the winners.

Deng proved a great all-around pickup this year and played solid defense throughout the playoffs, including better than expected shadowing of David Anyan in the Finals. Dudley never reported to the Nuggets because Denver refused to let him play PG, so instead he was cut. The cap hit will hurt the Nuggets for several seasons to come, but Jestor has the ability to work around it.

In the 2018 draft, there was a specific player Jestor wanted and, much as he did with Jackson in 2016, he traded up to get him, pulling off an incredible three-way trade to do it.

Quote:
Denver Nuggets receive
Atlanta Hawks 2018 1st round pick (#25 overall)
Atlanta Hawks 2018 2nd round pick (#38 overall)

Atlanta Hawks receive
Denver Nuggets 2018 1st round pick (#22 overall)

Denver Nuggets receive
Indiana Pacers 2018 1st round pick (#11 overall)

Indiana Pacers receive
Denver Nuggets 2018 1st round pick (#13 overall)
Atlanta Hawks 2018 2nd round pick (#38 overall)

What this means for the Nuggets
GM Jestor pairs two trades together to snatch up the player he's been eyeing all draft long, who wasn't going to make it past the Pacers. He also retains a second first round selection and will come out of this draft with two more players.

What this means for the Hawks
Giving up the 8th overall pick in the 2nd round might be a bit steep to pay to move up 3 spots, but Atlanta evidently sees a player it really wants to get in that range.

What this means for the Pacers
Indiana's interior is an absolute wreck, so it doesn't really matter if they pick up a PF or a C. There should still be a decent big man available just two spots later and by picking up a fairly high second rounder in the bargain, they can try their luck at finding a diamond in the rough big man.

Winner: Denver
Jestor knew the player he wanted and found a way to make it happen without giving up that second first round pick. Brilliant work.

With that 11th pick, Jestor took Victor Gipson, who beat out Jackson for the starting C spot in camp and has played extremely well in his rookie season, including the playoffs. Most significantly, he played with the kind of intensity and ferocity the Nuggets had been missing at C since at least the Dan Jacobson days, perhaps even further back.

Free agency brought a host of role players, including the return of Steven Caspers, a quietly valuable reserve and the more heralded signing of 21 year old Belgian Louis Mertens, who despite having tantalizing promise was never given much of an opportunity with the Sonics, who drafted him 9th overall in 2016. Instead, he joined Denver on a 2 year min-sal deal and showed great potential and flashes of ability, growing in production as the season and playoffs worn on, particularly as a passer and occasional point-scorer. Tony Parker arrived via a minor trade that sent Brent Short and a 2nd round pick to the Bobcats, but his greatest value came in his veteran leadership.

The Nuggets struggled for the first half of the season as new head Scott Skiles, hired after legendary Larry Brown retired, lost control of the team with a clashing demeanor and an ill-fitting system. He was fired at the end of January, following Denver's seventh loss in eight games. Jim O'Brien got the job and his more up-tempo offense re-ignited the Nuggets, bringing the team back to winning form all the way to the title, O'Brien's first as a head coach.

The final piece of the puzzle fell into place a few weeks after O'Brien's hiring and it's the trade that Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo admits to now regretting:

Quote:
Denver Nuggets receive
SG Rico Wolfe

Toronto Raptors receive
PG Jon Freeman
Charlotte Bobcats 2021 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Word out of the Colorado Timberjacks, Denver's D-League affiliate, was that Freeman, while an incredibly intelligent player, simply doesn't have the talent to be a legitimate NBA player. This made him expendable in the eyes of the Denver organization and so he's spun into Wolfe, a good all-around player who famously shut down Mateen Yeaton in last year's NBA Finals. He represents a massive defensive upgrade for the Nuggets bench, something Denver lacked at the guard spots.

What this means for the Raptors
Justin Richler moves to his natural position of SG and Toronto gives 23 year old Bulgarian eric Kostov of the little e a spin at PG. We like Gabe Rosen a lot better to start at point for the Raptors, but Sam Mitchell and his staff apparently don't feel the same. While having Richler at his original position will help improve the three-time defending champions, should the Nuggets and Raptors meet in the Finals for the fourth year in a row, Toronto suddenly doesn't have the big guard body (Wolfe's 6'8, 190 lbs) or the defensive prowess to limit Yeaton. Freeman's averaging 11.7 points and 6.6 assists in the D-League, but the Raptors are calling him up to give him a trial with the big club.

Winner: Denver
The Nuggets needed to improve their bench defense at guard and they do it by picking up Wolfe while giving up a player they lost hope for. More importantly, they just acquired a major weapon, one with knowledge of the Raptors' schemes and a key component to Toronto's title last year. The Zelipe Gama rumors can also be laid to rest for now.

Wolfe proved the perfect fit as the Nuggets' first guard off the bench and more critically for the Raptors, they lost the tall, good defender who so determinedly and successfully limited Yeaton in last year's Finals. This opened the door for Jestor's most loved player to have the miracle Finals he did this year, winning the Finals MVP and the long-quested for trophy and ring.
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:38 AM   #324
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VICTORY!!!
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:47 AM   #325
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Yeah, but can you repeat?


Congrats.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:31 PM   #326
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Neon_Chaos: Victory indeed.

JonInMiddleGA: An excellent question, one I'll be addressing in next post. And thanks.
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Old 11-13-2008, 02:13 PM   #327
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Dreaming of Dynasty: What Now For Nuggets?

The delerium of joy gripping the city of Denver in the wake of the Nuggets' first championship in a decade is now receding to a calm sense of happiness and questions are cropping up as to if the team can repeat and what they need to do to accomplish the feat.

What will the Nuggets do with the team's expiring contracts?

Mateen Yeaton, whose court embrace with GM Jestor was captured on camera and headlined every national media outlet as the iconic image of this Nuggets championship, will return. Jestor has repeatedly said that re-signing the Finals MVP is Priority #1. Our guess is that Yeaton signs the kind of lengthy deal that should see the rest of his career in a Nuggets uniform.

Priority 1A for the Nuggets will be returning Rico Wolfe, who energized the bench and played the perfect scorer and defender as the primary backup at guard after being acquired from the Raptors at the trade deadline.

The rest of the expiring contracts are all old players who no doubt are contemplating retirement. If none of them decide to retire, however, Emeka Okafor will be re-signed, most likely on a min-sal deal. The rest probably won't be back, particularly not Kirk Hinrich, who complained about reduced minutes this season.

How is the Zelipe Gama situation going to be resolved?
Gama, who was one of the best feel-good stories of 2015 and 2016, his first two years with the Nuggets, really started to drop the last two seasons, especially in the playoffs, where he's become inconsistent and a non-factor in four straight Finals.

But the Spainard's also one of the team's most popular players, both on the team and with the fans, he's still a very good PG and he comes at a cap-friendly, controlled-cost $5 million a year for the next 4 years contract. Our guess is that Jestor shops him around but will fail to find anything that he likes and keep Gama in the end.

Is there any truth to the rumors that Marcelino Augusto will be traded?
If Augusto played SF, then no, there would be no truth at all to the rumors. But because the Brazilian is a 6'9, 217 lb PF and hence, undersized for the four, there's a distinct possibility he could be dealt.

It seem ludicrous to many that a 20 year old who's an excellent all-around player and who averaged 19.7 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in just his second season would be traded, especially such a fan favorite. But Augusto appeared to tire somewhat as the postseason wore on and was limited to a 12.2 point, 6.4 rebound average in the Finals and that was against Chris Bosh, who isn't that much bigger.

On the other hand, the former #1 overall pick shot an impressive 48.9% from the floor during the regular season this year and an even more pleasing 50.2% in the postseason. That's the kind of accuracy Jestor loves from his players and is a major point for Augusto staying in Denver.

Like Gama, we believe Jestor will put feelers out to see what he can get. Unlike Gama, there's a fair chance the GM could find a package he likes and pull the trigger.

What are Denver's main areas of weakness that need to be addressed in the offseason?

Assuming the following events take place: Yeaton and Wolfe are re-signed and Augusto and Gama don't move anywhere, the following two major needs crop up.

1. An heir to Luol Deng at SF.
As much as we love David Jackson's productivity off the bench, he really loses his effectiveness when he's shifted to a starting role. As matters currently stand, if Deng declines sooner than expected, Jackson's the first in line to take over at SF.

2. Find new veteran leadership if Okafor retires
Okafor's really been the soul of this team and while Yeaton took great strides into taking on a more active leadership role this season, he's not entirely comfortable taking on that mantle. Deng isn't well-liked enough to provide it. Gama is a possibility to become the team captain, but only if it's guaranteed he isn't going to be traded. That's not something we see happening, so right now, it's Yeaton or bust.

Of course, if Gama and/or Augusto are traded, then this can change significantly. But for right now, it appears as though the majority of the pieces are in place for another championship run.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:56 AM   #328
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Join Date: Sep 2004
NBA Lottery
1. Houston Rockets (+4)
2. Indiana Pacers
3. New Orleans Hornets (-2)
4. L.A. Clippers (-1)
5. Phoenix Suns (-1)
6. Golden State Warriors
7. Charlotte Bobcats
8. Dallas Mavericks
9. Miami Heat
10. New Jersey Nets
11. Utah Jazz
12. Washington Wizards
13. Philadelphia 76ers
14. Boston Celtics

Michael Redd and Caron Butler took their rings as end of bench/inactive Nuggets and retired into the sunset. Redd joined Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand in the Hall of Fame.

When I received an e-mail from the commish requesting that I retire Michael Redd's jersey, I instantly replied with my refusal, only to find it hanging from the rafters when I arrived at the arena.

I then did some investigating around the league and discovered that while Elton and Kobe had their jersey numbers properly retired with the Clippers and the Lakers respectively, Dirk's retired jersey was hanging in Sacramento rather than in Dallas.

The sheer idiocy of this led me to successfully force a re-evaluation of retired jerseys. Redd's jersey was retired in Milwaukee, Dirk's in Dallas. The Kings and of course we, the Nuggets, unretired the respective numbers we'd accidentally retired.

A rather dull lottery all in all. The most interesting thing is that the Houston Rockets win the lottery and the #1 pick for the second straight year in another upset. Maybe they'll draft yet another SF. Because I mean really, this isn't enough SFs drafted #1 overall on the same team:

SF Georghios Kairis - #1 overall - 2011 Draft (New York Knicks) FA - 2013
SF Mark White - #1 overall - 2014 Draft (Houston Rockets)
SF Will Baron - #1 overall - 2018 Draft (Houston Rockets)

I mean we're talking Detroit Lions and WRs in the late 1990s/early 2000s territory here. Interestingly enough, White has the passing skills to play PG as well, so it's conceivably we could someday see all three #1 SF draft picks in the Rockets starting lineup. Hey, maybe they can draft a SF with top overall pick this draft who can play PF or C and then they'd be on their way to 4 of 5 starters whose native position is SF.

2018 NBA Awards

MVP
Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers - 17.5 PPG 12.9 RPG 4.1 APG 2.9 BPG 1.0 SPG
Defensive Player of the Year
Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors - 13.4 PPG 16.1 RPG 4.2 APG 2.9 BPG 0.8 SPG
Rookie of the Year
Victor Gipson - Denver Nuggets - 10.5 PPG 9.3 RPG 1.9 APG 2.5 BPG 0.6 SPG

6th Man of the Year
Mike Patterson - Dallas Mavericks - 12.4 PPG 5.5 RPG 1.8 APG 0.9 BPG 0.7 SPG
Coach of the Year
Sam Mitchell - Toronto Raptors

Beautiful upset victory by Gipson over Sonny Boxler for Rookie of the Year, but as one sportswriter pointed out, "Gipson was the unsung difference between the Nuggets losing last year and winning this year and the great banisher of the Tim Davis spectre."

