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Old 10-10-2008, 07:02 PM   #251
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
Lookin' like you found a real gem in David Jackson, I might add.

Well, it isn't -terribly- hard to find a gem with the 6th pick in the draft. But yes, he's saved our bacons while Tim Davis recovered from the ACL injury and I anticipate that he's the heir apparent to Emeka Okafor at PF. So we'll have the 6'11, 282 lbs Jackson at PF and the 7'3, I forget how much he weights, Davis at C.

That's one inside combo that's going to be great for a good number of years, I imagine.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:07 PM   #252
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Memphis Grizzlies receive
SG Ricky Davis
New Jersey Nets 2017 2nd round pick

New Jersey Nets receive
SF Cory Gervin

What this means for the Grizzlies
Rudy Gay tore his knee tendon early in the month, so Memphis reacted by picking up the 37 year old Davis, who, while no longer the sharpshooter he once was, still provides some offensive punch off the bench. The Nets are one of the worst teams in the NBA, so the 2nd round pick should be among the top 3.

What this means for the Nets
Gervin was Memphis's 1st round pick (26th overall) last year, but doesn't have very exciting potential. At best, he looks like an average bench player, though he's averaging 12.6 points in the D-League. Chances are, he won't even be re-signed at the end of the year.

Advantage: Memphis
Hard to tell why the Nets even made this deal, as Gervin's not even playing for New Jersey and has no real upside to speak of. While Davis will come nowhere near to replacing Gay's production, he gives the Grizzlies a veteran presence and some firepower with the second team, in addition to a high 2nd round crapshoot.

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SF Jason Tackett

Sacramento Kings receive
PG Jordan Muhammad
Memphis Grizzlies 2017 2nd round pick

What this means for the Grizzlies
Tackett's a lock-down defensive player in his 3rd season, drafted 19th overall by the Kings in 2014. He's an end of the bench player right now, but he's also instantly Memphis's best defender, especially now that [b]Rudy Gay[/b']s likely lost for the year. Not much else to recommend him, though.

What this means for the Kings
Muhammed was drafted 22nd overall in this year's draft, but outside of some respectable ballhandling skills, he just doesn't look like much, nor does it look he'll turn into anything, not even a decent backup. The pick's not that great, either. On the other hand, he's signed next year as well.

Advantage: Memphis
Not an exciting deal by any means and insignificant on both ends, but Memphis shores up their weakest area by landing Tackett, which gives them the edge here, especially in an abysmal year for the West.

Seattle Supersonics receive
SG Adam Lopez
Minnesota Timberwolves 2017 2nd round pick

Minnesota Timberwolves receive
SG Bryan Young

What this means for the Sonics
Lopez, taken 17th overall in last year's draft, has some real potential as a ballthief and a shooter, with some good ballhandling for an off-guard. He steps in as Seattle's 6th man and gives them sorely needed quality bench depth, particularly since the coaching staff is still hating on 19 year old Belgian rookie Louis Martens. The 2nd rounder is a nice bonus.

What this means for the Timberwolves
Young is a horrific ballhandler, so much so that he'd be notoriously bad even as a big man. On the other hand, his potential as a scorer and stealer are nothing short of breathtaking, but he's quite raw yet. He was taken 14th in last year's draft and looks superior to Lopez in many respects. On the other hand, the only spot he can play is SG and there's a ton of guys way ahead of him on the bench. That being said, all of the players ahead of him have expiring contracts, with the exception of the starting guards, so there's a good chance he could see a major increase in minutes next year and really start to develop his astronomical potential.

Advantage: Draw
Seattle gets a lot more immediate help here, but if Young can develop and get the playing time to do so, the Timberwolves will have a major steal on their hands, an offensive juggernaut to pair with Kelvin Moody next year, turnover-prone issues aside.

I have to say, I really like Minnesota's gamble here. It's a lost season with Moody gone anyway, so why not take a shot at a player that has potential superstar writ on him?

A balanced offense highlighted by 17 bench points from Steve Neal and 11 points and 10 rebounds from Emeka Okafor powers us to a 101-78 buttkicking of the Warriors to kick February off.

We get our first loss of the month early as we split a divisional doubleheader. Utah goes down 91-76 through the combined efforts of Mateen Yeaton (20 points), Emeka Okafor (11 points, 14 rebounds), Zelipe Gama (10 points, 12 assists) and David Jackson (11 bench points). But the Timberwolves stun us the next night 101-87 despite 34 points from Ron McPherson, 10 points and 14 rebounds from Emeka Okafor and 14 points and 11 rebounds from Tim Davis. Mateen Yeaton has a horrific 3 for 15 night and in general, we shot for crap.

We snap out of it against Cleveland as Mateen Yeaton scores 38 in a 117-85 slaughter of the Cavs. Ron McPherson scores 21, Tim Davis gets 14 points and 17 rebounds and Zelipe Gama gets 15 points and 12 rebounds. Great bench game from David Jackson too, with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

I've noticed Tim Davis seems to really be struggling out there and not taking over games like he should be, which has me thinking that perhaps we should trade him.

We destroy the Nets 108-82 as Mateen Yeaton scores 33, Tim Davis has 16 points and 10 rebounds and Zelipe Gama picks up 12 points and 13 assists. I'm also wondering about Gama too, who's been maddeningly inconsistent. Maybe we shouldn't re-sign the Spainard and maybe last year was a fluke.

All things to ponder as we do a doubleheader before the All-Star break. We narrowly escape with a 109-108 victory over Atlanta as four Denver starters score 20 points or more. Mateen Yeaton leads the way with 27, followed by Tim Davis with 23 and Ron McPherson and Emeka Okafor with 20 a piece, Okafor grabbing 14 rebounds besides. Zelipe Gama is busy all night, dishing out 22 assists. Mateen Yeaton torches the Bobcats for 30 points the next night and Tim Davis makes his case for staying with 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 109-93 win against the Bobcats. Zelipe Gama has his second straight 20+ assist night with 21 and Ron McPherson scores 27.

No noteworthy Nugget appearances in the All-Star skill contests.

David Jackson starts at SF for the Rookies and acquits himself well with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and a block in 29 minutes, but the steal of last year's draft, Justin Barnes, scores 24 and takes home MVP honors in leading the Sophomores to a 104-94 victory.

Mateen Yeaton gets the start at SG for the West in the All-Star game, but has a completely forgettable 2 for 8 showing for 5 points. Luckily, the West gains some measure of legitimacy in trashing the East 109-85 as Georghios Kairis wins MVP for his 23 points.

And so it's decision time with regards to Tim Davis.

A slew of calls around the league reveals that opposing GMs are a little leery of him. As one front office head I talked to said, "The kid's got the talent and he's shown flashes of stuff after coming back from the ACL, but that's a long-term investment to make when we don't know if he's damaged goods or not."

That said, there are teams with a definite interest in acquiring him and so I burn up the phonelines leading up to the trade deadline to put together a package to my liking.

Denver Nuggets receive
SF Lamar Odom
SG Ronnie Brewer
Los Angeles Lakers 2017 1st round pick
Los Angeles Lakers 2019 1st round pick

Los Angeles Lakers receive
C Tim Davis
SG Steve Neal
Denver Nuggets 2017 1st round pick
Denver Nuggets 2019 1st round pick
Atlanta Hawks 2019 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
GM Jestor signals his 100% commitment to rookie David Jackson with this move. He also will free up $8.1 million when Odom comes off the cap next season. Clearly the Nuggets plan on re-signing popular Spanish PG Zelipe Gama, as this gives them the room to do so. Brewer's an average all around backup. The picks could be a tricky situation, though, as this move likely powers the Lakers to a playoff spot in the anemic West and so robs the Nuggets of a second lottery selection. As for the 2019 pick... that's looking like a low 1st as well. On the other hand, the 35 year old Odom can play all 5 positions, greatly enhancing Denver's flexibility.

What this means for the Lakers
Showtime hits the jackpot in landing Davis and suddenly Andrew Bynum's got a fearsome tag-team partner inside. The picks won't be that drastic a drop now that there's this abrupt influx of an extraordinarily gifted player inside to take the pressure off of Bynum.

Advantage: Lakers
GM Jestor just fumbled the ball on this one and gave the Purple and Gold precisely the tools they needed to get back to their lost glory.

Heh. We'll see.

Unfortunately, this also means we're over the imposed $15 million cap by a measly $854,955. Whatever. I'm going to roll with it and hopefully B.B. Dyer won't be too ticked at the end of the season.

Curious move by the Lakers, as they're starting Tim Davis at SF. Then again, Larry Brown's coked up enough to say that Lamar Odom should be the starting C, so who knows?

The Lakers have 20 wins as of the move, by the way.

Lamar Odom is indeed the starting C and gets 13 points and 11 rebounds as we beat the Celtics 105-84 in our first game after the deal. Ron McPherson scores 27, Emeka Okafor has 12 points and 12 rebounds, Zelipe Gama 13 points and 10 assists and Kirk Hinrich's 18 bench points illustrate that we can win and win big even when Mateen Yeaton is shooting 1 for 10.

Things are still clicking smoothly as we thrash the Grizzlies 110-97. Mateen Yeaton scores 20, Ron McPherson 24, and Zelipe Gama plays his way to 14 points and 10 assists. Curiously enough, Lamar Odom garners 15 points and 17 rebounds and I'm thinking maybe Larry Brown isn't so crazy after all.

We help our draft position by spanking the Hornets 105-80. Lamar Odom damn near gets a triple double with 25 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds and a steal and Kirk Hinrich and Marcus Williams add 12 and 10 bench points respectively. Wow, who knew Odom would turn out so well in the early going?

Foul trouble ends Lamar Odom's hot streak, but 33 points from Mateen Yeaton and a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds from Emeka Okafor bail us out in a 94-82 victory over the Hawks to conclude February.

So we're still the class of the NBA at 49-8. We're down to just 3 teams in the West with a winning record.

Denver Nuggets 49-8
Utah Jazz 36-20
San Antonio Spurs 35-21

On the other hand, the Lakers have just one victory since the trade and are in last place in the Pacific. But there's still a lot of games to be played and they're only 5.5 games back of division-leading Sacramento. At least the Hornets are holding strong to Suckville at 15-41.

I wouldn't want to be in the East, where 10 teams have a + .500 record. Toronto's the class of the conference at 44-12, 9.5 ahead of the Knicks.

I'm really glad I don't own the Cavaliers pick this year, as they've opened a 3 game lead in the Central at 33-22 over the Bucks, with the Pacers a half-game off from Milwaukee. Washington's got a 3 game lead in the Southeast as well, over Orlando, with the Magic a half-game in front of the Bobcats.

It's a real down year for shooting. Ben Gordon is the league's leading scorer at 25.7 points a game and Mateen Yeaton is right behind him at 25.5 as the only two players averaging 25 points a game or more.

On the other hand, we've got a lot of assisting going on. Our own Zelipe Gama leads with 11.9 dishes per game, followed by Branko Starcevic with 11.1, A.J. Dunkley at 10.3 and Lebron James at 10.2. T.J. Ford and Dwayne Wade -just- miss the 10 mark with 9.9 thus far.

Rebounding is all Greg Oden at 15.1, Andrew Bynum and Andrew Bogut distantly behind at 12.9 and 12.1 respectively. Josh Smith has stolen the rejections lead with 3.5 per game, traditional leader Andrei Kirilenko second at 3.3, Derrick Robinson the other with 3 or better at 3 exactly. Emeka Okafor ranks 14th at 2.3 blocks a game.

Leland Peterson and Kyle Smith have restored stealing respectability with 2 per game and Mateen Yeaton is right behind them at 1.9 a contest. Zelipe Gama is 17th with 1.5.

Greg Wilden is definitely making a case for the Cavaliers turnaround, leading rookies in scoring with 10.1 points a game. David Jackson is second with 9.5 and it really falls off from there. David Jackson narrowly holds the rookie assist lead with 2.6, as Corey Neal has 2.5, Greg Wilden 2.1.

Greg Wilden again in rebound with 9.3, although David Jackson isn't far off at 8.2. Again, there's a prodigious drop after those two who are going to be the finalists for Rookie of the Year I suspect. It'll probably go to Wilden, who's proving me wrong on his not being worthy of the top pick.

Blocks again is Greg Wilden with 2.6 and David Jackson is a ridiculously distant 2nd at 0.7. Steals is all Corey Neal with 1.2 swipes a game, David Jackson just barely fending off Greg Wilden as they're at 0.7 and 0.6 respectively.

I realize a lot of it is David Jackson's having been our starting C for much of the season, but it gives me a real good feeling that he should be one of our brightest stars for years to come. The starting job is his next year for sure, I think... unless something really wild and crazy happens at draft time.

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: 56 games/56 starts - 18.1 PPG 8.2 APG 3.4 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 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: 57 games/57 starts - 25.5 PPG 3.1 APG 4.4 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.9 SPG
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:15 PM   #253
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Looking back on the trade review of Davis/Odom, I see the writer forgotten to mention Steve Neal. He's been an unexpected offensive surprise this season and he's the first guard off the bench for the Lakers. That said, he's been largely awful in his first several games in Purple and Gold, save for a 10 point outburst against Portland.

Tim Davis, on the other hand, scored 43 points in his Lakers debut against Boston and has broken 20 points or more an additional two games besides. He appears to be fitting seamlessly into the Lakers' lineup, even at SF.

Ours wasn't the only deadline trade, though.

Philadelphia 76ers receive
SF Raymond Badu
Seattle Supersonics 2017 2nd round pick

Seattle Supersonics receive
PG James Wampler
SG Hamilton George
PF Mehmet Okur

What this means for the 76ers
Badu is lazy and not an exciting player in any given area, but his versatility and ability to play every position but C makes him a valuable pickup for the looks Philadelphia can throw. The 2nd round pick should be a high one as well. Badu was taken in the 2nd round, 9th pick, by the Trailblazers in 2012 and shows that 2nd rounders can still make it in this league.

What this means for the Sonics
Okur was released immediately after the trade, so it boils down to Wampler and George for Badu and the 2nd rounder. Wampler, taken in the 2nd round, 15th pick, by the 76ers last year, has a good outside shot and decent ballhandling. He also has respectable defense, something the Sonics sorely lacked. Unfortunately, he has no scoring instincts at all and is buried so far down the depth chart, he's yet to appear in a game. George, the 28th overall pick in this year's draft, has potential to be a defensive playmaker with great FT shooting mechanics and outside shot, but like Wampler, he has no knack for scoring and is just as buried as Wampler.

Advantage: Draw
Seattle did improve their team defense drastically by picking up the youngsters, but if they're not going to be used, what's the point? Conversely, Badu doesn't seem to fit in well with Philly's team makeup.

Cleveland Cavaliers receive
PF James Augustine

Washington Wizards receive
PG Darius Washington

What this means for the Cavaliers
Cleveland needed to pick up some more depth inside and Augustine fits the bill. He's an average all-around backup, but just having another bigger body will help the Cavaliers as the season grinds on.

What this means for the Wizards
With Michael Redd out with a broken leg, Washington needed to recover and the last name Washington is a perfect fit. Great outside shot, good scoring instincts and passable defense mean the Wizards won't miss Redd too much on the bench.

Advantage: Wizards
Good move for both teams, but Washington's a far better player than Augustine.