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Kenny Graham - Detroit Pistons
SG LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
SF Kevin Durant - Portland Trailblazers
PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Major Drayton - Minnesota Timberwolves
SG Justin Richler - Toronto Raptors
SF Georghiois Kairis - Houston Rockets
PF Henry Fisher - Utah Jazz
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG Paulinho Buboltz - Indiana Pacers
SG Jerian McCrary - Portland Trailblazers
SF Andrew Soloman - New Jersey Nets
PF Dwight Howard - Orlando Magic
C Narcyz Malinomowski - Memphis Grizzlies

McCrary over Yeaton?! Are you effing kidding me?! What bull.

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Leland Peterson - Washington Wizards
SG Sonny Boxler - Portland Trailblazers
SF Rudy Gay - Memphis Grizzlies
PF Dwight Howard - Orlando Magic
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Derrick Sterett - New Jersey Nets
SG Charles Seegars - Chicago Bulls
SF Jeremy Lemons - Orlando Magic
PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG Cedric Caldwell - Miami Heat
SG Sonny Boxler - Portland Trailblazers
SF Will Baron - Houston Rockets
PF Andy Sola - Cleveland Cavaliers
C Victor Gipson - Denver Nuggets

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Andre Moore - Chicago Bulls
SG Jermaine Butler - Boston Celtics
SF Shane Holliway - Phoenix Suns
PF Tim Butler - New Orleans Hornets
C Valery Frahm - Golden State Warriors

B.B. Dyer and I go through our annual deep playoff run $15 million max spiel. I think we can manage it, despite the fact that we're currently $25 million over the cap with only 8 players signed. Recall $10 million of that is Emeka Okafor by himself and if we can get Mateen Yeaton and Rico Wolfe back cheaper than expected, I think we'll be sitting fine.

I do some preliminary shopping of Marcelino Augusto and while everyone is extremely interested in him, there's only a few teams that I have much of an interest in making a deal with after discussions. Much of it, of course, is going to depend upon on how this draft class looks.

I also do the same for Zelipe Gama, but frankly, at this point in time, I'm not impressed with what I can get back. That could well change, pending the draft class and what I do with Augusto, but right now, it's looking as though our Spanish citizen will stay in Denver.

Coach Hiring

1st assistant Patrick Ewing gets a 3 year contract extension as he's in the last year of his contract and I was really happy with him, both in his earlier stint in Denver and in this one.

We need 2nd and 3rd assistants though.

Head Coach Contracts
Scott Skiles - New Orleans Hornets
Jeff Bzdelik - Phoenix Suns
Rudy Tomjanovich - Indiana Pacers
Isiah Thomas - Golden State Warriors (Welcome to continued suckitude)
Nate McMillan - Los Angeles Clippers

Larry Riley returns to our staff as the 3rd assistant and fallen former GM and NBA great Kevin McHale arrives as the 2nd assistant.

Mock Draft
This class is looking something similiar to last year's, a lot of raw talent that could be great someday. 19 year old Bosnian SG Filip Mikulic is projected by most to go #1, but I personally really like Michigan State freshman PG Corey Westbrooks, who's slated to slip to 14th to the Celtics in a lot of mocks, but who I initially see as a top 3 pick. 20 year old Polish PF Oliwjer Rosiak intrigues the hell out of me as well, currently tabbed to go 6th to Golden State. Mikulic isn't a SF, but it's yet another swingman the Rockets would have. Personally, if I'm Houston, if my initial impressions hold out, I'd take Westbrooks and give myself the PG of now and the future.

We hold the 19th pick in the draft and we're projected to take Michigan State freshman SF Curtis Wilkerson, who I'm not impressed with at all. If we keep the pick and they drop, I'm a little interested in two University of Pittsburgh players: junior SF Brian Brown and freshman C Marcus McKie, who really projects as a SF/PF in my eyes. 19 year old Spanish C Micholau Asprilla is another around the area who raises my curiosity and I foresee him as more of a C. There's also Duke senior PG Carlton Goree. I'm also attracted to 22 year old Bulgarian PF Tzvetan Kishishev, who for some reason is listed in some mocks as a 2nd rounder, whereas I see him as at least a mid 1st rounder, possibly a late lottery pick.

A lot of the coming moves are going to depend on our scouting reports and how the draft shakes out. Zelipe Gama and Marcelino Augusto currently wear powder blue, but by the end of the draft or by the start of the season, they could be donning a whole new uniform.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:23 PM   #329
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Our enthusiasm for most of the top guys we were looking at plummeted after we brought them in for workouts. So much so in fact that our wishlist is now down to 3 players and I think we'll be able to come out of this draft with at least one of them, possibly more.

2019 NBA Draft 1st Round
1. SG Filip Mikulic - Houston Rockets
2. PG Keith Attaway - Indiana Pacers

This probably spells the end of Ben Gordon in Indiana. My guess is they'll have Attaway play SG and keep Paulinho Buboltz at the point. Stupid pick by the Pacers if you ask me, because they need major help on their frontline and they're drafting a guard.

3. SF Vinston Henry - New Orleans Hornets
4. PG Kueth Hill - Los Angeles Clippers
5. C Marcus McKie - Phoenix Suns

A real stunner by the Suns here. No way in hell McKie deserves to be a top 5 pick. Late lottery, sure. Top 5, no. Silly moves like this are why Phoenix has become one of the league's worst teams year in and year out after being one of the best when I first came in back in 2007.

6. PF Jeremy Bellairs - Golden State Warriors
7. PF Oliwjer Rosiak - Charlotte Bobcats
8. SF Devone Allen - Dallas Mavericks
9. SF Steven Feaster - Miami Heat
10. SG Walter Hicks - New Jersey Nets
11. SG Kenny Magloire - Utah Jazz
12. SF Orlando Montero - Washington Wizards
13. PG Corey Westbrooks - Philadelphia 76ers

That shattering sound you just heard was the collective hearts of Celtics fans breaking everywhere. For a brief, tantalizing moment, it looked as though Westbrooks was going to fall to Boston, but the 76ers pulled the smart move and snatched him up. Although Westbrooks has intangibles issues, which is why I didn't make a play for him, he's a terrific high-risk, high-reward pick at this stage in the draft. He was one of our 3 players and if he'd lasted past the C's, I would've made inquiries.

14. PG Jon Costello - Boston Celtics

So Boston needs a PG and what do they do? Take the guy who averaged not even 4 assists for Texas last year. Talk about overreaching, especially since one of our other 2 players was still sitting there for the taking.

15. SG Jason Neal - San Antonio Spurs
16. SF Brian Brown - Seattle Supersonics

Bizzare pick considering they already have Brooks Smith, but hey, whatever. At least it wasn't a player I had on my radar.

17. C Brandon Edmond - Minnesota Timberwolves

The player I really want most is still on the board and there's one more pick to go. I'm tempted to trade up to make sure I get him, but there's also a C who's been hanging around for umpteen picks now and who should've gone off. The Cavs have a need at the five, so they'll probably take him.

18. SG David Chambers - Cleveland Cavaliers

Wow, boneheaded pick by the Cavs here. Not an area of need at all and the guy flatout sucks. But it opens it up for us to take whoever we want and on top of it, that C, Charlie Joseph, is still sitting out there. Then again, Joseph is 6'9, 264 lbs, so really more of a PF than a C. We didn't scout him and based on the information I -do- have available, while he'd be a good value pick at this stage of the draft, there's a player I like better who has great intangibles.

19. PF Tzvetan Kishhishhev - Denver Nuggets

The pick's met with a lukewarm reception, though I'm pleased to see the analysts confirm our information on the Bulgarian's work ethic. J.P. Gorski speculates aloud how this might affect the Marcelino Augusto situation, but there's really no threat here. Tzvetan gives us more of a scoring big man off the bench and an apparently wicked defender, a nice change of pace from David Jackson, whose more of an all-around guy with great rebounding skills.

20. SF Curtis Wilkerson - Atlanta Hawks
21. C Charlie Joseph - Portland Trailblazers

The Trailblazers get what could be the steal of the draft here. He's still too small for my liking, but when you're picking in the 20s and you get a player of this calibre, no matter how undersized, you've got yourself some serious value.

22. PF Calvis Hatter - Memphis Grizzlies
23. C Leo Sinville - Orlando Magic

The other player I really liked is still available and I'm strongly tempted to move up to get him. But I don't think we have the ammunition to do it.

24. PF Dylan Clark - Chicago Bulls
25. SF Louis McNeish - Milwaukee Bucks
26. PF Anthony Reeves - Detroit Pistons
27. PG Carlton Goree - Sacramento Kings

And there he goes. To be honest, Goree isn't ever going to be a top-flight PG in the passing game, but I think he has the ability to be a borderline starter and a strong reserve. Excellent, excellent steal by the Kings here, reminiscent of Justin Barnes.

28. PG Jeremy Andersen - New York Knicks
29. C Micholau Asprilla - Los Angeles Lakers
30. SF Andrea Paige - Toronto Raptors

Immediate post-draft impressions of Tzvetan Kishishev are lukewarm and looking at Carlton Goree in comparison, I should've gone with the Duke guard over the Bulgarian, but that's okay. I think we'll be all right, especially since we still have Louis Mertens.

I renounce our rights on Tony Parker and Kirk Hinrich, but leave our rights on Emeka Okafor, Mateen Yeaton and Rico Wolfe intact. Okafor will come back cheap, which will drastically reduce the now $23.3 million cap excess and I'm pretty sure Yeaton will return for less than $26.3 million a year.

Summer League

Denver Nuggets Assignees
PG Louis Mertens
PF Tzvetan Kishishhev
C David Jackson
C Victor Gipson

Louis Mertens looks terrific against Dallas with 23 points and 10 assists as we pummel the Mavericks 112-99 to open Summer League play. David Jackson dominates as well with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Victor Gipson gets 16 points and 14 rebounds and reserve Andre Songaila scores 13.

Victor Gipson absolutely crushes Golden State for 32 points, 14 rebounds, an assist, 8 blocks and a steal in our 108-88 romp. Tzvetan Kishishev looks extremely sharp as the 6th man, scoring 18 points and pulling down 7 boards. I'm not sure why he's not starting at PF, but so be it. Louis Mertens double-doubles with 12 points and 11 assists.

Gritty game against the Hawks, but we grind out a 92-74 win on Charles Arnold's 23 points and 10 bench points from Tzevtan Kishishev. I'm a little surprised Arnold's even a free agent. He's extremely raw, but I think he has potential to be a very good player.

It's our first loss of the summer league, but the 115-111 game against the Bulls was called by many watchers the most exciting game of the session. David Jackson put up 23 points and 14 rebounds, Victor Gipson had 10 points and 12 rebounds, Louis Mertens scored 22 points and Tzevtan Kishishev and Gary Burditt scored 16 and 10 bench points respectively.

We close out the summer games with a 116-94 smashing of the Celtics, highlighted by Victor Gipson's 28 points and 12 rebounds. Louis Mertens dished out 11 points and 15 assists, while Andre Songaila scored 12 off the bench.

I'm extremely pleased with how we did in the summer league and I'm very excited about how good all of the true Nuggets looked. It gives me a good feeling about our chances to repeat as well as hope for the future.

Free Agency

This is one of the best free agent crops in years, maybe the best since I've joined the league. Among the names available:

SF David Anyan
SG Justin Barnes
SG Chris Gearheart
PG John Willias
PG Gilbert Arenas
SG Mateen Yeaton
SF Andre Davis
SG Kyle Smith
SG David Davis
SG Walter Coleman
PG Dwayne Wade
C Narcyz Malinomowski
PF Nate Bonner
SF Buddy Bracey
C Patrick Riley
SG Ben Gordon

That's just -filthy-. Interestingly enough Phillip Gill and Lannce Dudley are also on the market and I'll watch to see where they go as well.

I offer Mateen Yeaton right away, but decide to wait out Rico Wolfe and Emeka Okafor, who are making crazy contract demands.

Mateen Yeaton is the first of the blue-chip free agents to make a decision, re-signing with us for 6 years, $86.4 million. That's a controlled cost of $14.4 million through year his year 36 season. Sure he'll be overpaid by then, but I consider it an absolute steal.

It also shrinks our cap number down to a delicious $11.3 million over. When we get Okafor down to a reasonable cap number, we'll have enough left over to re-sign Wolfe and hopefully snag a mid-level steal.

Most of the big names are already looking like they're going to cap out, but I throw my hat in for Andre Davis on a mid-level, who's injury-prone as all hell and has a torn MCL, but who'd be a steal for that kind of money.

I keep tabs on the others though and when I see that a team other than Memphis is leading the bidding for Chris Gearheart, who I've always greatly admired, I immediately pull out of running for Davis and gun for Gearheart.

The Kings pull off a major stunner, stealing away Patrick Riley from the Washington Wizards. Sacramento just filled their biggest hole and I think they can be called legitimate contenders now because they've actually got a great player in the post.

He doesn't get a max deal, but a day after the Riley jump's reported, Andre Davis returns to the Clippers. Ah well, they gave him a lot more money than we could've afforded.

We lose out on Chris Gearheart to the Utah Jazz, who somehow freed up the money to give him a 5 year, $51.5 million deal. Our division is getting really, really tough this upcoming season and the West is improving as a whole.

The only blue-chippers left after that are the old guys like Arenas, Wade and Gordon, save for Bonner, who's a defensive liability.

I toy with the idea of bringing Ben Gordon back to Denver on a mid-level exemption, but then the coaching staff would probably do something very stupid, like put Yeaton at PG. On the other hand, a Gama/Gordon/Yeaton/Augusto/Gipson starting 5, if Jim O'Brien and his boys would do that, is an interesting possibility.

While I'm sitting on it, Gilbert Arenas and Nate Bonner re-up with Washington and Seattle respectively and Phillip Gill gets a fat paycheck he doesn't deserve to go back to Detroit.

A lot of choices to make here, none of which are easy. I've ruled out Gordon, but Charles Arnold continues to tempt and could be had for the mid-level. Rico Wolfe is in the same situation.

In the end, I can't resist Arnold's tantalizing potential, so I ink him to a 5 year mid-level exemption contract, the same day that Dwayne Wade announces his return to San Antonio.

Rico Wolfe spurns us for a one year mid-level exemption from the Miami Heat. I think we're really going to miss his defense on the perimeter, though I have a feeling Arnold can match his scoring off the bench. Lannce Dudley gets a 3 year deal from the Pacers the same day.

The harsh reality is that we are now absent our do-everything guard off the bench and I'm starting to have second thoughts on being swayed by Arnold's alleged potential. On the one hand, he looks like he could be the heir to Luol Deng at SF. On the other hand, something's got me a little wary of him.

So I call the Heat up and find that they're agreeable to discussing a trade, as they'd coveted Arnold themselves and he's got extremely attractive potential. I take one last look at the deal we've tenatively got in place and my original workout notes on Arnold from three years ago.

Quote:
Arnold has good shooting skills and average defense. Good personality too, but grades out as only average work ethic and horrible everywhere else.

All of which has been borne out. And let's be honest, he wasn't exactly Mr. Sensational in the Summer League.

It's the combination of my workout notes, the summer league notes and the fact that he's about 40 lbs too light to play SF that convinces me to pull the trigger.

Denver Nuggets receive
SG Rico Wolfe
Miami Heat 2020 1st round pick
Miami Heat 2020 2nd round pick
Miami Heat 2021 2nd round pick
Miami Heat 2022 2nd round pick

Miami Heat receive
SG Charles Arnold
Los Angeles Lakers 2020 1st round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Remember the Kyle Smith trade a few years back? This one's a lot like that, where GM Jestor initially desirous of a Summer League player on his roster, signed him, only to deal him shortly thereafter. In this case, rumor has it that Jestor really regretted not signing Wolfe to a multi-year mid-level exemption deal and so decided to go get him back. As a bonus, Denver likely moves up in next year's draft and acquires a slew of trade bait 2nd round picks in the bargain.

What this means for the Heat
We expect to see Arnold push starter Jon Wilson at SF. While this move won't necessarily get Miami back to the playoffs, it does give them an exciting young player to groom and develop as either an eventual replacement for Wilson or a safety net in case something hapens to star SG Nigel Abel. Wolfe was never going to be anything more than a one-season rental anyway.

Winner: Draw
This would be a slam dunk in favor of Denver if Wolfe was on a multi-year deal, but he's on a one year contract, so Jestor's going to have to visit this scenario again next season. Wolfe gives Denver what it needs to defend its title, while Arnold is a shining prospect for the future for Miami. Great trade for both teams.

Okay, I feel better now. I may someday regret trading Arnold away, but I don't think so. The fans have mixed reactions to the deal, but they're still happy we won the title and I think they'll be even more pleased if we defend this year. The bench combination of David Jackson and Wolfe was far too potent for us last year not to repeat it.

A few days later, Emeka Okafor comes back on a 2 year min-sal. That same day, the Raptors strike back.

Because they steal Ben Gordon on a min-sal deal. The arms race is back in full effect. I'm even more glad I went and grabbed Wolfe back.

Toronto also brought back an old friend, T.J. Ford. This is going to be one hell of a season and some pundits are already picking Toronto/Denver Round V.

Blue Chip Board
SF David Anyan - Re-signs with Toronto
SG Justin Barnes - Re-signs with Sacramento
SG Chris Gearheart - Signs with Utah
PG John Willias - Re-signs with New York
PG Gilbert Arenas - Re-signs with Washington
SG Mateen Yeaton - Re-signs with Denver
SF Andre Davis - Re-signs with L.A. Clippers
SG Kyle Smith - Re-signs with Cleveland
SG David Davis - Re-signs with New York
SG Walter Coleman - Re-signs with Golden State
PG Dwayne Wade - Re-signs with San Antonio
C Narcyz Malinomowski - Re-signs with Memphis
PF Nate Bonner - Re-signs with Seattle
SF Buddy Bracey - Re-signs with Cleveland
C Patrick Riley - Signs with Sacramento
SG Ben Gordon - Signs with Toronto


We're under $1 million over the cap. $709,429 to be exact. Amazing financial shape, especially with Luol Deng's $11.6 million coming off the books next year. We might actually be big-time free agent players next offseason.

Training Camp
Impressive camp by Marcelino Augusto, who seems to have been motivated by the incessant trade rumors. Louis Mertens is building on his strong summer league to make a case for being re-signed. Luol Deng only dropped a little, much to my relief.

David Jackson put in some nice work but Victor Gipson surprisingly didn't show any discernable improvement. The real story of camp was Tzvetan Kishishev, who showed monster defensive talent and improved scoring. He won't make too many defensive highlight plays, but he'll frustrate opponents who try to score on him.

Preseason Outlook

The newswriters are once again sniffing the glue, tabbing Seattle as the top team in the West, followed by us. At least they're giving us -that- much credit. Portland's #3 and the Jazz make their appearance at #5, setting up another year of the Northwest as the West's dominant division. They're picking Sacramento, arguably the most improved team in the conference, for 13th. Yeah and this was a team that was just a #2 seed last season. Not buying that one, either. How you can have the Kings 13th and the Lakers 10th while simultaneously picking the Hornets 4th is beyond me.

More insanity in the East, where the Knicks somehow replace the Raptors as the favorites and the Bulls are picked as the #2 team. ...Riiiiiiiiiiight. Toronto's pegged 3rd. Now honestly, you're going to pick a lineup that looks like THIS:

PG Justin Richler
SG Ben Gordon
SF David Anyan
PF Chris Bosh
C Greg Oden

third in the East? No way. There's no way in hell you pick Toronto for anything but #1 in the conference unless you're an absolute moron. I love the chances for a fifth straight Raptors/Nuggets Finals to be honest with you.

Speaking of lineups and Denver...

Denver Nuggets 2019 Projected Opening Day Lineup
PG Zelipe Gama
SG Mateen Yeaton
SF Luol Deng
PF Marcelino Augusto
C Victor Gipson
6th David Jackson (SF/PF/C)
7th Rico Wolfe (PG/SG/SF)
8th Louis Mertens (PG/SG)
9th Tzvetan Kishishev (PF/C)
10th Emeka Okafor (PF/C)
11th Lindsey Williamson (SF/PF/C)
12th Steven Caspers (SF/PF/C)

I'm pumped about this season. So many really good teams this year. In fact, there's probably never been a better time to be an NBA fan.
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:12 PM   #330
rjolley
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That's a lot of bigs off the bench. Is there a trade or two for a guard in the works?

And congrats on breaking through and winning the championship.
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:31 PM   #331
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjolley View Post
That's a lot of bigs off the bench. Is there a trade or two for a guard in the works?

And congrats on breaking through and winning the championship.

We've traditionally very guard heavy, so I'm not terribly worried. If it looks like we need another guard, I'll just sign somebody via free agency.

And thanks.
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:23 PM   #332
Izulde
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One thing I forgot to mention. Charles Arnold did indeed win the SF job with the Heat. Miami's season is going to be an interesting one to watch, though I'm wondering if I should've flip-flopped picks, because they'll have a really good starting five once C Fabian Kruger comes back from his torn MCL.

In any event, Halloween Night is a sellout in Los Angeles as we take on the Lakers. We open our title sense with a convincing 105-82 win as Mateen Yeaton explodes for 27 points and 11 rebounds, Zelipe Gama gets 13 points and 16 assists and Rico Wolfe scores 10 bench points.

Unfortunately, we lose 100-91 in our home opener to the Timberwolves, ruining Victor Gipson's 11 points and 13 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton's 26 points and Zelipe Gama's 13 points and 11 assists. Teams are really going to be targeting us this year and like I said, our division is going to be the toughest in the West again this season.

It's a scorefest, but we pull out the 111-100 victory over the Jazz behind all five of our starters scoring at least 14 points, led by Zelipe Gama's 24 points and 11 assists. Marcelino Augusto and Victor Gipson come through with 17 points and 15 rebounds and 17 points and 11 rebounds respectively. Chris Gearheart's atrocious 2 for 15 night helps immensely.