New York Knicks receive
PG Baron Davis
Los Angeles Clippers 2017 2nd round pick

Los Angeles Clippers receive
SG Johnny Grawer
C Rudy Braun

What this means for the Knicks
What do you do if Carmelo Anthony breaks his wrist? If you're rookie GM Tim Duncan, you pull off a shrewd move in acquiring Davis, who, even at 37, is a shooter to be feared and who still has good enough passing game to be the starting PG. He starts at SG, though, which allows him to concentrate on generating points. Baron's defense and stealing instincts are still at a good level, too. And that's to say nothing of the bonus 2nd rounder or the expiring $7 million contract.

What this means for the Clippers
Braun is cut immediately afterwards, so it comes down to Grawer, a 3rd year pro taken 7th overall by New York in 2014. He's a bust with no reedeming qualities and it's amazing that the Clippers actually dealt for him.

Advantage: New York
There's a big reason why the Knicks are headed back to the playoffs and Tim Duncan's brilliance in his first year of GMing is it. Absolutely sensational steal and it's finally exciting to be a hoops fan in the Big Apple again.

Two days after that deal, the Knicks and Clippers make another exchange.

New York Knicks receive
SG Michael Blunt

Los Angeles Clippers receive
C Patrick O'Bryant
New York Knicks 2017 1st round pick

What this means for the Knicks
Not content, Tim Duncan swoops in to get Blunt, a 5th year drafted 5th overall by the Hornets in 2012. Blunt's got great scoring instincts and some decent shooting moves. Not much of a ballhandler, but has pretty good rebounding for a guard, passable defense and great thievery instincts. He's signed through next season, giving the Knicks a capable replacement for Baron Davis as a 6th man/injury SG starter.

What this means for the Clippers
O'Bryant's an average C with pretty good rebounding and defense skills. His biggest value is in his $5.5 million expiring contract on a team that already has $4.5 million in cap room. Look for the Clippers to be key players in free agency next offseason and with an extra 1st rounder, albeit a likely late 1st rounder, the Red and White could be among the league's most improved teams next year.

Advantage: Draw
Nice trade for both teams.Wolverine Studios The Knicks make themselves better for the next couple seasons an the Clippers clear the way for a renaissance next year.

Cleveland Cavaliers receive
SF Josh Childress
Philadelphia 76ers 2017 2nd round pick

Philadelphia 76ers receive
SF Eric Hicks

What this means for the Cavaliers
Childress isn't very good any more at 33, though he still has a nice outside shot and charity stripe mechanics, in addition to slightly above-average defense. 2nd rounder isn't too exciting, either. This trade was a reaction to Kyle Smith, he of the 26.4 points per game average, breaking his wrist.

What this means for the 76ers
Hicks is a non-descript end of the bench player whose greatest asset is shotblocking. Hard telling why the 76ers traded for him.

Advantage: Cleveland
At least the Cavs were seeking to address a need. The 76ers seemed to be dealing just to deal.

Wow. I think that was the busiest deadline session we've had in years. Of course, a lot of it involved the same teams and were to address injury concerns, but still. I've become a huge fan of Tim Duncan's after seeing those two moves. He's completed the job I started.

Games against the Pacers are always high-energy because of the trade history between our two teams and we come away with a 104-93 win to open the month. Mateen Yeaton scores 29, Ron McPherson is a great second with 26 points and David Jackson chips in 14 points off the bench. Ben Gordon scored 33, Paulinho Buboltz 22, but it just wasn't enough for Indiana.

If you'd have told me Ron McPherson would score 31 points, Mateen Yeaton 25 points and that we'd still lose to the Clippers, I'd have called bullshit, but that's what happens as the Red and White surge back in the fourth to steal the 102-97 victory. Not that I care, really. A win by the Clips is another win that keeps the Lakers in the lottery.

I do, however care when the Trailblazers embarass 110-98 on our own home court to hand us our second straight loss of the year. Once again it's Ron McPherson and Mateen Yeaton doing their parts with 26 and 20 points respectively, but the rest of our team bites it and the Trailblazers abuse us with their big bodies. Suddenly I'm starting to regret trading Tim Davis.

The Spurs blow us out 112-91 in San Antonio on the front end of a back to back and just like that, we're staring down a three-game losing streak and wasting 20 points from Ron McPherson and 10 bench points from David Jackson. We're also getting our tails kicked by big centers. Our depth also takes a hit when Marcus Williams breaks his toe, so we're playing with 11 men. We finally stop the bleeding and rout Phoenix 101-72 the next night behind 21 points from Ron McPherson, 23 points from Mateen Yeaton and 11 bench points from Kirk Hinrich, but it's still looking grim.

Mateen Yeaton bails us out with 28 points and 10 rebounds in a 98-91 win over the Bobcats. Emeka Okafor adds 8 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, as he's battling an ankle injury. We've started Lamar Odom at PF and David Jackson at C the last couple games as a result and the results haven't been pretty to say the least.

We gain a bit of revenge against the Clippers, dropping them 94-83 as Mateen Yeaton scores 23 points. Emeka Okafor is back in the lineup and all five starters reach double-digit scoring.

After watching us waste 32 points from Mateen Yeaton, 12 points and 12 assists from Zelipe Gama and 10 bench points from Kirk Hinrich in a 103-94 home loss to the Bucks, I've had enough. Lamar Odom is getting killed out there and we're already over the $15 million threshold.

So I cut Lamar Odom and sign Bobby Simmons, who I've always liked. Sure his ballhandling skills aren't what they used to be and yeah that means the only guy on the bench who can play C is Lindsey Williamson, but we need David Jackson to be our starting C.

David Jackson has a lackluster outing against the Wizards, but we run free in a 105-85 victory as Ron McPherson scores 31, Mateen Yeaton 20 and we get doubles of 19 points, 12 assists and 10 points, 10 rebounds out of Zelipe Gama and Emeka Okafor respectively.

Unfortunately the Lakers kick our asses by that same 105-85 score in Denver a couple nights later despite 20 points from Mateeen Yeaton and 13 points and 11 assists from Zelipe Gama. Just ugh. Our bench is dreadful.

105-83 victory over Sacramento has me breathing a little easier. Emeka Okafor with 10 points and 15 rebounds, 20 points out of Zelipe Gama, 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench from Mike Nooner and Thabo Sefolosha's 14 bench points have me thinking maybe we can right the ship yet.

It's a narrow victory, but I'll take the 110-102 win against the Suns. Emeka Okafor garners 14 points and 11 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 27, Zelipe Gama gets 18 points and 15 assists and Lindsey Williamson scores 10 off the bench. Ron McPherson and Zelipe Gama both fouled out and David Jackson nearly did so with 5 fouls himself. Rough game.

99-88 loss in Utah. We're still getting abused by opposing centers and frittering away 30 points from Mateen Yeaton and 15 points and 12 assists by Zelipe Gama. B.B. Dyer's leaving ominious voice messages for us to sort it out.

The problem is, we've got 5 guys who are banged up with injuries - Mateen Yeaton, Emeka Okafor, Marcus Williams, Bobby Simmons and Thabo Sefolosha. It's hard to play well with that many nicked up guys.

We beat the Spurs 92-78 with great defense and highlight performances from Ron McPherson (22 points), Mateen Yeaton (21 points), David Jackson (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (13 points, 14 assists). Sadly, we then go out and lose the next night 96-86 to the Trailblazers despite 24 points from Ron McPherson, 16 points and 15 rebounds from Emeka Okafor, 11 points and 18 rebounds from David Jackson and 14 points and 15 assists from Zelipe Gama. Their bench ate us alive. That's all there is to it.

I'm sure feeling like a fool this April Fool's Day. We've got the division and the #1 seed locked up at 57-15, but we've been playing dreadfully as of late. We still only have 3 teams with winning records in the conference. The Hornets have improved to 22-50, making them 3rd worst in the league rather than 2nd and the Lakers have shot up to 30-42 and are in danger of making the playoffs.

Still 10 teams with winning records in the East, the defending champion Raptors now the holders of the league's best record at 58-14. I won't report on the rest as I want to play out the rest of the regular season.

Our morale gets a huge boost in sweeping a doubleheader. We down Memphis 100-92 behind 28 points from Ron McPherson, 21 points from Mateen Yeaton and 20 points and 10 assists out of Zelipe Gama. Mateen Yeaton takes the sting out of the Hornets with 31 points, Ron McPherson scores 25 and David Jackson just misses a triple double with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists in a 121-94 pasting in New Orleans.

Another back-to-back, another set of crushing wins. 29 points from Mateen Yeaton, Ron McPherson's 23 points and doubles from Emeka Okafor (10 points, 12 rebounds) and David Jackson (13 points, 17 rebounds), conspire with 14 bench points from Thabo Sefolosha to knock off the Timberwolves 108-82. The worst team in the NBA gets treated like it by Mateen Yeaton who rips the Sonics for 37 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists and Zelipe Gama kicks in 21 points to staunch Seattle's firepower and cruise to a 101-74 victory.

Strange game against Golden State, but we win easy, 107-84, as Ron McPherson scores 22, Emeka Okafor has 11 points and 10 rebounds and the old Kirk Hinrich returns with 24 points to lead all scorers as a reserve. Lindsey Williamson added a bonus of 10 points off the bench himself.

Another victory over the Hornets, keyed by 32 points from Mateen Yeaton. 98-81 was the final and credit goes to Emeka Okafor (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Mike Nooner (10 bench points) as well.

Some dreadful shooting against the Grizzlies, but we hold them to 30% on the floor in the 87-68 win. Ron McPherson carried us on his back with 34 points and I'm more glad than ever I stole him away from the Hornets. Like I said when his name appeared in his draft class, he was the player I really coveted out of his group. Mateen Yeaton scores 22 and Zelipe Gama helps out with 10 points and 11 assists. The next evening hosts a 95-78 win over the Rockets that was all Ron McPherson's 38 points, although 12 points and 18 assists from Zelipe Gama certainly didn't hurt.

Our 8-game win streak ends with a 98-83 loss to the Suns in Phoenix. Mateen Yeaton scored 26 and Zelipe Gama had 14 points and 11 assists, but when your entire bench combines for 6 points, you know it's going to be a long night. We rebound for a 121-80 beatdown of Portland to end the regular season though, a much needed moral victory. Give due credit to Mateen Yeaton (26 points), Emeka Okafor (15 points, 15 rebounds), Zelipe Gama (19 points, 11 assists), Bobby Simmons (13 bench points) and Kirk Hinrich (14 bench points).

I'll take a 66-16 record, though I'm scared. Very scared, because the Lakers are on the verge of qualifying for the playoffs.

They beat Portland the next night and suddenly they and the Traiblazers are tied for the 8th seed in the West.

...FUCK!!!!! The Lakers make it.

Karma police, indeed.

West Conference Seedings
1. Denver Nuggets (66-16)
2. Utah Jazz (53-29)
3. San Antonio Spurs (52-30)
4. Sacramento Kings (42-40)
5. Minnesota Timberwolves (40-42)
6. Dallas Mavericks (40-42)
7. Houston Rockets (39-43)
8. Los Angeles Lakers (37-45)

I'm beyond pissed right now. But I have nobody to blame for it but myself.

East Conference Seedings
1. Toronto Raptors (67-15)
2. Washington Wizards (52-30)
3. Boston Celtics (50-32)
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (47-35)
5. New York Knicks (47-35)
6. Milwaukee Bucks (46-36)
7. Orlando Magic (44-38)
8. Indiana Pacers (43-39)

I'm so angry I don't even want to do the league leaders. The Hornets missed the 2nd worst record in the league by a single flipping game to boot.

Ugh. I not only screwed out of two lottery picks, I face the one team I genuinely fear to play in the playoffs, the one we have a long and heated history with.

If we lose, I fully expect to be fired. That's all there is to it.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:24 PM   #254
Izulde
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I'm still furious, so it's up to the article to do the talking.

"What a wild and crazy season it's been in Denver which has seen one of the fastest starts in NBA history go crashing and burning following the trade of Tim Davis to the Lakers and the subsequent cutting of Lamar Odom.

As fate would have it, that deal turned the Lakers' season around and they're now in the playoffs as the #8 seed, facing off against the Nuggets. There's a lot of passion in this series and the two have a long, recent history in the playoffs. Throw in the Davis angle and it just gets that much more exciting.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Calvis Graham
A big reason why Davis was traded was so that Denver could free up the room to re-sign Gama this offseason. The Spainard was terrific in last year's Finals run and he showed up this year as well, averaging 11.9 points, 11.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.4 steals in the regular season. He runs Denver's offense flawlessly and while not the most fundamentally sound defender, he makes the steals and blocks to be a gamechanger on that end of the floor.

Graham is a brilliant passer and has good offense and defensive skills. He averaged 13.9 points, 9.6 assists and 1.4 steals in the regular season. It's tough to say who's the better of these talented young guards; they're that close.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Kyle Hoiberg
Nobody can forget Yeaton's miracle play during the Finals run last year. He also finished second in the league in scoring during the regular season at an even 25 points a game. 1.9 blocks and 1.8 steals make him, like Gama, a playmaker that overcomes a lack of technique on defense. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's one of the biggest SGs in the league.

The 25 year old Hoiberg was expected to be the next Kobe Bryant, but so far he looks more like a shooting star (23.3 points in the regular season) with some theft skills (1.3 steals). He still has some growing to do, but he's going to have a difficult time against Yeaton and Mateen's ability to limit him will be a key point to this series.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Ron McPherson vs. Tim Davis
McPherson's been a godsend to Denver's offense, giving the Nuggets another explosive scorer as he averaged 19 points a game in the regular season. His defense doesn't get talked about much, but he's the type of lockdown player who can frustrate opponents all night long.

But then there's Davis, who stands 7'3, 294 lbs. He's a monster and a magnificient defender in his own right. After the trade, he finished averaging 18 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. Curiously enough, though, he can't block worth anything despite his size and he's not as savvy in basketball IQ as he should be, which is why he doesn't dominate to the degree that he could. He's still got the huge size advantage over the 6'7, 196 lb McPherson, though.

Advantage: Lakers

Power Forward
Emeka Okafor vs. Derrick Robinson
How much longer can ageless Okafor last? He's 34 years old and while his skills are declining, he still managed to average 11.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and a steal per game in the regular season. He's a terrific shotblocker, great defender, solid rebounder... In short, he's doing all the dirty work and providing as much offense as he can, just as he has been ever since he arrived in Denver.

Robinson averaged 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.3 steals in the regular season. He's not an explosive player by means, but he's got the hops to reject lots of shots. Chances are, though, that he'll have trouble against the much more muscular Okafor and be undone by the veteran Nuggets forward.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
David Jackson vs. Andrew Bynum
The rookie Jackson, who the Nuggets moved up to get with the 6th pick in this year's draft, has potential to become a solid NBA center, but he's not quite there yet. 9.2 points, 8.3 rebounds in the regular season and he's still raw. Very good rebounding though and excellent ballhandling for a big man.

7', 285 lbs isn't quite as big a mismatch as you might expect, because Jackson weighs in at 6'11, 282 lbs. Bynum didn't look as dominant as he used to with Bryant around, resulting in lowered numbers of 18.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. Make no mistake about it, though, Bynum's still a gamer and he should own the upstart.

Advantage: Lakers

Bench
Kirk Hinrich is still a good player and averaged 6.3 points a game in the regular season, but the Nuggets have a five man bench due to Marcus Williams being out with a broken toe. Denver has a slate of good defenders, but really no offensive sparkplug, which has been killing them in games down the stretch.

Steve Neal proved his early hotness in Denver was no fluke, as he finished with 7.2 points a game off the bench. Neal's also the lone studly defender on a team that lacks a strong bench outside of him.