Utah gets revenge on their home court on the front of a back-to-back, winning 106-102, despite 13 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks from Victor Gipson, 25 points from Mateen Yeaton, 11 points and 13 assists from Zelipe Gama and 13 bench points from Rico Wolfe. Fortunately, we snap back to flatten Seattle 115-91 as Marcelino Augusto has his first truly good game of the year with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks while Mateen Yeaton scores 30. I haven't been happy with Augusto's early-season play and I'm re-thinking my decision to keep him.

Then again, Marcelino Augusto saves our asses with 31 points and 9 rebounds in a harrowing 91-90 win over the Pistons. So maybe it's a case of him needing some more time to warm up before he gets in the groove.

Tzvetan Kishishev isn't getting in any games and we're big man heavy, so I send him to the Timberjacks where he takes over as the starting PF and bring back Tony Parker from the free agent scrap pile to fill our guard void, particularly since Louis Mertens is battling a concussion.

I said the Kings were vastly improved and I wasn't kidding as they play us close in a 114-106 shootout in Sacramento that eventually goes our way. We need three Nuggets with 20+ points to carry the night: Marcelino Augusto (24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks), Mateen Yeaton (21 points) and Zelipe Gama (26 points). David Jackson leads the reserves with 7 points and 10 rebounds.

I'm nervous about the Finals rematch against the Raptors that comes next and I'm shocked when we blow them out 111-96. Mateen Yeaton really got up for this game and dazzled the home crowd and the national audience with 37 points and 11 rebounds. Marcelino Augusto contributed 21 points, Zelipe Gama garnered 16 points and 16 assists and David Jackson romped for 17 points off the bench. Ben Gordon's held to a woeful 2 for 9 night with 5 points and hasn't been the dynamite scorer the Raptors hoped for in the early season.

But then the glee's deflated somewhat as the Bulls rock us 111-98. Only Mateen Yeaton with 30 points and Rico Wolfe with 13 bench points came to play today. Second year pro Andre Moore, who I called the best PG of last year's class, is developing nicely and if he fills out as expected, he'll be a 4* borderline All-Star player.

The Mavericks are good for a 108-87 tonic as Mateen Yeaton and Marcelino Augusto score 29 and 25 points respectively. Rico Wolfe and David Jackson add 10 and 14 points off the bench in the easy win.

Another great game by Marcelino Augusto, who keeps making it harder and harder to justify the idea of trading him with 38 points and 11 rebounds in our 106-90 victory over the Nets. Victor Gipson doubles with 10 points and 14 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton scores 26. Louis Mertens chips in 10 assists from the bench.

San Antonio looks old and tired as we obliterate them 111-76 on Mateen Yeaton's 38 points, 15 points and 11 rebounds from Marcelino Augusto, 10 points and 16 assists from Zelipe Gama and 11 bench points from Rico Wolfe. I think their run as challengers to us in the West is pretty much over. We sweep the doubleheader by neatly topping the Rockets 99-87 behind Marcelino Augusto's 30 points and 13 rebounds and David Jackson's 10 points and 9 rebounds off the bench.

Marcelino Augusto stings the Hornets for 32 points and Luol Deng has his first true appearance of the season in scoring 27 in our 112-95 rout of New Orleans. Zelipe Gama adds 10 points and 13 assists and David Jackson scores 10 bench points.

We finish off the first month of play with a 101-96 victory over the Cavaliers engineered by Marcelino Augusto's 29 points and 14 rebounds. Victor Gipson snags a double-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocks, Louis Mertens leads the second team charge with 12 points and 13 assists and Rico Wolfe contributes 11 bench points.

12-3's enough for a game and a half lead over the surprising Timberwolves. I'm stunned to see Memphis in front of their divison at 11-5, even more shocked to see Dallas 2nd at 10-7.

But the real mindblower is Golden State leading the Pacific at 9-5. That's Isiah Thomas coached, little talent Golden State. At least it's still early in the year.

The Raptors prove me correct and hold an iron grip over the East at 13-4. Atlanta continues to somehow keep winning despite not having much collective talent, presently leading the Southeast at 10-4. The Central's going to be another bruiser of a fight this year, as 4 of 5 teams are either in the lead or a half game out. Only Indiana's off the pace and they're competitive at 6-9.

Miami and the Lakers are both 6-10 and I'm starting to regret dealing away the Purple and Gold's 1st rounder for the Heat's, particularly since Rico Wolfe is being outplayed by Louis Mertens and he and David Jackson are starting to make waves about playing time.

Jackson wants to start at SF over Luol Deng, while Wolfe wants more than the 14 minutes and change a game he's been getting. Our loudmouth 6th man has a point - Deng's shooting a miserable 37.5% so far this season. As for Wolfe, well, I just don't know. Yeah, our resident Belgian's defense is horrible and not likely to get better any time soon, but he makes up for it with his skillful passing and how damn secure he is with the ball.

And overall, I just get this feeling that while we're playing well, something's a little off. Like we're a powder keg waiting to explode, but maybe it's just my imagination.
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Old 11-15-2008, 04:52 PM   #333
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Indiana Pacers receive
SG Rob Robinson

Chicago Bulls receive
PF Leroy Wright
Indiana Pacers 2020 2nd round pick

What this means for the Pacers
Somewhat strange move for Indiana, as Robinson is a bland 30 year old guard who brings absolutely nothing worthy to the table and doesn't really improve the team in any way. On top of it, they give up a likely high 2nd rounder.

What this means for the Bulls
Wright hasn't been the overachieving supersub he was known for in Denver and Indiana since 2016 and he's rooted to the end of the bench, but at least he can provide some defensive help in a pinch. He's also an expiring $4.8 million contract in addition to the 2nd rounder.

Winner: Chicago
The Pacers deplete an already weak frontcourt and get back someone who doesn't improve their bench. Meanwhile, the Bulls get financial flexibility and a high 2nd rounder in a trade of trash for trash.

Indiana Pacers receive
PF Lance Purnell

New Jersey Nets receive
C Deon Keams

What this means for the Pacers
Indiana gets a new starter out of the deal at PF, but it's telling that Purnell, who can provide some offense and is a decent ballhandler for a big man, has no outstanding attributes and is a black hole on defense. Such is the plight of the Pacers' bigs situation. Oh where have you gone, Rik Smits and Jermaine O'Neal?

What this means for the Nets
The Pacers give up on Keams after just one season and they're right to do. He can rebound some and he's a good shotblocker, but the league's loaded with guys like this, the Lindsey Williamson type. The $1.5 million off next season coupon is a real yawner, but every little bit helps.

Winner: Draw
Improves each team by an increment so tiny, the deal wasn't really worth making. Just what's going on with the Pacers' front office?

Strange tidings with the Pacers indeed. Then again, if they're being that dunderheaded, perhaps they're worth talking with. But then a quick review of Indiana's roster reveals there's nobody worth trading for. Paulinho Buboltz's return to Indiana isn't going to happen, given his bloated $18.6 million salary and I'd only take on one of the others if it meant a 1st round pick.

One thing to note about the David Jackson situation: he's in the last year of his rookie contract, so we could gamble that if we trade him, the receiving team won't sign him to an extension and he'll hit free agency. But I don't want to trade him unless it looks certain his morale's going to hit rock bottom.

I'm pissed as Miami beats us 116-103 to worsen our draft position as we start December. Marcelino Augusto's 20 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks, Mateen Yeaton's 22 points and David Jackson's 12 bench points don't mean squat when Luol Deng's off an 1 for 9 night.

Deng's got to go. I love what he did for us last year and I hate to send off his huge expiring contract, but he's playing like shit, shooting 36.3% and he's angering David Jackson, who's a hell of a lot more valuable than Deng is.

It's surprisingly easy to find a trade.

Denver Nuggets receive
C Andrew Bogut

Milwaukee Bucks receive
SF Luol Deng

What this means for the Nuggets
This trade originally was intended to make David Jackson the starting SF, which it did, but it also gives Denver a smart, savvy new starter at C in Bogut. The 35 year old's skills have sharply eroded from his prime, but he'll make more intelligent plays than Victor Gipson and greatly enhances the Nuggets in the frontcourt.

What this means for the Bucks
Milwaukee welcomes Deng back into the fold as the starting SF, but given Deng's poor start and the weakness this puts the Bucks at C, this is a potentially dangerous trade for the Central leaders.

Winner: Denver
They're both expiring contracts and if Bogut doesn't work out, GM Jestor's the type who's not afraid to cut him (see Lamar Odom, Lannce Dudley. The key to this trade for the Nuggets, as we noted above, is to put the discontented Jackson in the starting lineup.

Fantastic defensive outing in our first game with the new look. We crush the Magic 98-69 as Mateen Yeaton produces 28 points and 9 rebounds, Andrew Bogut has a smashing Denver debut with 24 points and 12 rebounds and Marcelino Augusto generates 22 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks.

Marcelino Augusto and Zelipe Gama break out for 39 points and 27 points, 18 assists and 5 steals respectively as we roll up the Wizards 108-92. Bogut's proving to really improve our interior defense and it's great to see. I'll admit, I had my concerns when Jim O'Brien said he was starting Bogut, but if these first two games are any indication, it was the right move.

But then we go up against the Raptors in Toronto and can't hit a shot to save our lives, getting blown out 102-77. Marcelino Augusto struggled his way to 15 points and 12 rebounds and Rico Wolfe scored 12 off the bench, but we were on ice all night long.

So that makes us 1-1 thus far for the 7-game East Conference road trip. Marcelino Augusto tears into the Knicks for 43 points and 10 rebounds to take us to 2-1 after a 109-96 win. Rico Wolfe adds 15 points off the bench. As much as I get tempted to trade Augusto, he's only 21 years old and he's capable of putting up huge numbers despite being undersized.

We split the ensuing back-to-back. Philadelphia hammers us 113-81 despite 26 points from Mateen Yeaton, 13 points and 10 rebounds from Andrew Bogut and Rico Wolfe's 10 bench points. Mateen Yeaton ensures we don't drop two in a row in scoring 37 against the Celtics to give us the 105-84 win. Also credit Zelipe Gama's 13 points and 14 assists and Victor Gipson's 13 bench points.

Sweet revenge against the Heat on the front end as we win 116-96. Mateen Yeaton rips Miami for 35 points, Marcelino Augusto adds 30 and Zelipe Gama distributes 17 points and 10 assists. Andrew Bogut double-doubled as well, with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Unfortunately we can't connect on the sweep, losing 111-92 to the Magic. Andrew Bogut did his part with 14 points and 16 rebounds, but that's it.

4-3 road trip. Nowhere near as good as we do in some years, but on the other hand, a hell of a lot better than a losing record. The schizophenic nature of the team is disturbing me somewhat, but I'm not going to make any moves... yet.

Home's a welcome place to be as Mateen Yeaton scores 32 and we get double-doubles out of Marcelino Augusto (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (11 points, 11 assists) in a 113-91 pounding of Phoenix.

But then Bad Denver shows up and not even Marcelino Augusto's 30 points and 9 rebounds can spare us a 111-85 smackdown by Seattle. It's really starting to drive me crazy how damned inconsistent we are all of a sudden.

At least it's a happy Christmas as we sweep the holiday doubleheader. 114-105 the final over Dallas, keyed by Mateen Yeaton's 27 points, 26 points and 14 rebounds from Marcelino Augusto and great reserve performances by Rico Wolfe (13 points) and Steven Caspers (10 points). We win 95-87 over Golden State on the strength of Marcelino Augusto's 23 points and 11 rebounds and Rico Wolfe's 13 bench points.