Advantage: Draw

Final Thoughts
This should be a very close series, thanks to GM Jestor's ill-fated trading of Davis and Neal to the Lakers. There's a lot of tension between these teams as we've said before. Ultimately, that deal will come back to haunt Denver, as the Lakers will use their superior size to pull off an upset that's not really all that much of an upset.
Prediction: Lakers in 6

...Yeah. I could see exactly that happening, sad to say.

Game One
Mateen Yeaton shows off his playoff cred with 28 points and Bobby Simmons adds a helpful 12 bench points, but we get our asses handed to us. It wasn't even as close as the score says. Andrew Bynum had a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, Tim Davis scores 26 in a revenge move, Kyle Hoiberg scores 28 and Calvis Graham nets 13 points and 10 assists. We could very well be looking at a sweep here.
Final - L.A. Lakers 109 Denver 99

Game Two
You know what happens when a superstar gets angry? He goes out and scores 32 points like Mateen Yeaton does. Zelipe Gama comes alive for 14 points and 11 assists and we get enough out of everyone else to force a series split. Kyle Hoiberg scored 20 for the Lakers and Tim Davis is a man on a mission, getting a frenzied 27 points. We've secured the split, but it wasn't easy.
Final - L.A. Lakers 99 Denver 106

Game Three
Off to L.A. and we're in trouble over these next two games. At least, that's my thinking. Yep, we are. Mateen Yeaton bangs up his wrist and we're done. 16 bench points from Bobby Simmons don't mean shit as Kyle Hoiberg steamrolls us for 31 points, Tim Davis scores 20, Calvis Graham doubles with 15 points and 13 assists and Steve Neal pours a plentitude of salt for 10 bench points. We.are.done.
Final - Denver 89 L.A. Lakers 101

Game Four
And then it came. The Emeka Okafor rant in the lockerroom before the game. He said it didn't matter what we did in the regular season, that we needed to get our heads out of our asses and play like the champions we're capable of being, among other things. Team captain speech delivered, we go out and crush the Lakers. Ron McPherson scores 28 to negate Tim Davis's 27 points, Zelipe Gama gets 12 points and 11 assists, but the real story was rookie David Jackson busting out for 17 points and 14 rebounds. Emeka Okafor and Mateen Yeaton also had 17 points, Okafor just missing the double with 9 rebounds. Outside of Davis, the Purple and Gold got 11 points and 12 assists out of Calvis Graham and 14 bench points from Troy Murphy. A very critical game to even the series.
Final - Denver 118 L.A. Lakers 96

Houston upset the Jazz in a stunning sweep, washing away one of the teams with a winning record in the West. All the other series around the league are still ongoing after four.

Game Five
Back home in Denver and I'm thinking we really need this game for the momentum it brings. For the first time this series, we hold Tim Davis to under 20 points, but Andrew Bynum makes up for it with 27 points and 14 rebounds and Kyle Hoiberg adds 23 points as well. But then Ron McPherson scores 20, Mateen Yeaton fights through his wrist injury for 24 points, Zelipe Gama gathers up 13 points and 14 assists and team captain Emeka Okafor bulldozes his way to 17 points and 10 rebounds. But the real hero? Marcus Williams, back from his broken toe, energizing our bench with 10 points in 10 minutes to serve as the differencemaker. We've got the momentum!!!!
Final - L.A. Lakers 93 Denver 101

The Knicks' return to the playoffs in what seems like decades is fairly short, as the Cavaliers oust them in five. Toronto takes a step to defending their title by eliminating Indiana in five as well. A lot of close series going on here and we're seeing some thrilling basketball.

Game Six
I want to win this game. Close out the series, breathe a sigh of relief, give thanks, let our superstar heal up, etc. But it's a tall order when dealing with a frenzied crowd in Los Angeles. What follows is one of the most spirited, most heated playoff games I've ever seen. Andrew Bynum explodes for 34 points and 10 rebounds, Kyle Hoiberg scores 20 and Calvis Graham is everywhere with 14 points and 18 assists before fouling out. And then it's our turn. Mateen Yeaton scores 24 points and so does Ron McPherson. Zelipe Gama has 12 points and 15 assists. But in a series that's seen hero after hero, there's no bigger one than tonight's. Emeka Okafor, our team captain, the one who galvanized us with the pre-Game 4 speech, shrugs off his 34 years and eroding skills to slam the Lakers for 25 points and 10 rebounds. Game. Set. Match. NUGGETS!!!
Final - Denver 111 L.A. Lakers 102

We've dodged a huge bullet here. I'm overjoyed that we won and truth is, we could've just have easily lost. That's how much better I unintentionally made the Purple and Gold with that trade. They'll be back next year and one of the favorites, I'm sure.

Lot of series ended tonight. Boston over Milwaukee, Washington over Orlando and Kings over Timberwolves. I give mad props to Minnesota for taking Sacramento to six games without Kelvin Moody.

San Antonio/Dallas is going the full 7 games and I'm secretly rooting for the Mavericks, just because I love Jonte Jones that much. Unfortunately, Dallas's lack of offensive options outside of Jones dooms them in the 123-118 defeat.

But hey, it's okay. We survived the nastiest possible draw we could get in this playoffs and I have a pretty good feeling about our chances to get back to the Finals.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:23 PM   #255
Izulde
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It's a great sense of relief to be in the second round. My mistake didn't cost us after all, but now we're heading into wild card territory, against a team we don't have a whole lot of familiarity with. Maybe the news article can shed some light.

"Not even Tim Davis could carry the Lakers to an upset of the Nuggets. Denver's even more determined than ever to get back to the NBA Finals as the team is closing ranks in full support of GM Jestor.

"Jestor and the front office have done a great job of managing this team. How many consecutive division titles do we have? And how many times have we gotten the #1 seed in a row now? That's the work of a smart front office, putting together winning teams year in and year out. Blast him for the Davis deal if you want, but he's building for the future", argued team captain Emeka Okafor.

Rookie C David Jackson was even more pointed in his remarks. "This is the people are saying about the GM. It's also that they're saying I'm not good enough to be a championship contender's starting center. I say that. This team almost won it all last year without a true center and I'm going to help carry the Nuggets to a championship."

The Lakers were a tough test; the veteran-laden Kings will be an interesting one, featuring a familiar playoff foe for Denver.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Kevin Martin
Gama has picked up right where he left off in the regular season, averaging 11.8 points, 11.3 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals in the opening round. He's banged up a bit with a sprained toe, but he's still going to go all-out and won't miss a start.

The 33 year old Martin is a great defender with a filthy offensive game. Better suited to SG, but his 6'7 frame matches up well against Gama. In fact, he's so good on offense, that he's the Kings' leading scorer in the playoffs, averaging 20.3 points, 7.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals in the opening round. The most obscure $13 million man in the whole league, though America knows his name after that first round.

Advantage: Kings

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Tracy McGrady
Yeaton's fully healthy again and that spells danger for Sacramento, as he averaged 23 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2 steals and a block despite fighting through that nagging injury against the Lakers. If he stays whole here, it could be a short series.

McGrady was a shrewd one-season rental in free agency. Even at 37, he's got the size and offensive repertoire to compete with Yeaton. Not a shutdown defender or a playmaker on that end anymore, he's still to be respected. He averaged 17.2 points and 4.5 rebounds against Minnesota.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Ron McPherson vs. Dirk Nowitzki
You know McPherson had a rough series when going up against someone who's 7', 245 lbs is actually a relief. That said, although he failed to corral Tim Davis for much of the series against the Lakers, he averaged 19.7 points and 1.2 steals. He's proven time and again why Jestor coveted him so much out of the others in his draft class, because McPherson is the perfect for the Nuggets. He's the #2 option to Yeaton and he's asked to keep the opposing swingmen from scoring.

Nowitzki can still bring the heat offensively, though not like he used to. He averaged a career-low 10.7 points and 6.2 rebounds in the opening round and his defense is absolutely horrific. Size mismatch aside, Nowitzki's going to get absolutely torched by McPherson.

Advantage: Nuggets

Power Forward
Emeka Okafor vs. Mike Vines
Okafor looked 10 years younger against the Lakers, motivating his teammates and putting on a tour de force to average 15 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. He'll continue to be vocal in this round, cautioning the rest of the Nuggets against complacency while doing his usual rebounding, defending and blocking routine, getting his points wherever he can.

The Kings have succeeded in finding real gems in the mid-late 1st round and Vines is certainly one of them. Taken 12th overall in 2010, he's blossomed into one of the best defenders in the NBA and has explosive inside power and scoring instincts. He averaged 17 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.5 blocks in the first round and Okafor will have his hands full trying to contain him.

Advantage: Draw

Center
David Jackson vs. Sean Griffin
Jackson was abused by Andrew Bynum in the last round, but as his above comments show, the brazen rookie isn't lacking in confidence despite the beating. He averaged 9 points, 11 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks versus the Lakers and should have a much easier time of it here.

Because Griffin, taken 15th overall by the Kings in 2013, is arguably the worst starting C out of the remaining playoff teams. Some nice shooting game, but he often looks lost on the court and is a mediocre player overall who doesn't appear to have much upside. He's also 6'8, 244 lbs vs. Jackson's 6'11, 282 lbs. That's twig versus rock and rock will crush twig. Griffin averaged a weak 6.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals against the Timberwolves. In fact, he wouldn't even be starting right now if Justin Barnes wasn't hurt, forcing a shift of Nowitzki to SF and McGrady to SG.

Advantage: Nuggets

Bench
Denver's bench has been greatly maligned, but Bobby Simmons, Thabo Sefolosha and Marcus Williams, newly returned from a broken toe, all averaged 6 points in the first round and the reserves have more than enough defense to spare.

What the Nuggets don't have is a player like Justin Barnes, the heralded steal of his draft class in just his second season. Barnes is banged up with a shoulder injury, hence why he's the 6th man. But he's got excellent rebounding instincts for a guard, and a gorgeous shooting stroke and instincts. He also still found time to average 12.5 points against Minnesota despite the injury. Of the other reserves, Luke Ridnour is still an excellent safety valve for running the offense and former Nugget Steven Caspers is the bench's stopper.

Advantage: Kings

Final Thoughts
This series is going to be like the Lakers/Nuggets matchup. A white-knuckled back and forth showing that should go the full limit. If Denver can, they should try and get the knockout punch in early before Barnes gets fully healed. But we see it more likely to go the full seven games, in which case we'll only give the nod to the Nuggets because of homecourt advantage.
Prediction: Nuggets in 7

Oh, I don't know about that. I think we can win in sooner games than that, though it'll rely on David Jackson really stepping up and showing why I moved up to get him. Hope our loudmouth rookie's got the game to back up his balls.

Game One
This was a knockdown, drag-out slugfest, one in which we limited the Kings to 31.8% shooting. I really admire Mike Vines's game though in getting 17 points and 14 rebounds. But he couldn't do it alone, not when Ron McPherson leads all scorers with 21 points and Emeka Okafor doubles with 10 points, 10 rebounds. Despite the low score, we shot 50% from the floor as Larry Brown preached careful, controlled shot selection.
Final - Sacramento 74 Denver 87

Game Two
Another night, another sub-40% shooting performance from the Kings (37.8%). Kevin Martin was the one who did his best tonight for Sacramento with a sensational 24 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. But once again, no one to give him support. And when Mateen Yeaton has 20 points, David Jackson backs up his smack talk with 10 points and 14 rebounds and we get 14 and 10 points a piece from second-teamers Marcus Williams and Mike Nooner respectively, it adds up to another win as we're just flat-out having our way with the Kings.
Final - Sacramento 83 Denver 104

Game Three
Into Sacramento we go, with the Kings really having their backs to the wall. I'm expecting a fight on our hands and we get one as Dirk Nowitzki wakes up for 26 points, Sean Griffin comes out of nowhere for 12 points and 18 rebounds and Justin Barnes tees off for 13 points from the bench. In counterpoint, we get absolutely magnificient performance out of Emeka Okafor with 28 points and 18 rebounds, Ron McPherson scores 21, Mateen Yeaton 22 and our bench plays well again with Mike Nooner's 10 points and Lindsey Williamson's 11 rebounds. But it's not enough as Sacramento outshoots us 52.4% to 47.8% and that's the differencemaker in this thrilling 5-point game that's unfortunately a loss.
Final - Denver 99 Sacramento 104

Game Four
We need to strangle Sacramento here. A loss here and suddenly the Kings are back in this and we've got a war on our hands. For the third time this series, we limit them to conversion in the 30s from the floor (38.4%) and Mike Vines is the lone King of note with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Countering that is 23 points from Ron McPherson, 12 bench points out of Kirk Hinrich a pleasing 10 second team points from Lindsey Williamson, who's really stepped it up the last couple games.

Cleveland's dreams of glory are crushed as the Raptors rip through them in a sweep. Still, this is the farthest Lebron James has gotten in a very, very long time and I expect the Cavaliers will be back in the thick of it next year. Everyone else plays on, though it could all be over for each series after this next game.

Game Five
Ahh, the friendly confines of Mile High City. I'm fairly confident we can close the deal here. And we do, with surprising ease. Despite 23 points from Tracy McGrady and 12 points and 15 rebounds from Sean Griffin, we hold Sacramento to 35% from the floor. 31 points from Ron McPherson, 23 points from Mateen Yeaton, 16 points and 13 rebounds from Emeka Okafor and 13 bench points from Kirk Hinrich and we've booked ourselves a return trip to the Western Conference finals. I knew we could make this a fairly short series.
Final - Sacramento 90 Denver 106

Boston stuns Washington in 5, which leads me to believe that the Raptors getting back to the Finals is a virtual lock.

We find out our own West opponent a couple nights later when San Antonio puts away the Rockets in six.

The Lakers in Round 1, Dirk Nowitzki in Round 2, the Spurs in the Conference Finals, likely the Raptors in the Finals if we make it there.

This is like running the gauntlet of all our familiar playoff foes.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:07 PM   #256
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very ballsy on the trade, dont let this season end in anything but a finals appearance...
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:42 PM   #257
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHawk00 View Post
very ballsy on the trade, dont let this season end in anything but a finals appearance...

I'm certainly hoping for that, but the Spurs are not going to be an easy draw by any means.
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:04 AM   #258
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I hate playing the Spurs. Them, the Mavericks and the Lakers are the three teams we've developed extensive playoff history with in the time I've been here. Sometimes we've won, sometimes the other's won, but every series is a struggle on both sides. Even the sweeps. This is going to be tough.

"The two best teams in the West fittingly meet in the conference finals (Sorry Jazz fans, but Utah was a paper tiger). This matchup has all the makings of an epic series and basketball fans should be in for a real treat.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Julian Wright
Despite being hampered by a toe injury against the Kings, Gama's still averaging 8.7 points, 10.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks for the playoffs. He's restored to full health now which isn't going to help the Spurs any. Even injured, the Spainard's skillful as a matador in directing Denver's offense.

When will the Spurs finally get a real PG? Wright at the point continues and while he's averaging 13.5 points, 7.6 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks in the postseason, he's the antithesis in many ways to Gama. On the other hand, there's a major size mismatch that should play into the great-defending Wright's favor. And of course, Wright's a much better points-producer than Gama.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Brandon Roy
So what if Yeaton hasn't been putting up the eye-popping numbers of last year's Finals run? He's still averaging 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.5 blocks and he's still Denver's most valuable player. But then again, he's notoriously struggled against the Spurs in the postseason, a troublesome trend for Nuggets fans.