Balanced offense led by Marcelino Augusto's 22 points and Rico Wolfe's 11 bench points, combined with smothering team defense, carries us to a 105-72 revenge whipping of the 76ers. At this point, I just don't think I can bring myself to trade Augusto, small-sized or no. He's just too consistent, too valuable, too good a shielding option for Mateen Yeaton. And he was my #1 pick, after all.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day go even better than the Christmas holidays as we look dominant in sweeping both L.A. teams. The Lakers fall 108-90, helpless against Marcelino Augusto's 28 points and 9 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton's 21 points. Supporting actors are Andrew Bogut with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Zelipe Gama with 16 points and 11 assists. Rico Wolfe's the surprise star of our 103-75 smash hitting of the Clippers, scoring 25 points off the bench, the same 25 scored by Mateen Yeaton.

Our 23-8 mark has well in command of the West's top seed and with five winning teams in the conference, it's looking we might finally be starting to get over the hump in terms of our league's respectability. Much to my disbelief, Memphis is still ruling the Southwest at 19-14, although the Mavericks and Spurs are hot on their heels. Sacramento's reasserted itself in the Pacific at 14-14, while the Lakers are dawdling along at 11-17.

Meanwhile, in the East, Toronto looms large at 26-6, but the Southeast leading Hawks are gunning for the top seed as well at 22-7. The Central is still an absurdly tight race. Cleveland's in front at 18-12, but the Bucks are a half-game off and the Bulls and Pistons are a game back of the lead. It's worth noting that Milwaukee's 6-5 since the Bogut for Deng trade.
As for the Heat? 11-22, so I'm hoping the Purple and Gold win some of the five games that separate the two, especially since Fabian Kruger is due back in two more months.

Attitude Report
David Jackson's mood hasn't really improved, but no means has it worsened since he became the starting SF. But much to my disappointment, we've got a new malcontent on our hands and it's a surprising one. Emeka Okafor's unhappy about his end of the bench role, because our team captain feels like he can still make more of a contribution. It's one of those things where it's tough to know what to do. I wish he'd retired when he finally got his ring last year, but he's convinced he can still play.

D-League Report
Tzvetan Kishishhev is tearing up the D-League, averaging 18.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 0.8 steals. He leads the D-League in scoring and the Timberjacks are 9-4, leading the West. I'd call him up, but that would mean even less time for Okafor and I don't want to do that.

Paulinho Buboltz/Mateen Yeaton Comparison

Paulinho Buboltz
2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 28 games/28 starts - 19.7 PPG 7.6 APG 3.2 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.6 SPG

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 31 games/31 starts - 23.5 PPG 2.4 APG 5.0 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.7 SPG

Look who's back. Last season was a fluke.

I hope the same isn't true for our defending title hopes.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:24 PM   #334
Autumn
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Location: Bath, ME
What's Augusto averaging for points? Seems like he's on a real tear. I would build the team around that boy if I were you.
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:16 PM   #335
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
What's Augusto averaging for points? Seems like he's on a real tear. I would build the team around that boy if I were you.

23.6 PPG 9.4 RPG 2.7 APG 3.0 BPG 1.1 SPG

Shooting 51.7% from the floor.

One of the biggest fan faves on the team.

Almost 0 Greed.

100/100 Inside
94/100 Scoring
50/53 Passing
45/48 Ballhandling
61/64 Defense
68/71 Blocking (I'm betting this -has- to be underscouted. He's 6'9, 217 and he's blocking like he's freaking Andrei Kirilenko)
62/65 Discipline
54/57 Intelligence

Good durability... so yeah, I'd be nuts to trade him.

But I keep getting tempted to. I don't know why. Probably because he's gotten owned in every Finals matchup so far.
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:49 AM   #336
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Utah Jazz receive
SF Jason Tackett
San Antonio Spurs 2020 2nd round pick

San Antonio Spurs receive
PG eric Kostov
SG Gedeon Ljujic
C Eddy Curry

What this means for the Jazz
Tackett's a smart, perfect team player and a lockdown defender. Won't score much, but he bolsters the Jazz's bench defense, enhance the locker room atmosophere and perhaps best of all, return one of the many former Utes in the league back to their college state.

What this means for the Spurs
What a tumble it's been for the Bulgarian Kostov, who's gone from starter for the East Conference champion Raptors to bench guard for the Jazz to end-bench player for the Spurs. He's not a bad player, but neither is he good. On the other hand, if he re-signs with the team in the offseason, he's 24 and all the other PG-worthy candidates on the roster are in their 30s. At 37, Curry's a turnover waiting to happen every time he gets the ball, but he still can provide some adequate scoring and defense. Ljujic was a 2nd round pick last year (3rd pick in round) and a career D-leaguer, if that.

Winner: Utah
The Jazz shed a bunch of junk for a player who helps them out in a number of small, but significant ways. Not to mention a bonus 2nd round pick. Great pickup by Utah.

Houston Rockets receive
SF Ben Larson

San Antonio Spurs receive
SG Mike Townsend

What this means for the Rockets
Larson, 30, taken 30th overall by the Lakers in 2012, can play both guard spots and provide some offense and defense off the bench. But Townsend can do the same thing and provide more offense, better passing and ballhandling skills and defense. The difference between then? Larson is an intelligent player who can better utilize his gifts than the more physically talented Townsend.

What this means for the Spurs
Townsend, selected with the 2nd pick in the 2nd round in 2015, may be not as cerebral as Larson, but he's also three years younger. Also, unlike Larson, who's under contract for three seasons, Townsend's contract expires after this year. That's another $3 million off the books and the Spurs are already $2.1 million -under- the cap.

Winner: San Antonio
Although they're the same player in a lot of ways, the Rockets are 12-17, whereas the Spurs are 17-15. If the records were reversed, it'd make a little more sense for Houston. But then again, with all those studly young swingmen who are going to demand big contracts soon, attaching more financial dead weight just doesn't make sense.

Boston Celtics receive
SG Dale Stukes

Toronto Raptors receive
SF Jerrance Newman

What this means for the Celtics
Stukes isn't much of a ballhandler, especially for a guard, but he brings nice scoring productivity to the C's bench, something they really needed. Unfortunately, that's Stukes's only oustanding attribute and worse yet, he's blocking playing time for raw, but very promising 19 year old rookie Jon Costello, Boston's 1st round pick.

What this means for the Raptors
Newman's an average all-around player with a little bit of talent at scoring and defending. He's an end-bench guy in Toronto and it makes his acquistion a little suspect until you consider that it may resulting in freeing up another couple minutes of game time for Jon Freeman.

Winner: Boston
The Celtics just missed out on the playoffs last year and they're hoping to avoid that fate this season. Stukes gives them the offensive upgrade they need off the bench to try and sneak into the postseason. But they're doing so at the risk of angering Costello, who needs PT to develop more.

Washington Wizards receive
C Ryan Sweetwyne

Indiana Pacers receive
PF Sean Bergmann

What this means for the Wizards
Sweetwyne's a virtual clone of Chris Washington and Ashley Davis, the other reserve centers on the roster. The only difference is that Ryan's a better rebounder than the other two, so he improves Washington a little in that area. Very little.

What this means for the Pacers
Bergmann's a nice fit for Indiana, as he brings defensive prowess and a little bit of scoring to complement Rudy Braun, who's all offense and nothing else. He's also a small expiring contract, rather than Sweetwyne, who's signed through next season.

Winner: Indiana
Another small deal in a year of tiny trades, but the Pacers get something they needed in a major way and put a little bit more financial flexibility in their pockets. This of course isn't going to solve their frontcourt problems or turn them into key free agent players, but every little bit helps.

I'm intrigued by Costello, but not intrigued enough to want the king's ransom Boston wants for him. Still, I'm open to the possibility of making a move if it seems right. Then again, I'm always open to that.

We kick off the month's game with a blowout doubleheader. Marcelino Augusto unloads on San Antonio for 31 points and 13 rebounds in our 101-85 smashing of the Spurs. I've decided I'm no longer going to shop him. Sure he's undersized, but he's so beautiful to watch play, I'm just going to enjoy what he does for us. Andrew Bogut doubles for 12 points and 18 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 22 and Zelipe Gama nets 16 points and 15 assists. Mateen Yeaton leads us over the Rockets 120-97 with 31 points, Marcelino Augusto adding 23. Rico Wolfe has a fantastic game off the bench, scoring 21.

Another back-to-back, another sensational pair of wins. Mateen Yeaton and Marcelino Augusto both score 22 points and Rico Wolfe and Louis Mertens put in 10 and 11 points off the bench respectively in our 100-86 lockdown of the Kings. It's Mateen Yeaton and Marcelino Augusto again looking Geminiac against the Rockets, scoring 33 and 34 points a piece as we hammer the Lakers 115-91. Zelipe Gama chimes in with 14 points and 16 assists and he's looking a lot more like the old Gama we're used to, which is a good thing to see.

Our hot streak comes to an end with a thrilling, heartbreaking 118-116 OT loss to the Timberwolves. Mateen Yeaton and Marcelino Augusto tried their best with 30 and 21 points, but neither they not Rico Wolfe's 14 bench points could bail us out.

It takes just one game to get back on track as we bludgeon Golden State 110-85 on Marcelino Augusto's 32 points, Mateen Yeaton's 25 points and 10 rebounds and Rico Wolfe's 11 bench points. We just barely get the doubleheader sweep, riding a torrid second half to come back and nip the Sonics 116-114 in Seattle. Marcelino Augusto rises to the occasion with 33 points and 10 rebounds, Andrew Bogut hauls in 15 points and 18 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton chips in 20 points and Zelipe Gama is on fire with 19 points and 17 assists.

The fire goes out of our offense and our bench gets whipped by Memphis's reserves in an icy 85-74 loss to the Grizzlies. Marcelino Augusto's 23 points were our lone consolation prize.

Five game road trip up next, including four against the Central. Things start off right with a 123-116 OT victory against Dallas. Mateen Yeaton scorches the Mavericks for 42 points, Marcelino Augusto adds to the conflagration with 34 points, as do double-doubles from Andrew Bogut (11 points, 12 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (11 points, 15 assists). Victor Gipson tops it off with 12 points to lead the reserves.

And then we get the boom lowered on us, dropping two straight games in a doubleheader. The Bulls trample us 106-89 as we can't conjure up anything more than Marcelino Augusto's 28 points and 10 rebounds and Zelipe Gama's 18 points and 13 assists. Then Detroit beats us soundly, 103-92, another 28 points from Marcelino Augusto not enough when his only support is 10 bench points from Rico Wolfe.

I'm fearing a repeat of last year's nightmare 7 of 8 stretch here until we snap back to roll the Bucks and the Pacers. It's 30 point scorer night again for the Powder Blue Boys as Marcelino Augusto and Mateen Yeaton score 36 and 30 respectively. Andrew Bynum hangs 14 points and 15 rebounds on his former team and Zelipe Gama is the distribution maestro with 21 assists in our 115-103 vanquish of Milwaukee. Great duel between Paulinho Buboltz and Mateen Yeaton in our 113-102 victory over the Pacers. Buboltz is everywhere for 27 points and 14 assists, but Yeaton counters with 35 points and Marcelino Augusto's got his back with 33 points. What an absolutely incredible combination those two are. It's beautiful. Andrew Bogut puts up 10 points and 14 rebounds, Victor Gipson the leading reserve with 10 points.

January ends how it began, with a pair of excellent victories. Marcelino Augusto rampages for 37 points and 14 rebounds as we embarass the Knicks 113-95. Mateen Yeaton chimes in with 20 points, the same 20 points that Rico Wolfe slam dunks from the bench. Wolfe had some struggles early this season, but he's also shown up for quite a few games where he's illustrated why I traded to get him back to the team. It's Mateen Yeaton's turn to play monster warrior against the Trailblazers, dropping 38 points on Portland in the 108-92 win. Marcelino Augusto adds a role-reversal 20 points and 11 rebounds, Andrew Bogut doubles for 10 points and 18 rebounds and Rico Wolfe adds 10 bench points.

Sensational month as our 34-12 record shows. We're 7 games ahead of the Timberwolves for the division and have the top seed in the West by the same margin. 6 teams with winning records thus far, including the 26-18 Southwest leading Dallas Mavericks (3.5 ahead of the Grizzlies, who have come down to earth) and the 24-21 Sacramento Kings, leading the Pacific by 3 games over Golden State. The Lakers are 18-25.

Toronto's naturally leading the East at 36-10, but Atlanta continues to amaze at 34-10. I don't get it, I really don't. Why are the Hawks so good?

Well, looking over their roster, I can see why. They're a ridiculously balanced team who play that way. No standout superstar, just a bunch of good players who know their role and execute the gameplan. 2nd year 6th man Kelvin Johnson, taken 6th overall last year, is a rising star. He's moody as all hell and reportedly can be difficult to deal with, but if he keeps developing, he's got franchise player writ over him. The Hawks also have an absolutely sick coaching staff, all of them master strategists. Kurt Thomas is going to have his name rumored for a lot of head coaching vacancies next year and while I don't know if Gary Hampton will ever be top man material, he's a perfect 1st assistant right now... and he's a 2nd assistant on this dynamite staff.

The Central race is loosening up. Milwaukee's somehow got themselves back on top at 27-16, a game and a half ahead of Detroit, 3.5 ahead of the fading Cavaliers, who are turning into the 2010s version of what the Trailblazers have been for most of the time I've been in the NBA: phenomenal talent, but can't produce the winning formula. In other words, the anti-Hawks.

Boston's improved to 25-21, by the way and the Heat are still thankfully sinking below the Lakers at 17-30, but Fabian Kruger will be back next month and Miami can make up that difference in a hurry. I have to say though, I really like the Heat. Charles Arnold and rookie Steven Feaster are raw, but absolutely dripping with potential and the Heat's bad enough this year that they're starting both players.

Denver Attitude Report
Now that he's the starter, David Jackson is perfectly happy and content and everybody else on the team is feeling great too, with one exception. Emeka Okafor, our team captain, is growing more and more unhappy with his lack of playing time and he's asked me to trade him to a team that will give more minutes. It's a request I'd hate to grant, so I'm going to avoid it if at all possible.

I call Jim O'Brien and talk to him about the situation. We privately agree to increase Okafor's minutes and monitor things through February. I don't think giving him the extra time will hurt our overall team; we don't rely too heavily on our bench bigs anyway. Not with Jackson in the lineup, so more time for Emeka is a good thing.

D-League Report
Tzvetan Kishishev cooled off this month and is down to 4th in the D-League in scoring at 16.2 points a game. His other numbers are 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.7 steals.

Paulinho Buboltz/Mateen Yeaton Comparison

Paulinho Buboltz

2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 44 games/44 starts - 21.8 PPG 8.2 APG 3.5 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.8 SPG

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 46 games/46 starts - 24.3 PPG 2.5 APG 5.0 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.7 SPG

Oh, yes. One other thing.

I don't normally note the leaders until the end of next month, but I just have to share this:

NBA Scoring Leaders
1. Marcelino Augusto (DEN) - 25.4
2. Nigel Abel (MIA) - 25.2
3. Mateen Yeaton (DEN) - 24.3
4. Corey Neal (NJ) - 23.6

That's right. We have the #1 and #3 scorers in the entire NBA.

Take that, Toronto!
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:26 AM   #337
Autumn
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I knew it! After that slow start of the season it seems Augusto never scores under 22, and often tops 30. Mateen is right behind him, that's amazing. It seems with that as long as you can get another guy or two to have a good night you've got a win.
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:07 PM   #338
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
I knew it! After that slow start of the season it seems Augusto never scores under 22, and often tops 30. Mateen is right behind him, that's amazing. It seems with that as long as you can get another guy or two to have a good night you've got a win.

Yeah I really like how our team's built this year except for the attitude issues that are cropping up, but David Jackson was fine after he got moved to the starting SF spot following the Deng trade and Emeka Okafor should get more minutes now so we can hopefully raise his mood as well.
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:52 AM   #339
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Los Angeles Lakers receive
SG Duez Walker
New Orleans Hornets 2020 2nd round pick

New Orleans Hornets receive
SF Andre Bryant

What this means for the Lakers
Walker's a much better ballhandler and defender than Rupert Jones and Ross Crispin, the Lakers' other two backup guard options. Crispin could be a better passer and more secure option in time, but he'll never match up to Walker's respectable D.

What this means for the Hornets
Bryant, taken 16th overall last season, is a colossal bust already at 24. Great technical defensive skills, but he can't shoot, can't score, is the worst passer and ballhandler of his age in the entire NBA, is equally terrible at rebounding, can't block shots, can't steal, doesn't really know the game... in short, he's the epitome of a one trick pony and the Hornets just tanked their way to the worst record in the league guarantee.

Winner: Lakers
The Purple and Gold rip off the Hornets here and even if the 12-33 Hornets manage to catch the 12-36 Suns for the league's worst record, the lottery's luck factor makes tanking a fairly unappealing strategy.

I think they're right. I mean, Bryant grades out a 1.5/1.5* by most national scouting standards and he's a 2nd year, mid 1st-round draft pick. That may just be the biggest bust in league history.

I've still got the urge to make a trade but we'll see how things look at the All-Star break.

We kick off February with a wild 126-118 win over Golden State that sees us needing a sensational 4th quarter to avoid the upset. Mateen Yeaton blistered the Warriors for 44 points, Zelipe Gama netted 19 points and 12 assists and Victor Gipson and Rico Wolfe provided major bench support with 12 and 11 points a piece.

The scoring gets even crazier on the front end of a doubleheader as we top Utah 133-129 in OT and Marcelino Augusto puts on one of the finest games I've ever see anyone play. 52 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 9 blocks and 2 steals... a oh-so-damn-near QUADRUPLE-DOUBLE.. Lost in the frenzy of that excitement are double-doubles from Andrew Bogut (18 points, 15 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (17 points, 16 assists), along with Mateen Yeaton's 25 points and Rico Wolfe's 10 bench points. The Jazz had four players with 20+ points: Chris Gearheart (28), A.J. Dunkley (25 points, 15 assists), Henry Fisher (23 points, 9 rebounds) and Terrence Howard (20 points, 11 rebounds, 7 blocks). After that game, our 101-82 pasting of the Timberwolves seems anticlimatic, even with Marcelino Augusto scoring 42 points with 9 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton adding 25 points.

We trounce the Cavaliers 114-93 as Mateen Yeaton scores 28, Andrew Bogut chimes in with 10 points and 12 rebounds and Louis Mertens bursts off the bench for 21 points in 14 minutes, 7/8 from the floor, 5/5 from 3-point range. He may not ever be starting material in our system because of his defensive liabilities, but the 22 year old Belgian is one I would take as a backup PG to anybody else in the league. He's that much a wizard with the ball and he's really made great strides since getting a chance to show his stuff here in Denver.

A fourth quarter rally carries us to a heartpounding 96-94 win over the Nets. Marcelino Augusto and Mateen Yeaton combine for 27 and 26 points respectively, Andrew Bogut has his second straight 10 point, 12 rebound game and Victor Gipson scores 10 to headline the reserves.

Talent barely trumps balance in our 103-98 win over the Hawks. The first game of a road back-to-back results in Nuggets victory thanks to usual suspects Marcelino Augusto (27 points) and Mateen Yeaton (24 points), with Zelipe Gama (14 points, 11 assists) and Rico Wolfe (11 bench points) providing the finishing touches. We have a much easier time the next night against the Bobcats, coasting to a 108-84 blowout on Mateen Yeaton's 33 points, Marcelino Augusto's 28 points and 15 bench points from Victor Gipson.

That same game, Mateen Yeaton's back locks up with severe spasms and Emeka Okafor strains his hamstring. Yeaton's probably going to miss the All-Star game now, even though he'll likely stubbornly insist on playing.

There's really nothing to see in the Skills contests or the Rookies/Sophs game for Nuggets fans. Victor Gipson dressed for the Sophomores and made a lovely bench ornament, registering a DNP as the second years killed the rooks 93-75 on Sonny Boxler's 23 points. For all my commentary during the draft that Boxler's reported laziness caused him to drop all the way to the Trailblazers despite his phenomenal talent, he's quickly proving me and everyone else wrong. While he isn't and never will be Gym Rat of the Year, he works hard enough, is an absolutely fantastic locker room guy, really showing respect to the vets.. and of course, the fans just love him.

Much to my shock, Mateen Yeaton agrees to sit out the All-Star game. He told me he really wants to chase Nigel Abel and Augusto for the scoring title, the one thing that's missing from his resume. Nuggets fans don't lose heart though, not when Marcelino Augusto is named to the starting lineup for the West and wins All-Star MVP scoring 23 points with 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 6 blocks in the West's gritty 86-77 win. Actually, gritty's a lie. It was a flat-out, ugly defensive All-Star game, with both teams shooting under 40%. Not pretty, not pretty at all.

So now we're left with a decision. Emeka Okafor's still very unhappy and frankly, I'm feeling a little obligated to meet his wishes, but nobody's willing to take on a 37 year old faded star, not one that's signed for 2 seasons, even at the veteran minimum. So for better or for worse, he's going to stay a Nugget.

And to be honest, as much as I love trading, I don't really see any other moves that'd make sense for our team right now. We're in a really good spot on all levels outside of Okafor's unhappiness and our team captain's man enough not to let his disappointment spread to the others on the team.

We get killed our first game back from the break. The Celtics hammer us 112-89 as we can't stop their hot shooting all night long. Marcelino Augusto tries with 23 points and Andrew Bogut gets 18 points and 10 rebounds, but they and Rico Wolfe's 11 bench points aren't enough.

Two nights later, we're an iron wall, shutting down the Grizzlies 102-68. Mateen Yeaton scores 25 and Rico Wolfe adds 11 points to key the reserves as the deadline's officially passed without our making a move. I think it's the right decision.

Our 115-111 victory over the Hornets isn't anywhere near as close as it looks. Mateen Yeaton and Marcelino Augusto each score 27 points, Zelipe Gama helps out with 16 points and 12 assists and Victor Gipson rises off the bench for 14 points.

We keep the positive note going and conclude February with a 112-105 win over the Hawks as Marcelino Augusto puts up 26 points and 12 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 21, Zelipe Gama dishes 12 points and 14 assists and Victor Gipson and Rico Wolfe power the second unit with 15 and 16 points respectively.