If the Spurs leave Roy one-on-one against Yeaton, they're just asking to get abused. Roy doesn't have the muscle to contain the Nuggets superstar and while he's a good defender, he's not the shutdown type that Wright or Joe Johnson is. We expect to see San Antonio do a lot of SG shuffling to keep a big body and defensive specialist on Yeaton at all times. Roy does have a splendid all-around game though and comes into this series averaging 19.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Ron McPherson vs. Joe Johnson
There's been perhaps no one more critical to Denver's success the last couple seasons than McPherson. GM Jestor's acquisition of him has proved brilliant, as McPherson's developed into a supreme scorer and shutdown defender. So much so that he's averaging 20 points this series and has done a better than expected job against players much, much bigger than him in Tim Davis and Dirk Nowitzki the last two rounds.

Which is why McPherson has to be overjoyed that Johnson is just 6'7, 235 and a player much more equal to his size level. This could be worrisome for Johnson and the Spurs, as he's San Antonio's leading playoff scorer with 20 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He's not the lockdown defender that McPherson is, but he's been known to contain Yeaton in playoff series past. This is going to be a great matchup to watch.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Emeka Okafor vs. Tyrone Dotson
One of the most delightful stories of this postseason has been the re-emergence of Okafor in the point-scoring department. He's averaging 15.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.3 blocks and has been just wonderful to watch. In fact, that 15.6 points per game average is a career high. Not bad at all for a 34 year old defense and rebounding warrior.

All signs point to Dotson getting clobbered by Okafor. A mediocre defender, he has some scoring and rebounding skills as his 10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks attests to this postseason, but he's up against a wily master in Okafor and Dotson just doesn't have the skills to compete with that, even if he's 25 and a 6th year pro.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
David Jackson vs. Yao Ming
Jackson talked a big game before the Sacramento series and was going up against an inferior opponent. So what did he do? The same middling performance he's shown to date, resulting in updated playoff averages of 9.6 points, 9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. That's not going to cut it against somebody like Yao.

Jestor was quoted in the preseason as saying the Spurs' signing of Yao would propel them to the top of the West and he was right. Even at 36 years old, the 7'6, 310 lb Chinese behemoth is still a force on offense, still able to gobble up the rebounds. He's averaging 14.8 points and 9.7 rebounds in the playoffs and is poised to have an absolutely dynamite showing against the cocky rookie Jackson.

Advantage: Spurs

Bench
Kirk Hinrich is still dependable on the bench, averaging 6.6 points and Thabo Sefolosha has shown flashes of his old clutch greatness in averaging 6 points. Lindsey Williamson is the unsung hero of the Nuggets' reserves, averaging 5.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and playing sensational defense.

JJ Alvin has been a terrific offensive sparkplug off the bench for the Spurs, averaging 8.8 points and 5.4 assists. On the other hand, he's an absolute zero on defense. Shawne "Nuggets Killer" Williams on the other hand, is as clutch as ever, averaging 7.5 points and 5.7 rebounds with solid defense. Josh Boone is contributing 6.4 points and 4.5 rebounds as well. This is a deep, talented Spurs bench with just one question mark. They don't have an elite stopper. Then again, with how anemic the Nuggets' bench is offensively, that may not matter.

Advantage: Spurs

Final Thoughts
With Yao down low and a superior bench, the Spurs are going to make this a series as San Antonio traditionally does. We're going to go ahead and say that home-court advantage will give the Nuggets the win in Game 7, though. Denver's proven tough and resilient this year, even in the face of controversial moves by the front office.
Prediction: Denver in 7

Well, at least they're having faith in us. I'm nervous, though. As I said before, I hate, -hate- playing the Spurs. They always find ways to match up well against us.

Game One
Before the game Larry Brown read the benchmen and David Jackson some of the negative preview press about them. Jackson got so riled up, he went out and not only got 13 points and 10 rebounds, but he greatly limited Yao Ming's contributions, holding him to 13 points and 8 rebounds on 4 for 11 shooting. As for our reserves, Kirk Hinrich and Marcus Williams calmly added 12 and 11 points and the second team as a whole limited the Spurs bench to a high of 6 points from any one San Antonio reserve. [b]Ron McPherson[/b/] scored 20 points and that was it for the Spurs on a horrendous night for them. Tyrone Dotson found his way to 11 points and 13 rebounds and that was it. A terrific dismantling of the Spurs to start the series.
Final - San Antonio 76 Denver 109

Game Two
Another agonizing night for the Spurs, as Yao Ming was the only statistical star with 10 points and 14 rebounds and even that highlight was marred by a 3 for 11 showing. Conversely, Ron McPherson had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Emeka Okafor played brilliantly with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 blocks, Mateen Yeaton scored 21 and our bench still played mad. Kirk Hinrich chipped in 15 points and Mike Nooner contributed 10. This is going far more smoothly than I expected.
Final - San Antonio 80 Denver 99

Game Three
I know the Spurs aren't as bad a team as they've been playing, so I wouldn't be surprised to see us lose one or even both games in San Antonio. Sure enough, they come out fired up and by the end of the night, every Spurs starter has at least 11 points to his name. Highlights included 12 points and 12 rebounds from Yao Ming and Shawne Williams bursting off the bench for 13 points and 10 rebounds. We countered with 26 points from Ron McPherson, 20 points from Mateen Yeaton and bench showings of 10 points from Kirk Hinrich and 8 points and 14 rebounds from Lindsey Williamson, but it wasn't enough, as our other 3 starters had 2, 4, and 8 points. You can't win basketball games this deep in the playoffs with that kind of shoddy shooting from over half your starters.
Final - Denver 86 San Antonio 100

Game Four
This should be a frantically paced game. The Spurs want to get fully back into it, we want to have them a game away from elimination. And an intense game it is. Mateen Yeaton pours his heart out for 31 points and Ron McPherson scores 21, but San Antonio parries with the best showing yet out of their starting five in this series. Joe Johnson scores 21, Tyrone Dotson grabs 19 points and 10 rebounds and Yao Ming has 19 points and 12 rebounds of his own. Our inside offense has disappeared and it kills us in this heartbreaking 3-point loss. We fall just short and the series is now knotted up.
Final - Denver 95 San Antonio 98

The one bright side is that the Raptors haven't swept the Celtics.

Game Five
Pivotal game of the series right here. Come on, home crowd! What follows is the highest-scoring game of the series. San Antonio's awoken out of its torpor and the Spurs are firing hot now. Brandon Roy scores 25, Joe Johnson adds 20 points and Yao Ming continues to find new life with 14 points and 11 rebounds. But we reverse that with another 31 points out of Mateen Yeaton and a ressurrected Emeka Okafor with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ron McPherson continues to be a critical second option on offense with 27 points and Mike Nooner comes off the bench for 11 points. It all adds up to the momentum-critical 14 point win and we're guaranteed to at the very least play for the Finals berth at home if we don't win in San Antone.
Final - San Antonio 100 Denver 114

The result we all expected in the East occurred tonight as the Raptors kicked away the Celtics in five games and the defending champions await in the Finals to defend their title.

Game Six
Winning here would be huge. We need to eliminate the wear and tear on our guys after Boston could only hold the Raptors off for one game beyond the minimum. But this is a fanatical Spurs crowd that doesn't want us to walk out of here as repeat West Conference champions. Joe Johnson scored 23 points and the Spurs try to work the voodoo by starting Shawne Williams at PF. Williams comes through with 17 points and 10 rebounds and we've got a fight on our hands. Ron McPherson reverses Johnson with 23 points of his own and Zelipe Gama popped off 11 points and 10 assists. David Jackson fought his way to 12 points and 11 rebounds. But again, the hero of this story is the same one it's been all playoffs. Heralded for his offensive outburst, then shut down in the middle of the series and openly questioned as to if he was done, Emeka Okafor arose again, blasting his way through the Spurs for 19 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks, taking home the Game MVP and being the differencemaker. WE'RE GOING BACK TO THE FINALS!!!!!!
Final - Denver 102 San Antonio 91

Fun series. One hell of a fun series. Especially since we won and came out of it at full strength.

Now the epic matchup awaits.
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:30 PM   #259
Izulde
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I find myself staring at the Raptors East Conference Champion and NBA Champion banners hanging in the Toronto arena.

East Conference Champions
2010
2011
2012
2015

NBA Champions
2010
2012
2015

They're the only three-peating conference champions since I've been in the league and the only team to have two periods of consecutive conference championships. In fact, the only other team to have conference championships period after my arrival in the NBA are the Charlotte Bobcats (East Conference -2007, 2008) and we, the Nuggets (2015, 2016).

When people talk about the great NBA dynasties of the 21st century, in some far flung future, they're going to be talking about this 2010s Raptors squad. I mean, we're halfway through the decade and Toronto's already guaranteed to have appeared in least half the Finals in the ten-year period, to say nothing of their 3 NBA titles during that span.

They're trying to become the first repeat champion in a long, long time, certainly since I've been in the NBA and the whole world is abuzz about this Finals matchup, because it's a re-match of last year's championship series. Television ratings look like they're going to be through the roof, which absolutely thrills league brass.

That's what consistently being a winning, deep playoff running franchise brings you. Fame, acclaim, and the ability to be a ratings powerhouse.

But after a while, all that doesn't matter without the greatest prize of all...

A trophy, a banner, a ring.

The article:

"And so we are here again, back for another Raptors/Nuggets NBA Finals. But everything's not the same as it was last year. Denver boasts an improvement starting at center, but Toronto counters that by holding home-court advantage after a late-season Nuggets stumble.

Last season was one of the most thrilling Finals in history, one that went a full seven games and ended in Nugget heartbreak in Denver as they fell just short.

This year promises to be just as exciting a matchup, not the least of which because the Raptors are aiming to become the first repeat NBA champions since the Shaquille O'Neal-led Lakers threepeat of 1999, 2000, and 2001.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. T.J. Ford
Gama struggled with distributing the ball around the bigger Julian Wright in the conference finals and so his playoff numbers fell to 8.7 points, 9.9 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals. Make no mistake about it, though--the Spainard's determined to restore his passing prowess here in the championship round.

Ford's faced with a size disadvantage against Gama and at 33 years old, he's starting to noticeably lose a step. That said, he's the mirror image of Zelipe in the passing game, with more offensive pop to make up for his defensive playmaking deficiencies compared to the Denver guard. Postseason numbers: 10.8 points, 9.7 assists, 1.1 steals.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Justin Richler
There's been a lot of criticism leveled at Yeaton for not having the superhero performances of last year's playoffs, charges that strike us as rather unfair. While his numbers of 22 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks are all down from last season, he's shooting 50.5% from the floor, his best postseason accuracy in years and he's shooting a nice 41.4% from 3-point range. He's still a superstar and nothing anybody says can convince us otherwise.

Richler has been freakishly good this postseason? How good? So good he's averaging 28.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks at... just 21 years old. He's already being called the Canadian Jordan, the Maple Leaf Sniper, and the Ice King, among other nicknames. Not since LeBron James has there been a young man so raved about. That said, there's holes in his game. He surrenders 5 inches to Yeaton and is a subpar passer, but that's not enough to keep this from being the most anticipated position battle in the series.

Advantage: Draw

Small Forward
Ron McPherson vs. David Anyan
This 2016 postseason might well be known as the Year of the Ron. He's not only averaged 20.8 points and 1.1 steals, he's banged against some oversized monsters and been more successful at containing them than their physical disparities suggest he should. Sure all he can do is score and play difficulty-enhancing defense, but that's exactly what he needs to do in Denver's system.

Anyan's only 24, but he's got nearly as good a shooting and scoring set of instincts as Richler. That's a scary swingman set for the Raptors to continue their dynasty around. He's averaging 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in the playoffs. He's also got the defensive chops to contain McPherson, although Denver's SF is better at it than the Raptors' option.

Advantage: Raptors

Power Forward
Emeka Okafor vs. Chris Bosh
The question everyone's asking: How much does the Old Man of the Mountain have left? Okafor's been superlative in his defense and stunning in his point-production this postseason, but he was largely limited for much of the conference finals and there's some concern from Nuggets fans that he may be running out of gas. Don't count him out, though, as Denver's team captain has been playing with a polar bear's ferocity and is averaging 13.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.4 blocks.

No offensive questions surround Bosh, who's put up 18.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in the playoffs. He can snuff out Okafor's offense, but there's some lingering question as to how he'll handle Okafor's physical style, as the Denver PF is known for eating alive spindly fours.

Advantage: Toronto

Center
David Jackson vs. Greg Oden
9.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks aren't bad at all for a rookie C in the playoffs, but Jackson's been talking trash all postseason long and hasn't really put up the numbers to back up the game he's spitting, not even when he has the decided upper hand.

And the upper hand he doesn't have against Oden, who's averaging 13.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.1 blocks this postseason. Having Richler in the lineup allows Oden to focus on a defense and rebounding role and he's so good at each of those aspects, we'd be surprised to see Jackson break 10 points or 10 rebounds even once this series.

Advantage: Toronto

Bench
This Nuggets bench has been furious at being dismissed all playoffs long and really showed it against the Spurs in the West Conference finals. Kirk Hinrich continues to defy time in averaging 7.5 points and 4.4 assists and Lindsey Williamson is still the most underrated player on this team, averaging 5.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 17 and a half minutes, to say nothing of great defense.

But how can even those two hope to compare to the Raptors bench? First of all, there's Andrea Bargnani, one of 5 five-star (5*) players on this Raptors team and the only one on the bench. Then there's Kobe Bryant, who can still light up the scoreboard at any given moment. And of course, Lamar Odom, who can play all five positions and who burns to avenge himself on GM Jestor and the Nuggets for unceremoniously cutting him not long after Denver dealt Tim Davis to the Lakers for his expiring salary. It should be noted that none of the Toronto reserves have noteworthy numbers in the playoffs, but that's because they haven't been given the minutes. You could start a playoff-worthy NBA team just with the Raptors bench, though.

Advantage: Toronto

Final Thoughts
It's going to take a miracle of the highest order for the Nuggets to even push it to six games, much less win the title. The Raptors are stacked so deep, they could field two quality sets of starting fives and not miss a beat. No amount of Denver's pluck and heart can overcome that. In fact, we're projecting a repeat of the 2010 Finals matchup between these two teams, when the Raptors swept the Nuggets for their first title in franchise history.

Yeah, it's not looking good. On the other hand, 16's my favorite number... so maybe luck and the miraculous can happen to give us the 2016 NBA championship?