It's just past the halfway point, but we're pretty much running away with the West right now at 44-12. Our closest competitiors are the Mavericks, who are 35-20 and up by 6.5 over the Spurs. Sacramento has a solid 6 game lead on Golden State and I can't help but wonder where the Warriors might be with something called a good coach. 5 teams with winning records to date, so the West isn't quite restored yet. Lakers are 23-32.

Toronto's got the East by the throat at 45-11, as the Hawks really fell off the pace this month, in part by having to play us twice. They're 41-15 and lead Orlando by 5.5. Raptors, on the other hand, are up by 11.5 on the Knicks. The Central's tightened up again, the Bucks and the Pistons sharing the conference lead. Cleveland and Chicago are 3 and 4.5 back respectively. The Cavaliers and Bulls are really going to have to make their move soon if they want to go to the playoffs, because as it stands right now, only two of the Celtics (30-27), Nets (30-27), and Cavs (29-26) would get into the postseason, with the odd man out and all teams below them staying home.

Miami's 22-36, so still behind the Lakers, but Fabian Kruger comes back next week and 24 games is still a ton of time to fast make up ground.

Halfway Leaders

Scoring
T1. Nigel Abel (MIA) - 25.7
T1 Marcelino Augusto (DEN) - 25.7
3. Mateen Yeaton (DEN) - 24.7

4. Corey Neal (NJ) - 23.7

Abel, who's won a few scoring titles already, including last year's, doesn't want to see it taken by either of our boys.

Assists
1. Bernard Kelly (MEM) - 11.8
2. Calvis Graham (LAL) - 11.2
3. Kenny Graham (DET) - 11.0
T5. Zelipe Gama (DEN) - 10.5

Rebounds
1. Greg Oden (TOR) - 15.0
2. Jonte Jones (DAL) - 13.5
3. Kelvin Moody (MIN) - 12.3
T12. Andrew Bogut (DEN) - 10.5

Blocks
1. Patrick Riley (SAC) - 3.6
2. Derrick Robinson (LAL) - 3.5
3. Martin Beerbohm (NOH) - 3.0
T4. Marcelino Augusto (DEN) - 2.9
T4. Greg Wilden (CLE) - 2.9

Steals
1. Derrick Sterett (NJ) - 2.0
2. Bernard Kelly (MEM) - 1.9
3. Kyle Smith (CLE) - 1.8

Rookie Leaders

Points
1. Keith Attaway (IND) - 15.3
2. Devone Allen (DAL) - 14.4
3. Filip Mikulic (HOU) - 12.1
4. Carlton Goree (SAC) - 10.1

Assists
1. Carlton Goree (SAC) - 7.6
2. Filip Mikulic (HOU) - 5.5
3. Keith Attaway (IND) - 4.9

Rebounds
1. Dylan Clark (CHI) - 7.6
2. Charlie Joseph (POR) - 6.9
3. Jeremy Bellairs (GS) - 6.1

Blocks
1. Louis McNeish (MIL) - 1.6
2. Devone Allen (DAL) - 1.5
3. Walter Hicks (NJ) - 1.1

Steals
T1. Keith Attaway (IND) - 1.3
T1. Carlton Goree (SAC) - 1.3
T1. Devone Allen (DAL) - 1.3
4. Walter Hicks (NJ) - 1.1
5. Jeremy Bellairs (GS) - 1.0

D-League
Tzvetan Kishishev is 4th in D-League scoring at 16 points a game, with 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.7 steals and the Timberjacks are deadlocked for the top spot in the West with Bakersfield.

Paulinho Buboltz/Mateen Yeaton Comparison

Paulinho Buboltz

2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 56 games/56 starts - 21.7 PPG 8.2 APG 3.5 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.7 SPG

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 57 games/57 starts - 24.7 PPG 2.6 APG 4.8 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.7 SPG
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:13 AM   #340
Autumn
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Location: Bath, ME
Unreal, these boys keep turning it up. I think you've got The Man in Augusto, he can be a real franchise player even when Yeaton starts to fade.
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Old 11-19-2008, 08:57 PM   #341
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
Unreal, these boys keep turning it up. I think you've got The Man in Augusto, he can be a real franchise player even when Yeaton starts to fade.

In the regular season, yes. However, he's been somewhat inconsistent in the playoffs his first two seasons and notoriously disappeared in the Finals the last two years.

I'd have to see a breakout performance from him in the Finals before I can declare him a true franchise player, which is also one of the reasons why trading him is quite tempting.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:18 PM   #342
Autumn
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Yeah, but Yeaton had the same problem, if I remember correctly. I think he's good enough that you'll have chances for him to redeem himself. Not many two year players get two NBA Finals under their belts. He should be good to go.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:05 PM   #343
RedHawk00
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I am worried about the All-Star game, who decided to play defense... or were all the players hung over, must have been in Vegas or New Orleans?
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:46 PM   #344
Izulde
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Autumn: Good point, although Mateen was more polished. But then again, Augusto -is- still quite young and in just his third season, so you're right. We'll see what happens this year if we make it back to the Finals.

RedHawk00: Yeah, it was a very disappointing All-Star game and has me a little worried for the future of the league in terms of its glitziness, but we'll see what happens.
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:17 AM   #345
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Orlando Magic receive
SF Charles Garren

Washington Wizards receive
PG Jameer Nelson
Orlando Magic 2020 1st round pick

What this means for the Magic
Garren's a very good scoring option and has respectable ballhandling. Good rebounder with some stealing instincts, even if his defense is a little suspect overall. Extremely consistent player and one of the league's most popular stars after winning the 2014 Slam Dunk Competition. At 27 years old (taken 9th overall in 2012 by the Wizards), he's young enough to take over for Dwight Howard at PF as soon as next season. Howard's 33 and is in the last year of a $20 million a year contract, whereas Garren's inked for two years beyond this one. Great insurance in case Howard doesn't come back or return and the Magic now have the flexibility to let Howard go if they want $20 million off the cap next season.

What this means for the Wizards
Nelson's nowhere near the player he once was. At 37, he's nothing more than a mediocre reserve guard. That said, he's roughly $9 million in expiring money (Washington's currently $4.2 million over the cap) and the financial freedom plus the extra 1st round pick will give the Wizards a chance to continue rebuilding.

Winner: Draw
One of those deals that's a win-win for both teams and about the same magnitude. The increased depth in acquiring Garren alone will help the Magic's depth as they challenge the Hawks for the Southeast division this season.

Toronto Raptors receive
SF Willie Larson
Phoenix Suns 2020 2nd round pick

Phoenix Suns receive
PG Mark Martin

What this means for the Raptors
Larson's a little turnover-prone, but he's a solid all-around player and an extremely versatile reserve, able to play every position but C. He gives Toronto much needed quality depth and could help signal Andrea Bargnani's departure from the Raptors, as the 35 year old's a $10 million expiring contract. High 2nd round pick is likely as well.

What this means for the Suns
Martin's a perfect team player and while the second year man won't ever be a great player, the last pick of the first round from last year's draft has the potential to be a solid reserve guard, possibly a borderline starter at the point.

Winner: Toronto
Phoenix gave up too much to get Martin and the Raptors improved their team significantly immediately and gave themselves some wiggle room and options for this offseason.

Detroit Pistons receive
PG Gilbert Arenas
Washington Wizards 2020 2nd round pick

Washington Wizards receive
C Marcel Mance

What this means for the Pistons
Detroit now has the scariest 3 guard rotation in the league. Arenas may be 37, but he can still score at will. Kenny Graham is the best PG in the NBA and Galen Drayton, the starting SG, is a proven 20+ PPG scorer. It's hard to imagine Arenas as a 6th man, but that's precisely what he is in Motown. The Pistons just became a major, major player in the East. The 2nd round pick is just extra icing.

What this means for the Wizards
Mance is an average all-around C who finally gets to move back into a starting role with the Wizards. He's about $300,000 more off the cap next season than Arenas, but while Washington further positions themselves for even more freed money to become big spenders next summer and are tanking for a better lottery positon, they traded away an icon and the fanbase is furious. On the other hand, they get to look at their future and make Waledmar Althusser a starter now and the German should turn into a very solid player now that he'll get the playing time to develop.

Winner: Detroit
The Pistons rip the Wizards off here. Yes, Arenas was constantly talking to the press about how he wanted a chance at a ring before he retires, but Washington should've gotten more for him than a 30 year old run of the mill C. Especially when they're giving up a draft pick in addition.

I think there's been more trades this season than any other year I've been in the league. True, most were small, but the two relative blockbusters at the trade deadline really put an exclamation point on a busy market.

Big month for us in a lot of ways. We can clinch the top seed in the West and we can hope the Heat don't suddenly surge with Fabian Kruger back to full strength.

It's sad how far Indiana's fallen. We crush them 107-82 as Marcelino Augusto and Mateen Yeaton play their way to 30 and and 26 points respectively. Zelipe Gama gets 17 points and 13 assists and David Jackson has his first double-double in a long, long time, for 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jackson's a silent presence in the statline, but I'm not going to complain about a guy who's shooting 51.3% from the floor. Not after all the other debacles we've had at SF.

The Clippers, conversely, given us all we can handle and we squeak past them 98-95. Marcelino Augusto did a little bit of everything with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 blocks, David Jackson netted his second straight double-double, 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Zelipe Gama scored 22. Rico Wolfe was tops of the reserves with 13 points.

Portland poses no problems as we pistolwhip them 107-91. Marcelino Augusto leads the charge with 25 points and 13 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 20 and Zelipe Gama completes the 20+ trifecta with 21 points and 10 assists. Louis Mertens keys the second team with 10 assists.

A nice break preludes an even nicer doubleheader sweep. Marcelino Augusto is Mr. Versatile in our 109-89 win over the Spurs with 25 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 blocks, headlining another three Nuggets in 20+ scoring. The other two were Mateen Yeaton (23 points) and Rico Wolfe with an incredible 21 points and 12 assists off the bench after Zelipe Gama got in foul trouble. Andrew Bogut had a quiet 14 points and 17 rebounds. It's Marcelino Augusto as the best man again in our 108-80 pounding of Phoenix. He scores 34 points, Mateen Yeaton a strong second with 24 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out. Zelipe Gama doubles with 10 points and 13 assists and Rico Wolfe scores 10 points off the bench.

We coast against Charlotte, conquering 110-81 on Mateen Yeaton's 24 points and bench showings of 13 points and 11 points and 9 assists respectively from Victor Gipson and Louis Mertens. I've already resolved that we need to re-sign Mertens and Rico Wolfe next summer. They're critical pieces of our bench puzzle.

Marcelino Augusto ensures the Clippers are toothless in the rematch, putting up 32 points and 10 rebounds in our 101-85 rout. Mateen Yeaton has 21 points and 9 rebounds, Zelipe Gama 15 points and 10 assists prior to fouling out.

Our first loss of the month comes in a 122-115 shootout against the Bucks. It's not often that a 31 point from Marcelino Augusto paired with 24 points from Mateen Yeaton and 12 bench points from Louis Mertens results in a loss, but it did tonight.

We snap back for a 113-92 field day over the tanking Wizards, with all five starters having great games. To wit:

PG Zelipe Gama - 20 points, 13 assists
SG Mateen Yeaton - 33 points
SF David Jackson - 17 points, 10 rebounds
PF Marcelino Augusto - 21 points
C Andrew Bogut - 12 points, 13 rebounds

Marcelino Augusto and Mateen Yeaton literally combine to lead us 106-97 over the Lakers. Augusto has a sensational game of 42 points and 14 rebounds and Yeaton scores 31 points. They were the only two Nuggets to break double-digit scoring. Now that's a sign of major dominance.

108-93's the final over Sacramento and it's the Marcelino Augusto and Mateen Yeaton show again. Augusto fills in an impressive statline of 33 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks and 4 steals, while Yeaton leads all scorers with 37 points. The difference between this game and last is they get some small assistance of 12 points and 10 assists from Zelpe Gama.

The Suns shock us 122-117, handing us our second loss and continuing our streaky showing in shootouts. Marcelino Augusto's 33 points and 13 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton's 26 points can't save us when the rest of the team takes the night off, both on offense -and- defense against one of the league's worst teams.

Worse yet, Mateen Yeaton bruises his biceps and it's a significant factor in our narrow 115-112 loss to the Jazz. Marcelino Augusto tries his best with 35 points and 9 rebounds, but neither his outing, nor David Jackson's 24 points, nor Louis Mertens's 11 bench points can prevent us from dropping two in a row.

The month ends with a split back-to-back, meaning we've lost 3 of the last 4. We beat the Spurs 94-79 on Marcelino Augusto's 24 points and 11 rebounds, Zelipe Gama's 21 points and Louis Mertens's repeat 11 bench points, but Portland pulverizes us 101-87 as only Marcelino Augusto (32 points, 10 rebounds) comes ready to play.

Despite the worrying skid, we've clinched the Northwest yet again and our magic number is 1 for the top seed on the 46-26 Mavericks, as we're 55-17. With all the divisional teams at .500, it's looking like once again the Northwest will be sending all its teams to the playoffs. Dallas pretty much has the Southwest locked up and Sacramento's already clinched the Pacific at 42-32, as the Lakers and Warriors are both 29-43.

Toronto's more or less got the #1 overall seed in the playoffs clinched, as they're 60-12 and it'd take a collapse of epic proportions and our winning out to wrest it away from them. Atlanta's got a 6.5 game lead on the Magic at 52-20, while the 44-28 Bucks enjoy a 4 game advantage over the Pistons, who haven't been able to parlay Gilbert Arenas into a division run. Worse yet, Cleveland had a great march and are only half a game back of Detroit. Unlike the West, .500 isn't going to be good enough and it looks like the Celtics are once again going to be left out of the cold, holding the 14th pick.

But a lot can happen in ten games. Like the 25-49 Heat suddenly improving and leapfrogging the Wizards, who have been fantastically tanking at 24-47, leading them to a dead heat. In fact, Miami can still legitimately pass the Wizards, the Bobcats and the Lakers and quite possibly catch the Rockets and Grizzlies. That's 5 teams. Not good.

On the other hand, they could suddenly tank and fall behind the Pacers and the Clippers, with an outside shot at dropping below the Suns.

Nobody's catching New Orleans, though. They're 17-55 and the Hornets have been so terrible since I joined the league in 2007 their best record is 32-50 (2017) and they've only finished out of the Southwest cellar once (2008 when they finished a game ahead of the Grizzlies).

Now that's an impressive streak of futility.

If I ever get fired from the Nuggets or if I decide I want to go somewhere warmer in my encroaching old age, I'd love to get a chance at building the Hornets into a winning team.

Emeka Okafor is no longer demanding to be traded, by the way. He said he'd like more minutes, but he understands and he's just focused on helping us to a repeat title any way he can.

D-League Report
The Timberjacks have staked out a 1.5 game lead over Bakersfield and Idaho, even as Tzvetan Kishishev's numbers continue their slow decline. On the other hand, he's been bothered by a strained hamstring. The good news is, according to our scouts, he's been showing overall improvements in his game. This bodes well for the future.

Marcelino Augusto has passed Nigel Abel for the scoring title and is presently at 26.3 points a game to Abel's 25.2. Mateen Yeaton's safe at 3rd with 24.4, Corey Neal stalking him at 23.7 points a game.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:22 AM   #346
Coffee Warlord
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Tellin' you. No trading Augusto. You've got the Kobe - Shaq duo without all the drama.
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:21 PM   #347
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
Tellin' you. No trading Augusto. You've got the Kobe - Shaq duo without all the drama.

That's a very good point. I hadn't thought of it that way.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:43 PM   #348
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We've got a lot of nagging injuries to start our last 10 games. Zelipe Gama and Mateen Yeaton are both pretty banged up and Emeka Okafor's still hobbled some as well. So I'm predicting we'll lock up the top seed in the West, but guessing we won't pass Toronto for the top overall seed.

Indeed, we split the opening doubleheader, winning 98-94 over Memphis on Marcelino Augusto's 43 points and 11 rebounds, Andrew Bogut's 13 points and 13 rebounds and Victor Gipson's 10 bench boards. Lowly New Orleans beats us 90-81, Marcelino Augusto's 20 points and 9 rebounds not enough to prevent the loss.

The free fall continues as Minnesota and Seattle sweep us in the next back-to-back. The Timberwolves triumph by a frustrasting 121-120 margin in OT, even though we had 26 points from Mateen Yeaton, 25 points and 9 rebounds from Marcelino Augusto, David Jackson's 14 points and 11 rebounds, Zelipe Gama's 21 points and 16 bench points from Rico Wolfe. It's nowhere near that close in a 111-96 drubbing by the Supersonics, even though Marcelino Augusto was red-hot with 41 points and 15 rebounds. Zelipe Gama garnered 11 points and 10 assists, Victor Gipson 10 bench boards.

Marcelino Augusto and Mateen Yeaton combine to give us the narrow 90-88 win over Golden State to snap the three-game skid. Augusto scores 26, Yeaton 20. I just hope we're back to full strength by the playoffs, because we're playing like crap right now.

We avenge ourselves against the Hornets and get a much-needed 108-71 blowout thanks to our usual juggernauts. Marcelino Augusto's first with 25 points and 10 rebounds, but Mateen Yeaton's right behind with 24 points. Zelipe Gama finishes the night with 10 points and 12 assists.

Andrew Bogut sprains his toe in practice before the first game of our next back-to-back and Victor Gipson gets the start against Memphis. We destroy the Grizzlies by 50 points, 118-68, as Marcelino Augusto and Mateen Yeaton score 27 and 22 points a piece and Rico Wolfe scores 13 off the bench. True to our season-end form though, we lose the next night, 108-103 in Houston despite Marcelino Augusto's 40 points and Rico Wolfe's 11 reserve points.

Finally the doubleheader sweep comes with the last two games of the season. The Suns try their damndest, but we come out on top 121-117 on Marcelino Augusto's 38 points and 11 rebounds, Andrew Bogut's 17 points and 18 rebounds and Rico Wolfe's 17 points to lead the reserves. The bad news is, Mateen Yeaton bruises his sternum and he's going to be iffy for some time. Still, we manage to put away Portland 118-104 in the final game of the season, Marcelino Augusto putting up 29 points and 10 rebounds, Zelipe Gama 20 points and 11 assists. The second team comes to the rescue as Rico Wolfe and Victor Gipson score 18 and 14 points respectively.

West Conference Playoffs Seeding
1. Denver Nuggets (61-21)
2. Dallas Mavericks (55-27)
3. Minnesota Timberwolves (49-33)
4. Sacramento Kings (47-35)
5. Seattle Supersonics (44-38)
6. San Antonio Spurs (41-41)
7. Portland Trailblazers (40-42)
8. Utah Jazz (39-42)

Utah's a much better team than their record indicates, so it's going to be an interesting first round matchup, probably the worst one for us, actually. If we avoid the colossal upset, we should be sitting pretty well for the rest of the field, as long as there's no major injuries.

Mateen Yeaton's back to full health, which is going to be critical.

East Conference Playoffs Seeding
1. Toronto Raptors (69-13)
2. Atlanta Hawks (61-21)
3. Orlando Magic (50-32)
4. Milwaukee Bucks (47-35)
5. New York Knicks (50-32)
6. Philadelphia 76ers (45-37)
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (45-37)
8. Detroit Pistons (45-37)

Absolutely nasty field in the East. The Raptors have a lot of landmines to navigate if we're going to end up with Toronto/Denver V. 41-41 Boston and Chicago had to go home. How the Celtics and Bulls long to be in the West.

The Heat finished at 29-53, ahead of Indiana and the damned tankmaster Wizards in the East and the Hornets, Suns and Clippers in the West. So we're currently sitting with the #6 overall pick if I have my math right. I'll take that for sure.

Scoring
1 Marcelino Augusto (DEN) - 26.9
2. Nigel Abel (MIA) - 25.1
3. Corey Neal (NJ) - 24.1
4. Mateen Yeaton (DEN) - 23.3
12. Paulinho Buboltz - 20.6

My first ever scoring title winner. How cool is that! I'm going to send Larry Brown a thank you note for convincing me to draft Augusto. Yeaton's late-season injuries knocked him out of the #3 spot but that's okay.

Assists
1. Bernard Kelly (MEM) - 11.5
T2. Calvis Graham (LAL) - 10.9
T2. Kenny Graham (DET) - 10.9
8. Zelipe Gama (DEN) - 10.0
T14. Paulinho Buboltz (IND) - 8.1

Rebounds
1. Greg Oden (TOR) - 15.4
2. Jonte Jones (DAL) - 12.9
3. Patrick Riley (SAC) - 12.2
T12. Andrew Bogut (DEN) - 10.5

Blocks
1. Patrick Riley (SAC) - 3.6
T2. Marcelino Augusto (DEN) - 3.0
T2. Derrick Robinson (LAL) - 3.5

Steals
T1. Derrick Sterett (NJ) - 1.9
T1. Brian Metcalfe (PHI) - 1.9
T3. Kyle Smith (CLE) - 1.8
T3. Bernard Kelly (MEM) - 1.8

Rookie Leaders

Points

1. Devone Allen (DAL) - 15.9
2. Keith Attaway (IND) - 15.4
3. Filip Mikulic (HOU) - 12.8
4. Carlton Goree (SAC) - 10.4

Assists
1. Carlton Goree (SAC) - 7.9
2. Filip Mikulic (HOU) - 5.9
3. Keith Attaway (IND) - 4.9

Rebounds
1. Dylan Clark (CHI) - 7.9
2. Charlie Joseph (POR) - 6.7
3. Jeremy Bellairs (GS) - 6.1

Blocks
T1. Louis McNeish (MIL) - 1.5
T1. Walter Hicks (NJ) - 1.5
3. Devone Allen (DAL) - 1.4

Steals
1. Carlton Goree (SAC) - 1.3
T2. Keith Attaway (IND) - 1.2
T2. Devone Allen (DAL) - 1.2
4. Walter Hicks (NJ) - 1.1
5. Jeremy Bellairs (GS) - 1.0

D-League
Tzvetan Kishishhev finished tied for 5th in scoring in the D-League at 15.8 points per game. He also averaged 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.8 steals. As the Timberjacks' leading scorer, he led them to a 31-19 record and West conference champions by 3 games. They face off against the Los Angeles Sea Dogs in the D-League playoffs and hopefully I'll have the luxury of keeping him down there to see if he be the first Nugget of my tenure to win a D-League title.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:03 PM   #349
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Augusto for MVP!
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:22 PM   #350
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
Augusto for MVP!

I fully expect to see him get some votes for sure, but I don't know if he'll win it.
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