Game One
It's a savage sellout crowd in Toronto and they're all thirsty for blood and a bonecrushing sweep. Lots of Canadian flags and Richler jerseys and the decibel level is so high, it's a wonder half the arena isn't permanently deaf by the end of the first quarter. It's a tight-fisted, white-knuckle affair marked by heroic defensive stands. The hometown fans have a lot to cheer as David Anyan scores 26 points and Chris Bosh grabs 18 points and 11 rebounds. We fight back with 14 points and 12 rebounds from David Jackson, 23 points from Mateen Yeaton and 11 bench points from Marcus Williams. But the Great Canadian Hero, Justin Richler slashes through us for 28 points, tearing out our hearts and throwing them down on the court in securing the under-10 points victory for the Raptors.
Final - Denver 89 Toronto 96

Game Two
I'm quietly wondering if our best effort was in the opening game. I'm thankful the suite I'm in is soundproof, because the place is rocking at high-volume yet again and there's even more maple leafs than last night, something I didn't think was possible. In fact, this has all the energy of a game where the Canadian national hockey team's competing for an Olympic gold medal. So it's no surprise when not a single Denver player emerges as a statistical star and Greg Oden nearly triple-doubles with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists. But the crowd doesn't care about Oden, because every throat is screaming "RICH-LER! RICH-LER! RICH-LER!" as the new national hero Justin Richler explodes the scoreboard with 32 points and we look completely exhausted and lost.
Final - Denver 80 Canada 102

Game Three
Sports is a funny thing. The eruption of Canadian nationalism has inspired a wave of American patriotism in the stands here in Denver, the seats packed with frantically waved American flags. There's a few Spanish ones too, in homage to Zelipe Gama, I note in amusement. But is this sudden clash of nations and the return home enough to will us to a victory? Well, Justin Richler, despite getting booed lustily every time he touches the ball, shows insane poise in getting 21 points and Greg Oden blocks it all out in getting 11 points and 22 rebounds. Our answer is 21 points from Mateen Yeaton and yet another surreal performance in a postseason of so many this year out of team captain Emeka Okafor, who rides our home fans' passion to a dynamite 23 points and 14 points as we crush the Raptors and get back in the series!
Final - Toronto 76 Denver 100

Game Four
Well, it's not going to be a sweep. We have that much to show for ourselves. But can this impassioned home crowd, who before the game sings the "Star-Spangled Banner" so loudly and proudly Congress can hear them all the way east in Washington D.C., carry us to to tying this series? Mateen Yeaton rises to the occasion with 28 points, but David Anyan matches him point for point with 28 of his own, Greg Oden powers his way to 13 points, 19 rebounds and 6 blocks and Lamar Odom flips off the box I sit in on his way to 13 bench points. We're absolutely destroyed, held to a horrific 36.6% conversion from the floor and it's looking like we're finished.
Final - Toronto 101 Denver 78

Game Five
One more shot at home. We're on the brink of elimination and I expect us to put up a good fight. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Raptors relax and let us have this one so they can win the title in Toronto. It turns out I'm wrong. David Anyan and Justin Richler, with all their youthful energy, don't care when and where they win the title and score 24 and 25 points respectively. Greg Oden puts up 11 points and 13 rebounds and things look grim. Emeka Okafor battles for 12 points and 12 rebounds and Mike Nooner and Lindsey Williamson show the first bench life for us since Game 1 with 10 points a piece. But it requires a magical, breathtaking 38 points from Mateen Yeaton to send the series back to Toronto and move the line to 3-2.
Final - Toronto 93 Denver 105

Game Six
I learn before this game that a capacity Canadian crowd can sing "O Canada" just as powerfully and loudly as the Americans can our own national anthem. The press, the announcers, the blogosphere, everyone seems convinced that this is it. This is where we'll have our first repeat champions since the turn of the century. To tell you the truth, I see it that way too. This Raptors team is just too deep and too talented to beat on a consistent basis. We will ourselves to fight as hard as we can and Mateen Yeaton scores 25 points and Zelipe Gama makes his first appearance all Finals with 11 points and 10 assists. Our defense also rises to the occasion, holding the Raptors to 36.5% shooting. Greg Oden still manages 14 points and 15 rebounds.... and then the Ice King cometh. Justin Richler sinks shot after shot, the Canadian crowd getting more excited with every bucket that goes in and in the end, his 26 points prove the differencemaker. We end the Finals as we began them, with a 7 point loss in Toronto.
Final - Denver 83 Toronto 90

"RICH-LER! RICH-LER! RICH-LER!"

"O Canada! Our home and native land
True patriot love in all thy sons command
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free"

The intermingling of Finals MVP Justin Richler's name being chanted and the Canadian national anthem is too much.

I quickly exit the luxury box to join the rest of the Nuggets in the locker room.

It seems only right that I be there and share the pain of yet another Finals loss with them.

Especially since I may not be here next year.

For through the haze of screams and confetti streams, I saw B.B. Dyer's glare as he mouthed '17 million.'

17 million over the cap and all I have to show for it is this chain of broken dreams.
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Old 10-17-2008, 04:00 PM   #260
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With what you did at Denver, if you are let go....you should get picked up somewhere else.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:49 PM   #261
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacroGuru View Post
With what you did at Denver, if you are let go....you should get picked up somewhere else.

You would think so, but if I get fired, it all depends on if there's any openings available at the NBA level.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:49 PM   #262
Izulde
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Provided I keep my job, there's some questions facing us in the aftermath of our Finals loss.

1. Is Zelipe Gama really the answer at PG?
Gama, while a brilliant floor general, is maddeningly inconsistent on offense and he only showed up for one game this series. On the other hand, he's still young, 25 at season's end, and is one of the most popular players on the team, both in the locker room and among the fans. If he's not the answer, then we need to take a close look at the draft.

2. How much does Emeka Okafor have left?
He's 34 and postseason heroics and team captainship aside, he's going to hit a wall sooner rather than later. While I'm not going to trade him, he's also on the books for two years at an inflated price. We definitely need to look at injecting some youth here in the upcoming draft.

3. Can David Jackson develop into a premiere C?
Yeah, he was a rookie this year and he put up the second best numbers of his class and will receive strong consideration for Rookie of the Year, but he talked a lot of trash that he wasn't able to back up and there's a question as to just how high his ceiling is. If I'm still around, I'll be taking a strong look at the centers available in the draft and I won't hesitate to draft one to give us two big men to be our future inside.

4. Where will our offense come from off the bench next year?
Kirk Hinrich is going to be 37 next year. Lindsey Williamson never has been an offensive weapon and never will be. Thabo Sefolosha turned into a huge disappointment this year. Mike Nooner betrayed himself as a marginal NBA bench player after his dazzling late-season run last year. The rest of the guys won't be back. We need to find a 6th man to pour in the points and serve as our second team sparkplug.

Questions to consider, certainly.

Utah Sixers

PG Brandon Brooks - Golden State Warriors
Won the starting PG spot after getting the fat contract from the Warriors. He doesn't care who he plays for, just as long as he gets to play. Started all 82 games and averaged a career high 14.5 points, along with 8.4 assists as the stats of note. Finished second on the team in scoring, behind raw, but extremely promising 2nd year Walter Coleman, who averaged 15.5 points and has the potential to be one of the next great high-scoring superstars in a league that's already got quite a few in the new generation.

PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
Started 33 games and averaged 21.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks before tearing his ACL and missing the rest of the season. I give a lot of credit to the T-Wolves for fighting their way through to a playoff berth even without their franchise player. When Moody comes back next year, Minnesota's going to be a team to watch.

SF Julius Austin - Miami Heat
Played all 82 games and started 8, averaging 6.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and almost a steal in 22.6 minutes a game. A defensive stud, but a bust offensively and this was the last year of his filthy-rich contract with the Heat. My guess is he turns into a journeyman for the rest of his career, signing min-sal deals each season and hopping from team to team. A huge disappointment, no matter how you slice it.

C Rudy Braun - New York Knicks/Chicago Bulls
Traded to the Clippers at the trade deadline and immediately cut. He signed on with the Bulls in mid-March and in total played 47 games, averaging 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in 6.2 minutes. He's angry about his career's turned out, but that's the way it goes. He just couldn't convert his freakishly awesome physical gifts into production.

PF B.J. Whitehead - Los Angeles Clippers
Signed with the Clippers in mid-November and had a surprisingly effective season, appearing in 69 games and averaging 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12.5 minutes. Every year I wonder if he's going to find his way onto an NBA team and every year he manages to find someone to take him.

SF Brian Robertson - Free Agent
Hasn't appeared in a professional basketball game since 2010, when he stepped on the court with the Sea Dogs. He still keeps hanging in there, though, hoping to get the call. If I end up having to go to the D-League, I'll probably give him a contract, because he's not a bad player by any means, especially not for that level of play.

NBA Lottery

We already hold the #14 pick, thanks to the Lakers, so I'm not terribly concerned with how we do in the lottery. Even we fall, we've still got some prime ammunition to move up if we want to.

We're originally slated to have the #3 pick, but here goes....

14. Chicago Bulls
13. Charlotte Bobcats
12. Miami Heat
11. Chicago Bulls

Yes, the Bulls have two late lottery 1st rounders. The team's going to stay young and damned tantalizing.

10. Philadelphia 76ers
9. Portland Trailblazers
8. Detroit Pistons
7. Golden State (-1)

....Damn it.

6. L.A. Clippers (-1)
5. Memphis Grizzlies (-1)
4. New Jersey Nets (-3)

Yes!!! We're guaranteed a top 3 pick!!!!

3. Phoenix Suns (+4)

TOP TWO!!!!!! TOP TWO!!!!!

2. Seattle Supersonics

1. Denver Nuggets (+2)

NUGGETS WIN!!!! NUGGETS WIN!!!! WE WIN THE LOTTERY!!!! 1ST OVERALL PICK!!!!!!

The celebration in the lottery room and in Denver is off the hook. We're popping champagne and dancing jigs of delerium and all, all is joy.

But then a sobering thought strikes me.

The last time a team of mine had the #1 pick, I was fired. I really hope that doesn't happen again....

NBA Awards
MVP
Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors - 14.8 PPG 15.7 RPG 4.8 APG 2.8 BPG 1.1 SPG
Defensive Player of the Year
Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors - 14.8 PPG 15.7 RPG 4.8 APG 2.8 BPG 1.1 SPG
Rookie of the Year
Greg Wilden - Cleveland Cavaliers - 10.3 PPG 9.4 RPG 2.1 APG 2.5 BPG 0.6 SPG
6th Man of the Year
Channing Frye - Charlotte Bobcats - 8.2 PPG 7.0 RPG 1.5 APG 1.0 BPG 0.7 SPG
Coach of the Year
Larry Brown - Denver Nuggets


Another bullshit MVP award for Oden. That's twice now he's won the MVP when he hasn't deserved it. I really hate the voters sometimes. I certainly don't disagree with Wilden as Rookie of the Year or Brown as Coach of the Year though. Or the 6th Man award for that matter.

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Dwayne Wade - Miami Heat
SG Mateen Yeaton - Denver Nuggets
SF David Anyan - Toronto Raptors
PF Dwight Howard Orlando Magic
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

Yeah, that's a sign of dominance right there. When your team has 2 All-NBA 1st Teamers in the lineup. God, I hate the Raptors. I love Yeaton's first-ever 1st Team award though. Long deserved, if you ask me.

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Zelipe Gama - Denver Nuggets
SG LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
SF Georghios Kairis - Houston Rockets
PF Al Jefferson - Boston Celtics
C Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers

Wow. Gama gets the 2nd Team award. The decision of re-sign or not re-sign just got a hell of a lot harder.

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG Kenny Graham - Detroit Pistons
SG Ben Gordon - Indiana Pacers
SF Kevin Durant - Portland Trailblazers
PF Emeka Okafor - Denver Nuggets
C Jonte Jones - Dallas Mavericks

Another pleasant stunner in an early offseason that's full of them. Okafor picks up the 3rd Team award giving us a Nugget on each of the All-NBA teams. That's just too cool for words.

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Leland Peterson - Washington Wizards
SG Mateen Yeaton - Denver Nuggets
SF Andrei Kirilenko - Utah Jazz
PF Emeka Okafor - Denver Nuggets
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Dwayne Wade - Miami Heat
SG Charles Seegars - Chicago Bulls
SF Josh Smith - Charlotte Bobcats
PF Tyrus Thomas - Philadelphia 76ers
C Patrick Riley - Washington Wizards

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG Corey Neal - New Jersey Nets
SG David Tucker - Dallas Mavericks
SF Larry Smith - Orlando Magic
PF Antonio Sarchet - Phoenix Suns
C Greg Wilden - Cleveland Cavaliers

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Tyson Anderson - Charlotte Bobcats
SG Hamilton George - Seattle Supersonics
SF Garvin Marks - Toronto Raptors
PF Matthew Saunders - New Orleans Hornets
C David Jackson - Denver Nuggets

Want to know how bad this rookie class was? Two 1st Teamers averaged 2.5 points and 1.6 points. Furthermore only 4 rookies averaged higher than 3.6 points.

Like I said, it was a terrible year to have anything but a really, really high pick in, which is part of the reason why I made the move to grab Jackson.

An amazing awards session for us overall, though. We placed somebody on every team but 2nd Team All-Defense and 1st Team All-Rookie (though if the rookie teams weren't position dependent, you know damned well Jackson's name would be on there).

And of course, the #1 pick.

But there's still the phone call I'm dreading.

"Mr. Jestor?"

"Yes, Mr. Dyer?"

"You spent more money than I wanted you to and you traded away Tim Davis, one of our most popular players. But I understand you did it for the cap room next season and you also put together the most decorated team in Nuggets history. You also did one hell of a job in getting a squad that gave the best team we've seen since the '90s Jordan Bulls a run for its money in the Finals. So, do you want to come back next year?"

"YES!!!! ...Um, I mean, yes, I plan on returning next year."

"Good. See you in a few days about next year."
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:42 PM   #263
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Nuggets Strike Gold in Lottery; Now What?

Excitement is at a fever pitch in Denver, where the Nuggets, thanks to a shrewd trade by GM Jestor, have won the lottery and hold the #1 overall pick in the draft. They also own the 15th overall selection and choosing the right players at those spots, particularly the first pick, is going to be absolutely critical if they hope to break the Toronto Raptors' stranglehold on the NBA's crown.

But before we discuss the probable picks, a review of the Nuggets' roster is in order, beginning with the starters.

PG Zelipe Gama - 26 years old - 9th season (Spain
How Acquired:
Obtained via trade with Pistons in November 2015 as part of the Tim Davis deal.
Impact in Denver:
Handed the starting PG spot by head coach Larry Brown, Gama burst out of nowhere after coming to Denver, a surprise selection to the All-Star game and All-Defense 1st Team selection in 2015 and an All-NBA 2nd Team member this season. Silky passing and wicked stealing hands make him a delight to watch in motion with the ball. He's out of contract and one of the reasons why Davis was dealt out again to the Lakers was to free up the room to re-sign the Spainard, who's one of the team's most beloved players both among the fans and among teammates. Could develop into a team captain someday. On the other hand, he's been maddeningly inconsistent, especially with his shooting.
Likelihood of Staying:
We'll call it 55/45 in favor of getting re-signed. He loves it in Denver, loves playing for a winning team and he has great esteem for Jestor and Brown for giving him a chance to be a starter again. The only question is if the Nuggets front office is as interested in retaining him as he is in coming back. We'll tenatively say yes.

SG Mateen Yeaton - 29 years old - 8th season (Indiana)
How Acquired
Obtained via trade from Indiana in the 2013 offseason in a major multi-player blockbuster deal that changed the faces of both franchises for years to come.
Impact in Denver
A permanent fixture as an All-Star starter. A guaranteed placement on an All-NBA team. Two consecutive All-Defense 1st Team appearances. Yeaton is the highest paid player on the roster and he deserves every penny. He's never averaged fewer than 23 points a game in a season since he's been in Denver and he's had some magnificient playoff games. Let's not forget that his lanky 6'8 body creates nightmare matchups for opponents. There's been injury concerns in the past, but he's still the heart of this Nuggets team.
Likelihood of Staying
Yeaton is one of the two players on this roster that will never, under any circumstances be traded as long as Jestor's the GM. He's signed through 2019 and you can bet that he'll be getting a contract extension that will all but guarantee the rest of his career is in the powder blue of the Nuggets.

SF Ron McPherson - 23 years old - 5th season (Maryland)
How Acquired
2015 offseason trade with the New Orleans Hornets that also netted Denver this year's 1st overall pick.
Impact in Denver
Directly responsible for Phillip Gill's getting shipped to the Pistons, as Jestor was determined that McPherson would be the starting SF. He's emerged as a fantastic second option to Yeaton and plays delicious, denying defense. On the other hand, those are his only two skills and he's a bit on the small side for a SF. Brown's been lobbying hard for another SF in this year's draft to shift McPherson to a 6th man role, which would also solve Denver's scoring woes off the bench.
Likelihood of Staying
Signed a contract extension immediately after coming to the Nuggets and has the longest deal with the team, inked through 2021. He's quite cheap for his production too and for that economic value alone, he'll probably stay. On the other hand, it's rumored that Jestor was greatly disillusioned with McPherson's disappearing act in the Finals this year.

PF Emeka Okafor - 35 years old - 14th season (Connecticut)
How Acquired
Obtained from the Bobcats in December 2012 for Caron Butler and picks.
Impact in Denver
One of the best team captains the Nuggets have ever had, he plays thrilling defense, shows mad hops on the blocks and can rebound like nobody's business. He's consistent, too, averaging 10-11, 8-9 rebounds and 2-3 blocks a year each season he's been in Denver. A consistent All-Defense member, his exhilirating offensive outpouring in the postseason helped him net a surprise All-NBA 3rd Team appearnce.
Likelihood of Staying
Still is worth the high dollars he commands, but by the end of his contract in 2019, he won't be. That said, Jestor has already vowed to bring Okafor back every year that his team captain wants to keep playing, because if Yeaton is the franchise's heart, Okafor is its soul.

C David Jackson - 24 years old - 2nd season (Utah)
How Acquired
6th overall pick last year's draft after Denver moved up to the pick.
Impact in Denver
Cocky, loud-mouthed young player whose game, while excellent for a rookie and one of the best of his anemic class, isn't as good as the smack he talks. That said, there's some ceiling there for him to improve and it's believed that the Nuggets front office would like to see him at PF after Okafor retires or is no longer able to be a viable starter.
Likelihood of Staying
Had his rookie option for the third year picked up. A lot of it's going to depend on him and how much he improves. Jestor's known to have an itchy trigger finger with the players he drafts and the front office isn't exactly happy with Jackson's conversations with the press. The fans absolutely -love- him for the brashness, however, and his jersey is already one of the top sellers.

And now the bench players.

G Kirk Hinrich - 36 years old - 15th season (Kansas)
How Acquired
2013 offseason trade with the Atlanta Hawks.
Impact in Denver
Although it feels like he's been in the starting lineup longer than that, Hinrich was the starting PG for only the 2013 season before settling into a bench scorer, floor general and defender as the team's 6th man. He's been extremely valuable in that reserve role, but his skills have largely eroded and he needs to have better scorers around him.
Likelihood of Staying
He's got one year left on his inflated contract, making over $10 million this next year. Chances are, he won't be back in Denver after that, barring a veteran's min-sal deal.

G Marcus Williams - 34 years old - 12th season (Connecticut)
How Acquired
December 2016 trade with the Hawks. His third stint in Denver as he also played for the Nuggets in 2009 and 2013 as part of trades with the Hawks in '09 and the Yeaton/Buboltz blockbuster of '13.
Impact in Denver
Started 42 games for the Nuggets in 2009, but that was the pre-Jestor administration. In the two partial seasons he's had under Jestor, he's been a solid passer off the bench with some scoring punch, but not much more than that. His contract's also up.
Likelihood of Staying
Absolutely none. He's a $4 million clearance off the books and the front office shows no interest in having him return.

F Mike Nooner - 27 years old - 5th season (Norfolk State)
How Acquired
Signed from the Colorado Timberjacks of the D-League in 2015 and re-signed as a free agent in 2016 offseason.
Impact in Denver
Explosive point production off the bench in the latter half of 2015 season led to a two-year min-sal deal the next offseason. A major disappointment since then despite his technically sound defense.
Likelihood of Staying
He's only making a little over $700,000 next season so he'll ride out his contract because of that. After that, however, he's a good bet to go back to the D-leagues.

G/F Thabo Sefolosha - 32 years old - 12th season (Switzerland)
How Acquired
Free agent signing - 2014.
Impact in Denver
Signed for his clutch reputation in the playoffs, Sefolosha showed enough in 2014 and 2015 to get another 2-year deal from the Nuggets in the 2016 offseason. He's been a major disappointment in the regular season though and his playoff production frankly stunk this year. That said, he plays solid defense.
Likelihood of Staying
50/50. Jestor's no longer enamored of the Swissman as he used to be and if Sefolosha can clinch a deal the Nuggets GM wants to make, he'll be gone.

F/C Lindsey Williamson - 25 years old - 4th season (Kent State)
How Acquired
2014 Draft - 27th overall pick.
Impact in Denver
Hard-working player who plays great D and has good shotblocking skills. Bombed as the starting C during the 2015 season despite being given every opportunity to earn it. Much more comfortable and effective coming off the bench, which is likely where he'll spend his entire NBA career.
Likelihood of Staying
The front office liked him enough to give him his 4th year of the rookie contract, a somewhat questionable move. That said, he could be one of those players who keeps coming back year after year to a team on a minimum salary deal. Good role player to have.

G/F Ronnie Brewer - 32 years old - 12th season (Arkansas)
How Acquired
2017 deadline deal with the Lakers.
Impact in Denver
None.
Likelihood of Staying
None. His contract's up and there's no incentive to re-sign him.

The Big Picture

The Nuggets need not only a scorer or two for the bench, they also need some better ballhandlers, particularly at the big man spots. In addition, they need to address the situation at PG if Gama isn't going to come back.

Long-term, they need youth at the guard and swingman spots for the bench and they need to either find an heir to Okafor and find a better, bigger young C that will push Jackson over to PF.

On a less immediate concern level, finding a SF who can move McPherson to the bench would solve a lot of problems, as noted earlier. It also might not hurt to start thinking really long-term about a SG who can eventually be Yeaton's heir when the time comes.

The Draft Class

This is the most important draft of Jestor's career and it's the first time he's held the 1st overall pick. The Nuggets wanted to make sure they made the right decision, so they fired Bill Self as the 3rd assistant, demoted their other two assistants and brought back Patrick Ewing as Brown's top assistant.

Unfortunately for Denver, it's a poor crop of big men, with under-sized PFs and Cs abounding. One possibility could be to take an under-sized C, such as Kansas's Scott Palmer and make him a potential heir at PF.

A lot of foreign players in this year's draft, one of the most intriguing being Germany's Waldemar Althusser, a 19 year old PG who could be the answer to youth as a bench guard. 21 year old Belgian C Milan Nouge is drawing rave reviews, as is 19 year old Brazilian PF Marcelino Augusto, who averaged 33.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in the Brazilian leagues.

Other possible players likely to be looked at are North Carolina's Michael Johnson, Gonzaga's Charles Arnold and Palmer, among others.

Most mock drafts have Denver taking Augusto at #1 overall and it makes sense. PF is a huge need and on this team he'd be able to come off the bench and learn as he goes. Or he could win the job right away, as most scouts have him pegged as the most polished player in this class and one of only 3 players in the class with 5-star potential (Althusser and Arnold the other two). The problem with Augusto is that although he's 6'9, he's just 217 lbs and likely to be bullied by bigger fours. But what might happen is that he could be moved to the 3, where he'd be much better suited and able to matchup against players than McPherson could.

For the 15th pick, it's projected that the Nuggets will select Polish C Teofil Shubinsky, but it's rumored that Jestor doesn't like the looks of him and will probably pass.

We'll have to see what happens after the Nuggets bring players in for workouts. Whatever the decisions Jestor and the organization make in a few weeks, they're going to be fascinating to watch.
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:54 AM   #264
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Sometimes I hate B.B. Dyer.

He wants me to keep the excess cap number under $10 million if possible, though he said, "If you have to go to $15 million, then do it, but try to avoid it."

His thinking is that by jettisoning our current expired contracts and either replacing Zelipe Gama with a cheaper option (like say a rookie) or convincing Gama to come back at a reduced rate, we can do that.

It -might- be possible, but the team would take a real hit in quality by doing so, so I'm just going to shoot for $15 million max, which we should be able to reach no problem. We're currently $12.8 million over the cap with 8 players signed, but that's without renouncing our dead weight or trying to get Zelipe to come back for less than the $8.2 million he made this year, which I think we can do.

It's not something I could've pulled off if I hadn't traded away Tim Davis last year and gotten Lamar Odom's expiring contract back.

Workouts
PF Marcelino Augusto
C Scott Palmer
C Milan Nouge
SG Charles Arnold
SF Michael Johnson
PF Dermek Trombley
PG Waldemar Althusser
SG Brett Watson
PG Jameel Williams
PG Nolan Hill
SG Danny Tennell
SF John Cliff
SF Demond Robinson
C Lennox Menser
PF David Carter

Augusto knocks the socks off the staff in the individual workout. Larry Brown is impressed with the kid's work ethic and Marcelo said all the right things. Patrick Ewing said the consensus top pick in this draft has major offensive game. The 19 year old also showed surprising blocking hops that belied his slender size.

Palmer's got gorgeous offense as well and shows good rebounding and defense. Not as charismatic as Augusto, but he also works even harder than the Brazilian. On the other hand, he's a turnover waiting to happen.

Nouge reveals himself as a finesse center, which I hate. He's also a lazy ass, which I hate even more. No problems dropping him off the list.

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

Johnson shows off beautiful shooting stroke, good rebounding and some respectable passing skills. Average defender, but absolutely terrific personality.

Trombley's another sweet shooter, but his game is based on the jump shot. Not something I want to see out of my big men. Good hands, but average and can't shotblock worth a damn.

Horrible workout by Althusser. He's a hard worker, but even though the staff still considers him a 5* prospect, his skills looked absolutely awful and his stock plummeted big-time.

Watson, in counterpoint, showed great shooting and ballhandling. Average passer, but showed a knack for stealing the ball. His stock shot up considerably and I may well be tempted to make a play for him.

Good, but not great passing and ballhandling skills from Williams. Good stealing instincts as well. No real weaknesses, either. The type of player who'd be a solid value pick at #15.

Hill's got good work ethic, but he's a poor man's version of Williams and not really on the radar, I don't think.

Tennell's average all around and I mean that literally. Dropped.

We drop another one in Cliff, who's got a lot of holes in game and only has ball-theft as his respectable skill.

Laziness strikes Robinson and we strike him from the list.

Menser's underwhelming and if he gets drafted at all, it'll probably be as a second rounder. On the other hand, his good work ethic counts for something.

Carter's a version of Menser.

2017 NBA Draft

So everybody's screaming for us to take Augusto and truth be told, it comes down to either Augusto or Palmer. In my mind, they're clearly the top two players in the draft.

I go back and forth between the two, but in the end, Augusto's sizzling scoring talents are just too much to pass up. Larry Brown helps by swearing up and down he'll start him at SF if he has to.

1. PF Marcelino Augusto - Denver Nuggets

The pick's applauded and as one analyst remarked, "Jestor finally makes amends for passing up Kevin Durant with the Knicks all those years ago. He also makes up for the disastrous Leroy Freeman pick a couple years back. Finally, he's getting smart about his drafting."

Yeah, yeah whatever.

Ironically enough, Augusto became the first Brazilian taken #1 overall and the previous highest drafted Brazilian was.... Paulinho Buboltz, 8th overall in 2010 by me.

2. C Scott Palmer - Seattle Supersonics

I'm a little leery when I hear the analysts suggest that Phoenix is going to take the other player I covet considerably out of this class, so I contact the Suns about a possible deal. Unfortunately, we can't come to an agreement and I'm hoping they go C anyway, because they need one.

3. C Milan Nouge - Phoenix Suns
4. SG Charles Arnold - New Jersey Nets
5. PG Bernard Kelly - Memphis Grizzlies
6. C Larry Lovett - Los Angeles Clippers

The player I wanted is still hanging around and I discover via the talking heads that the kid's known for greed. I still ring up the Warriors to see if we can make some kind of a deal. We just have about something in place, but Golden State's playing hardball and want us to give up more than what would be fair. I'm not willing to do that, so I end negotiations.

7. SF Michael Johnson - Golden State Warriors

And there he goes off the board. He wasn't going to get past the Pistons anyway, who also greatly coveted him and are heartbroken that the Warriors took him.

On the other hand, there's still some players definitely worth waiting to see if they drop, such as Watson and Williams. My guess is that they jump off the board soon, though.

8. PF Dermek Trombley - Detroit Pistons
9. PG Waldemar Althusser - Portland Trailblazers

The 76ers look like they're going to take Watson, who I strongly prefer to Williams, but that would involve me having to take on a horrendous contract, which I'm not going to do.

10. SG Brett Watson - Philadelphia 76ers

...Damn. In my opinion, Watson's going to be this year's version of Justin Barnes, the guy that slips and then at the end of the season, he's one of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year and just keeps developing.

11. PG Nolan Hill - Chicago Bulls
12. SG Billy Humphrey - Miami Heat

Charlotte desparately needs a PG and it's almost a guarantee that they'll take Williams. Now is the time for me to decide how much I really want him. If he goes, then I trade the #15 pick anyway, because to my mind, there's nobody worth drafting that high after him.

So I'm hitting the phones while the Bobcats are listening to offers as well.

But there's nothing else out there that excites me in terms of making an exchange. Well, no deal except one.

After a lot of hard thought and soul searching, I finally decide to make the trade.

Denver Nuggets receive
C Austin Buller
2017 Chicago Bulls 1st round pick (#14 overall)
2019 Chicago Bulls 1st round pick

Chicago Bulls receive
SF Ron McPherson
PF Mike Nooner
2017 Denver Nuggets 1st round pick (#15 overall)
2019 Los Angeles Lakers 1st round pick

What this means for the Denver Nuggets
GM Jestor has long been said to covet Buller, who despite immense talent and his #2 overall selection in the 2012 draft, hasn't managed to ignite the league. In part it's because of his horrible ballhandling skills. On the other hand, he's a better defender than David Jackson and has the potential to become an explosive scorer and perhaps at 24 years old, even though he's beginning his 6th season in the pros, he still has opportunity to learn from Larry Brown and he might benefit from moving from a very young Bulls team to a Nuggets squad that has a lot of seasoned veterans like Emeka Okafor. The picks are both higher than what the Nuggets likely would've had, so that's a bonus. Buller's also much more of a team player than Jackson and just as popular in spite of his underachievement.

What this means for the Chicago Bulls
Chicago instantly improves its defense in a major way by picking up McPherson and Nooner, perhaps the biggest downfall of one of the league's youngest teams. McPherson will shut opposing players down night in and night out and he gives the Running Bulls yet another major scorer. This offense is going to be a lot of fun to watch. But on the other hand, who plays the five now? They lose 50 lbs if they go with Rashard Ferguson and if they go with Ron Collier, they not only give up 60 pounds inside, they run the risk of stunting Collier's explosiveness.

Advantage: Chicago
McPherson may not be able to rebound or make sexy defensive plays, but he'll thrive on this run and gun team and may even become the principal scorer. Nooner gives them toughness and defense off the bench. Buller is just too risky an acquisition for the Nuggets and on top of it, Denver just lost one of their proven players and their #2 scoring option in McPherson. Jestor put way too much weight on what happened in the Finals and forgot everything that McPherson did for the team leading up to it.

Heh. Well to hell with them then.

13. PG Jameel Williams - Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats weren't willing to take a 2nd rounder for us to move up one spot, because they knew we wanted Williams and they wanted him just as badly. Steve Nash is the GM too, which may have something to do with it.

There's nobody I even want now especially, but by the same token, there's nobody to trade for. So in the end, I take a flyer on a player I didn't scout, because he can get boxed out by shorter players and isn't that strong.

14. PF Lance Purnell - Denver Nuggets

He's another undersized PF, but he has extremely high basketball IQ and he was an absolute stud for Louisville in his junior year, averaging 23.4 points and 11.4 rebounds. One of those guys who'd probably have been a higher selection if he'd played his senior year. Given our other options, he was the best route.

15. PG Joe Kitt - Chicago Bulls

Bulls make a surprise and rather stupid pick here.

16. C Teofil Shubinsky - Houston Rockets

The pick the Bulls should've made.

17. PF David Carter - Dallas Mavericks
18. PG Aaron Harmon - Minnesota Timberwolves
19. SF John Cliff - Sacramento Kings
20. SF Demond Robinson - Indiana Pacers
21. SG Omar Pruitt - Orlando Magic
22. SG Danny Tannell - Milwaukee Bucks
23. PG Earl Latham - Los Angeles Clippers
24. PF Lawrence Smiley - New Orleans Hornets
25. SG Leigh Thorne - Boston Celtics
26. SG Lou Mueller - San Antonio Spurs
27. SG Ken Jordan - Washington Wizards
28. SF Jerome Erickson - Utah Jazz
29. PF Cene Kovacs - Los Angeles Lakers
30. PG Marcus DeWolfe - Toronto Raptors

The Raptors draft a 5'5 PG. Wow. Talk about a shorty.

The first look at our guys after the draft says that I absolutely made the right decision in taking Augusto. He's already looking like a top-tier player and will instantly command a starting spot.

Purnell initially looks to have mostly average game, but with some smarts. Unfortunately his defense is looking a little weak, but I think he'll be a pretty good bench player. Not bad for a flyer.

What is bad is that after renouncing our rights, we're $11.4 million over the cap and have just 9 players under contract. On the other hand, we're retaining the rights to Gama and hoping to re-sign him, so it's not panic time yet.

Denver Nuggets to Summer League
PF Marcelino Augusto
PF Lance Parnell
C David Jackson
C Lindsey Williamson

Summer League

Big time hype surrounding our summer league players, but that's what happens when you have the first overall pick in the draft.

Marcelino Augusto makes his presence felt immediately in a 100-85 win over the Mavericks. He has a jaw-dropping 26 points and 12 rebounds and I'm thinking maybe we'll be okay after all. Lawrence Dabney adds 10 bench points and Lance Parnell scores 16.

It's Marcelino Augusto again, ripping through Golden State for 22 points and 13 rebounds. Michael Johnson scored 23 for the Warriors, by the way. On the other hand Lance Parnell's showing consistency with 15 points and James Wampler (10 points), Lawrence Dabney (11 points) and Welsh Reiner (17 points) are doing their best to try and latch on somewhere. 112-99 the final.

The win streak ends in a 111-92 loss to the Hawks, but Lawrence Dabney adds another 10 bench points and Marcelino Augusto continues to make highlight reels with 23 points.

104-86 victory over the Bulls is keyed by Marcelino Augusto's 21 points, but give credit to Lindsey Williamson's 20 points off the bench. 13 points and 11 assists out of Filip Svorda help too and so do 12 points from Lawrence Dabney and James Wampler and 10 points from original Nugget draftee Lynn Shipley, who never played a game for us as he was traded immediately after the draft in 2011 to the Bobcats. He's carved a fairly nice career for himself.... as a D-leaguer.

Sour end to the summer in a 104-85 loss to the Celtics. Everyone plays like garbage.

Free Agency

Lots of great names out there, but I'll only report on the big name jump of teams of course.

It's a dull free agency for players jumping ship until Zach Randolph spirits away to the Cavaliers for 5 years and $32 million. Suddenly some are calling Cleveland the new challengers in the East, especially since they managed to re-sign John Aylsworth and LeBron James. It's a brilliant move to be sure.

On the same days new of the Randolph signing breaks, we ink Zelipe Gama to a 6 year, $30 million contract. We're now just $3.6 million over the cap and have money to burn for our midlevel.

The next day we successfully steal away 36 year old, former Nugget killer Joe Johnson on a one-year $5.5 million midlevel. Mateen Yeaton said he was extremely glad to have him on our side now, which made me laugh.

Chicago outbids us for Rajon Rondo's services the day after that, so we're still looking to shore up the team in some areas and we bring in Shaun Livingston to once more don a Nuggets uniform and play good floor general.

Day after that, we give our bench a huge injection of offense by signing 38 year old Michael Redd to a low exemption. On that same day, Andrei Kirilenko and Lamar Odom take min-sals to go to Phoenix. Guess they must be thinking about retirement already.

Training Camp

We're expecting huge things out of Marcelino Augusto. He looked great in training camp. Austin Buller, on the other hand, didn't, which was slightly worrying.

Emeka Okafor and Kirk Hinrich both continued their slow decline, Okafor in particular. In fact, he told Larry Brown that he'd feel more comfortable coming off the bench this year as the 6th man, a requested granted.

David Jackson continues his slow, but steady improvement and I know he's angry about being backseated by Buller. Augusto he can understand at least.

Interesting season preview. The Knicks are the pick to win the East over the Raptors and Cavaliers, which I find a bit silly. Yes, the Knicks were vastly improved last year and the Raptors no longer have T.J. Ford, who hied it to Portland, but Toronto is still a deadly team.

Of course, the Raptors -are- starting Justin Richler at PG now, which is a huge mistake. Personally, I'd say it's the Cavaliers who are the team to beat in the East, tied with Toronto in that category.

Seattle's favored to win the West and while the Supersonics have a sexy scoring cabal, they don't have anyone who can play defense. Northwest is going to be a tough division again this year, besides. How tough The top four projected teams in the West are all from our division. The Sonics, us, the Jazz and the Traiblazers are 1-4 and the Timberwolves are picked to get back to the playoffs, which would mean every single team in our division would be in the postseason.

Personally, I'd say we're the top choice in the West, followed by the Lakers and the Spurs, who pulled off a coup in landing Dwayne Wade in free agency. I guess the Heat are blowing themselves up and starting over.

Man, San Antonio with an actual PG. They're going to be damned scary this year.

2017 Denver Nuggets Opening Lineup
PG Zelipe Gama
SG Mateen Yeaton
SF Joe Johnson
PF Marcelino Augusto
C Austin Buller
6th Emeka Okafor (PF/C)
7th David Jackson (SF/PF/C)
8th Lance Purnell (SF/PF)
9th Kirk Hinrich (PG/SG)
10th Michael Redd (SG/SF)
11th Thabo Sefolosha (PG/SG/SF)
12th Lindsey Williamson (SF/PF/C)
Inactive
Shaun Livingston (PG/SG)

We're $12.1 million over the cap, so we've still got some wiggle room. I actually really like this edition of the Nuggets. I think it's going to be an exciting season, one that could possibly end in a ring at last.
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:13 PM   #265
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Excitement is high to open the season because we're playing our first game Halloween night against the revived Lakers. They're going to be an excellent team this year in my opinion and Joe Johnson is going to have his hands full against Tim Davis, who once again is playing SF for the Purple and Gold. We come away with a 92-82 victory as Mateen Yeaton scores 20 points, Zelipe Gama gets a fast start to earning his contract with 13 points, 13 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks and David Jackson scores 14 off the bench. Marcelino Augusto had 16 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in his NBA debut and, perhaps most importantly, limited Derrick Robinson to a grand total of 0 points.

Not even having Kelvin Moody back can keep the Timberwolves from falling 109-91 as Joe Johnson scores 24 points, Mateen Yeaton adds 22 points of his own and Thabo Sefolosha contributes 14 bench points. Maybe it's a good thing Emeka Okafor isnt' starting anymore, as he's shooting 10% from the field in the first two games. He's still our team captain, though.

Marcelino Augusto has his coming out party in a 123-89 blowout against the Jazz, scoring 27 points and just missing the double-double with 9 rebounds. Mateen Yeaton has his third straight 20+ point game with 25, Zelipe Gama garners 11 points and 11 assists and David Jackson leads a fantastic bench crew with 11 points.

The Jazz look for revenge on the front end of a doubleheader, but they don't get it, dropping 114-87 in Salt Lake. Marcelino Augusto loves playing the Jazz, as he rips through them for 30 points and 11 rebounds. Austin Buller finally comes alive for 22 points and 11 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton cheerfully doubles his way to 15 points and 12 assists and David Jackson is a perfect 6/6 for 15 bench points. What an amazing start he's had so far. We sweep the doubleheader by flattening the Supersonics 102-85. Great all around game from Mateen Yeaton of 27 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks and a steal. Marcelino Augusto contributed 20 points and we just straight up blow up Seattle's vaunted offense.

Our first loss of the year is a 116-105 OT defeat at the hands of the Pistons, as Detroit rallied and then blew us out in OT because Marcelino Augusto fouled out after 11 points and 10 rebounds. Mateen Yeaton played great with 29 points and Zelipe Gama had 11 points and 12 assists, but when 3 Pistons score 20+ points, you know it's a losing affair. Kenny Graham scored 24, Jordan Farmar shocked everybody with 21 points and Dan Jacobson finally got a measure of revenge against us, double-doubling with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Ugly, ugly game against the Kings, but we scrap out the 89-84 win as Marcelino Augusto grabbed 16 points and 13 rebounds, Zelipe Gama distributed 11 points and 12 assists and David Jackson and Kirk Hinrich both scored 10 points off the bench.

Lance Purnell hasn't gotten to play hardly at all, so I send him down to the D-League where he takes over as the starting PF for the Timberjacks. Hopefully the increased PT will help his development.

Our next game is against the Raptors and as you can imagine, the tickets have been sold out since about two hours after they became available. We lose 100-88, outscored in every quarter but the last, when we scrubbed out a tie. Mateen Yeaton scored 32 and Marcelino Augusto showed incredible poise with 20 points, but everyone else played for crap. Very disappointing to see and it seems to indicate we're not ready to compete with Toronto yet.

We rebound with a 108-86 beatdown of the Bulls, Mateen Yeaton leading the way with 28 points. Joe Johnson scores 23 of his own and Zelipe Gama gets 14 points and 17 assists. Chicago's pretty stupid, as they've been chaining Ron McPherson to the bench and only allowing him a hair under 10 minutes a game. Needless to say, he's getting pissed. Really pissed. I don't blame him.

116-85 the final against the Mavericks, a victory for us. Strange game as no Nugget broke 20 points. The closest were Austin Buller and Joe Johnson with 19 a piece. Great game by Emeka Okafor, who came off the bench for 18 points. His FG shooting is up to a better 41.5% now.

We beat the Nets 107-94 as all 5 Nuggets starters scored 12 points or better, highlighted by Austin Buller's 26 points and 11 rebounds. David Jackson led the reserves with 12 points. It's early in the year, but so far with us, Buller is showing better scoring and shotblocking, fewer turnovers, but also with far fewer rebounds. So far I'd say he's been worth the deal all in all.

Doubleheader up next and we lose both games by agonizing margins. San Antonio beats us 99-95 as our starters forget how to play basketball and not even a staunch effort by the bench, led by David Jackson and Kirk Hinrich with 12 and 10 points respectively can save us. The Spurs are just a scary good team this year. We piss away a 4th quarter lead against the Rockets and lose that one by a single effing point, 93-92. It still has me angry a few days later. Mateen Yeaton scored 24, Joe Johnson scored 20 and we got doubles out of Austin Buller (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (12 points, 13 assists), but our bench was a combined 5 for 15 and 33% shooting for your reserves isn't going to let you win ballgames.

Mateen Yeaton takes out his frustrations on the Hornets, scoring 26 points and all five starters scored 13 points or better. Zelipe Gama got another double-double in the 109-98 win, netting 15 points and 12 assists.

Remember how I said Cleveland was one of the two teams to beat in the East this year? Well, you wouldn't know it from November's final game, as we lower the boom 119-94. Mateen Yeaton shreds the Cavs for 34 points, all five starters reach double-digit scoring and Kirk Hinrich scores 14 off the bench.

Even with those frustratingly close losses, we're still on top of the Northwest at 11-4, 3.5 games ahead of the 7-7 Timberwolves. San Antonio currently leads the conference at 12-4, thanks to their victory over us, but the Grizzlies are right tight behind at 11-5. On the bright side, if the playoffs were to be held after this month, there'd be ony one West team below the .500 mark.

Toronto's got the expected command in the East at 13-4, second place belonging to the surprising Orlando Magic at 12-2. Atlanta's 10-4, which is another shock. Cleveland holds a half-game lead over the Bucks and sit 10-6.

And the Knicks are back to their old form, wallowing in the bottom of the division at 4-10.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:29 PM   #266
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
New Orleans Hornets receive
PG Kevin Carter

New Jersey Nets receive
PF David Lee
New Orleans Hornets 2018 2nd round pick

What this means for the Hornets
Carter's got respectable scoring punch and a good all-around game. He's also a significantly better ballhandler than Dan Johnson, the Hornets' prior top reserve PG.

What this means for the Nets
They want to give rookie Charles Arnold, whose extremely raw and needs the PT to develop, some minutes as he has yet to appear in a game. This trade allows him to get in the mix as he's the only player on the bench who can play PG now. Lee's no longer the player he was and his greatest value is the $7.6 million expiring contract.

Winner: Nets
Both teams benefit, but New Jersey does a lot better by it in terms of financial benefit and in terms of finding playing time or that promising rookie of theirs.

I was shocked to see that Arnold's so raw, but if he can fulfill his potential, he'll be a really nice player.

Miami is really lost without Dwayne Wade and we cool off the Heat 117-94 to start the month. Austin Buller runs wild for 28 points and 11 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 20, Zelipe Gama passes around 11 points and 16 assists and Kirk Hinrich contributes 12 points off the bench.

The victory's not without a cost though as Michael Redd breaks his foot and is out a month and a half. We recall Lance Purnell from Colorado, where he's been tearing up the D-League in the early going, averaging 19 points, 6.7 rebounds and a block per game.

I'm forced to consider the notion that maybe the Magic aren't an illusion after all as they beat us 101-95 in Denver. Mateen Yeaton comes through for 20 points and Zelipe Gama is good for 12 points and 12 assists, but by and large we were forgettable.

Two straight losses as the Wizards drop us 103-95 on the road. Dusty Coursey, who's having a breakout season, ambushes us for 31 points and 15 rebounds. He was the 15th overall pick in 2012 and hasn't shown much until this year. Not fun for us. Joe Johnson scores 28 points but that's it.

And then, right when we needed it, Mateen Yeaton bombs the Raptors for 38 points and Zelipe Gama gets 14 points and 10 assists to lead us to a stunning 98-86 win in Toronto. Huge not only for snapping the losing streak, but for proving we can beat the Raptors.

But two nights later, we lose our third game in four, 116-100 to the Knicks. We waste Mateen Yeaton's 35 points and 15 points and 14 assists from Zelipe Gama. I've noticed Joe Johnson and Austin Buller are terribly inconsistent, which is a huge problem.

The Knicks game is also the start of our annual December East Conference Road Trip and I'm not looking forward to it. A back-to-back is upcoming and I'm dreading. Until we blow out the 76ers 110-88 and nip the Celtics 113-104, that is. Mateen Yeaton has his third straight 30+ point game with 35 against Philadelphia and Marcelino Augusto finally has a noteworthy game again with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich and Emeka Okafor lead the bench charge with 11 and 10 points. Make that four straight games of 35+ points as Mateen Yeaton scores 36 against the Celtics. 11 points and 14 rebounds from Austin Buller and 14 bench rebounds from Emeka Okafor complete the win and give us our first pair of consecutive wins in too long.

Another back-to-back to end the road trip and we sweep both, getting a nice measure of revenge in the process. Mateen Yeaton's streak ends against the Heat, but we still come out on top 96-87 as Austin Buller has a good game with 21 points and 15 rebounds, Marcelino Augusto grabs 13 points and 10 rebounds and Zelipe Gama garners 13 points and 12 assists. The revenge comes against the Magic and we prevail 111-103 as Mateen Yeaton scores 34, Zelipe Gama adds 20 points and we get nice bench showings out of Lance Purnell, who breaks the double-digit point mark for the first time in his young NBA career with 12 and David Jackson, who nabbed 10 points and 10 rebounds.

We knock off the Suns 110-84 as Marcelino Augusto appears to be heating up again a little and just misses the double-double with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Austin Buller scored 20 and Joe Johnson just missed the mark with 19 points. Zelipe Gama goes back to his usual, steady self with 13 points and 10 assists.

Disappointing 114-104 loss to the Supersonics, particularly since Austin Buller just missed a triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists. But then again, Mateen Yeaton was hampered by a knee injury. Still, we waste Buller's showing, plus 13 and 17 bench points from Kirk Hinrich and Lance Purnell, the latter of whom is fast earning his ticket to stay up when Michael Redd comes back.

No holiday cheer this year as for the first time since I've been here, we lose on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Dallas ambushes us 114-100, or perhaps better said Jonte Jones does with 29 points and 18 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich had 19 bench points, but overall, we just got hammered. But the real embarassment is the 110-95 blowout by Golden State. 21 points from Marcelino Augusto don't excite, not when Michael Johnson is scoring 26 and Kirk Hinrich and Lance Purnell's 14 and 11 bench points don't mean jack.

Three losses in a row. We've been straight up killed this month, just killed.

A rare fresh breath of victory to end the skid, 108-90 over the 76ers. Mateen Yeaton scores 31 and Zelipe Gama continues to earn his paycheck with 17 points and 15 assists.

Christmas may have been a bust, but New Year's Eve and New Year's Day bring tidings of joy as we sweep the doubleheader against the L.A. squads. The Lakers fall 107-92 as Mateen Yeaton scores 33, Zelipe Gama issues 13 points and 11 assists and young benchmen David Jackson and Lance Purnell come through with 12 and 10 bench points. The Clippers suffer an even greater humiliation, 110-89. Mateen Yeaton is again at the fore with 21 points, but 20 points from Marcelino Augusto and 19 points and 10 rebounds from Austin Buller are right behind. Lance Purnell and Kirk Hinrich add 12 bench points a piece.

So where do we stand after that rocky final month of 2017? 21-10, 6.5 games in front of the Timberwolves. The West continues to suck again, with just four teams owning winning records.

San Antonio Spurs - 23-9
Denver Nuggets - 21-10
Memphis Grizzlies - 19-14
New Orleans Hornets - 15-14

12-16 gets you the lead in the Pacific, where all teams are in it. Last place goes to the 10-20 Suns, just 3 games behind the Kings.

And yet, despite all that losing, there's only 9 teams in the East at .+500. On the other hand, four teams have 20+ wins. To wit:

Toronto Raptors - 23-9
Charlotte Bobcats - 21-7
Atlanta Hawks - 21-8
Orlando Magic - 20-9

The Pacers are still a dreadful 9-19, worse than even the 12-18 Knicks. The Pistons lead the Central, half a game ahead of Milwaukee, two games ahead of Cleveland.

It's been a very bizzare last couple years in the league and seeing 3 of those 4 teams with 20+ wins is rather shocking. Well, I can maybe see Orlando as being for real.

But the Bobcats? The Hawks? Don't get it at all.
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Old 10-22-2008, 11:56 PM   #267
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Philadelphia 76ers receive
SF Jason Tackett

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SF Raymond Badu
PG Kyle Lowry

What this means for the 76ers
Rodney Carney and Andre Iguodala are both 33 years old. Tackett's 26 (19th overall pick the Kings in 2014 draft) and can play both guard spots and SF. Not a scorer by any means, but a ferocious lock-down defender who at 6'9 can create major matchup problems in the backcourt. He's also widely considered around the league as the single best guy to have in the locker room from a team chemistry standpoint and the fact that he works hard makes it that much better.

What this means for the Grizzlies
Badu gets traded for the second time in as many seasons. He's disruptive, lazy and unremarkable or supbar in all facets of the game. Lowry isn't any improvement over Sergio Rodriguez, Memphis's original top backup guard. In fact, one could argue that he's worse.

Advantage: Philadelphia
The 76ers, if nothing else at all, have greatly improved their team chemistry and defense by adding Tackett. Conversely, Badu's a cancer and Lowry's simply not good. Memphis actually worsens by this deal.

Charlotte Bobcats receive
PF Marlon Orvis

New Jersey Nets receive
PG Tyson Anderson
Charlotte Bobcats 2018 2nd round pick

What this means for the Bobcats
Charlotte doesn't have a single forward or center under the age of 30. That's where Orvis comes in, a 27 year old former 1st round pick (27th, Toronto, 2010). While not exceptional, he has okay rebounding and defense with the ability to score some from both the interior and the exterior. He can play either forward spot or center and he's a huge stopgap measure for a really old team.

What this means for the Nets
Anderson became expendable with the drafting of Jameel Williams, but he's still a D-league project who furthermore isn't exactly wowing anyone in the minor leagues. In fact, the 20th overall pick of 2016 looks like a complete and total bust. The 2nd round pick won't be worth much either.

Winner: Charlotte
The Bobcats get an absolute steal here, giving up virtually nothing for a player who addresses their most critical age-related need.

Miami Heat receive
PG Brent Short

Philadelphia 76ers receive
Miami Heat 2018 2nd round pick

What this means for the Heat
Miami was already periliously thin at PG and then Derrick Attaway had to go and break his leg. Short is the best passer on the Heat roster even if Attaway was back and he's also a hard-hustling defender with a nasty outside shot. In short, he plays much bigger than his 5'11 height. He doesn't fit on this team of lazy, sniping players but he's a great acquistion nonetheless. Looking over this Miami franchise, it's easy to see why Dwayne Wade left town. Just an absolutely toxic wastedump.

What this means for the 76ers
Philadelphia's loaded with young PGs, so Short was getting the short end of the stick on PT. Getting a probable high 2nd round pick for him is a good bonus.

Winner: Draw
This is a win-win situation all around. Even Short, who steps into an ugly lockerroom, gets compensated for it by more playing time.

Portland Trailblazers receive
SF Dusty Hammond

New York Knicks receive
C Nathan Anderson

What this means for the Trailblazers
Hammond has some scoring pop and can play every position except SG. Having a 6'10 PG, no matter how horrible his ballhandling, always creates a mismatch. That said, Hammond's horrible in every other respect and his excellent 2016 season as a reserve with the Mavericks appears to have been a mirage.

What this means for the Knicks
Anderson's the single-most hated player in the league by other players, coaches and staff in general. How hated? So hated that the second-year player is already the instant kiss of death to any team who has him. In short, he's the antithesis of Jason Tackett. On top of that, his only basketball skills are some rebounding efforts. Curiously enough, the fans like Anderson fine and don't understand just how reviled he is within an organization.

Winner: Portland
In a garbage for garbage trade, the Trailblazers win out solely for the betterment of their team chemistry.

My own fingers are itching to make a trade and I find myself hitting the phones. Unfortunately, I can't find anything to my liking, so I just sit on it. Although there was one trade that sorely tempted me.

A doubleheader kicks off January in earnest and we win both. The Spurs don't look so hot in San Antonio, losing 105-89 as Marcelino Augusto scores 24, Mateen Yeaton adds 20 and we get double-doubles of 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 points, 10 assists out of Zelipe Gama. Kirk Hinrich scores 15 off the bench and David Jackson grabs 10 bench rebounds. We withstand a 32 point, 11 rebound performance from Carlos Boozer the next night and beat the Rockets 106-99 on the strength of 32 points from Mateen Yeaton and 14 points and 14 assists from Zelipe Gama.

They're nailbiters but we sweep the next back-to-back as well. The Kings charge hard in the fourth quarter, but the rally falls just short and we come away with the 108-105 win. Austin Buller bulls his way to 20 points and 16 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton scores 24 points. Kyle Hoiberg and Andrew Bynum score 32 and 31 points the next night, Bynum adding 14 rebounds besides, but we prevail 111-103 against the Lakers courtesy of a total team effort. 7 Nuggets scored 12 points or more. Zelipe Gama was the star of the starters with 12 points and 17 assists, but Kirk Hinrich lead the team in scoring with 21 points. Lance Purnell added 12 points off the bench and David Jackson pulled down 11 rebounds as a reserve.

Things go much more smoothly in a 114-99 victory over the Timberwolves. Joe Johnson, who's been drawing my ire, leads the way with 24 points, Zelipe Gama gets 15 points and 12 assists and Thabo Sefolosha ressurects himself for 10 bench points.

Our third doubleheader of the month results in another couple victories. Golden State drops 116-86 as Austin Buller comes up with 11 points, 19 rebounds and 5 blocks, Mateen Yeaton scores 22 and Zelipe Gama distributes 10 points and 15 assists. But the real shock was Lance Purnell getting the start at SF (he had 10 points) and David Jackson exploding off the bench for 22 points. Kinrich also hit double-digit scoring as a reserve with 11 points. The normal lineup reverts in our 104-99 win over the Sonics in Seattle. Marcelino Augusto put on a brilliant performance of 30 points and 8 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scored 25 and doubles came from Austin Buller (14 points, 14 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (11 points, 14 assists).

And that's when we make a deal, a different one than I'd imagined, but one I'm still thrilled to make.

Denver Nuggets receive
PF Ron Collier
2018 Chicago Bulls 2nd round pick
2019 Chicago Bulls 2nd round pick
2020 Chicago Bulls 2nd round pick

Chicago Bulls receive
SG Joe Johnson
PG Shaun Livingston
2018 Denver Nuggets 1st round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
GM Jestor was frustrated with Johnson's inconsistency, so he shipped him out along with the Nuggets 1st rounder next year for Collier, a 29 year old career-long Bull (22nd overall in 2011) with great scoring instincts and a polished, but not fantastic inside and outside shot alike. He also plays pretty good defense, but he can't rebound and he's terrible at passing the ball. Let's see, point-producer with good defense and nothing else? Where have we heard that on a Nuggets team before? The difference between Collier and Ron McPherson is a big one though - Collier's 6'11. The trade also leaves the Nuggets without a 1st round pick next year, something that runs counter to Jestor's philosophy. It's going to be an interesting dogfight between Collier, David Jackson and Lance Purnell for the starting SF spot.

What this means for the Bulls
Chicago needs a calming veteran influence and maybe Johnson can be the one to provide it. At the very least, he gives them yet another scoring and defense option off the bench to team up with McPherson and the extra 1st round pick will ensure the Bulls youth movement keeps right on ticking. Livingston was immediately cut.

Winner: Draw
We'd give this one to the Nuggets, but not having a first round pick next year is liable to drive Jestor crazy and make him prone to dealing someone just to get a first rounder.

Naturally I went right back out and re-signed Livingston after the Bulls cut him.

But you know, the analysts know me too well.

Denver Nuggets receive
C Peter John Ramos
2018 New Jersey Nets 1st round pick

New Jersey Nets receive
PF Lance Purnell
2019 Chicago Bulls 2nd round pick
2019 Denver Nuggets 2nd round pick
2020 Chicago Bulls 2nd round pick
2020 Chicago Bulls 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Reports out of Denver suggested that Purnell, while performing extremely well on offense, was dragging on defense and according to an anonymous front office employee, "getting more and more lazy in practice every day". Two things the Nuggets front office, particularly GM Jestor hates more than anything else: inconsistency and laziness. Also, with the Nets holding a sub-.500 record in the East this year, the chances are good that Denver just bought itself yet another lottery ticket. John Ramos can defend some and rebound some. It's his third stint with the Nuggets (2010, 2014), both of which occurred under Jestor's watch. He's also 7'3, 275 lbs, so gives Denver some muscle.

What this means for the Nets
They get a rookie who's shown he's got some good offensive chops and with just two players on the entire roster over 30, New Jersey's going to be an exciting young team to watch over the next few years. Purnell's also a nice-sized forward at 6'10. The slew of 2nd rounders, some likely high (the Bulls), some likely low (the Nuggets), will give New Jersey even more chances to find youngsters in the rough.

Winner: Nuggets
Denver robbed New Jersey blind on this one. It's another draftee that's been dealt by Jestor and it's likely another one who's doomed to have a mediocre career if the indications out of Denver are correct. It almost doesn't seem fair that the Nuggets keep getting lottery tickets, until you realize that they're 0 for 3 in the NBA Finals in Jestor's reign, all three losses against the Toronto Raptors.

...Bastards. They just -had- to throw that bit of salt in there, didn't they?

David Jackson wins the starting SF competition for now, but he bombs against the Grizzlies, scoring just 5 points on 2 of 6 before fouling out. Narcyz Malinomowski crushes us for 27 points, 23 rebounds and 4 blocks (so much for the Great Polish Sieve moniker, eh?), but we come out on top 100-81 thanks to Mateen Yeaton (33 points), Marcelino Augusto (12 points, 11 rebounds), Zelipe Gama (13 points, 14 assists) and Michael Redd, who's finally back from his broken leg and scores 13 points off the bench.

Nasty five-game road stretch up next, involving two doubleheaders against Central teams. But up first is Dallas and the Mavericks beat us 121-108 because of Jonte Jones, to no one's surprise, with 31 points and 13 rebounds. A horrid waste of 20 points from Marcelino Augusto, 29 points from Mateen Yeaton, 11 points and 21 assists from Zelipe Gama and David Jackson's 14 bench points. Ron Collier got his first start at SF tonight and went 1 for 8 for 5 points. ...Yeah.

First time this month we fail to sweep a back-to-back. But on the other hand, we spank the Bulls 102-82 as Austin Buller has 20 points and 16 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 20 and Zelipe Gama is ever-present with 15 points and 16 assists. Detroit hands us our second loss in three games, 108-100 despite 25 points from Mateen Yeaton, Marcelino Augusto's 17 points and 10 rebounds, 11 points and 16 assists out of Zelipe Gama and Kirk Hinrich's 10 bench points.

The second Central road doubleheader starts off well with a 102-92 victory over the Bucks. Mateen Yeaton scores 23, Austin Buller is good for 16 points and 17 rebounds, Zelipe Gama 15 points and 10 assists and Michael Redd and David Jackson provide the bench fireworks with 14 points and 11 rebounds respectively. Great performance out of Ben Gordon for 39 points the next night, but even that can't stop the Pacers from losing 121-104. Not when 7 Nuggets have 11 points or better, highlighted by Marcelino Augusto's 21 points and 11 reserve points a piece from David Jackson and Michael Redd.

January concludes with yet another back-to-back and I'm annoyed to report we lost 106-94 to the Knicks at home. We blew the finest game yet out of Marcelino Augusto's rookie year: 30 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 blocks and steals... and this kid's only 19?! 13 points and 13 assists from Zelipe Gama and 11 bench points from Michael Redd just couldn't make up the difference. It doesn't help that I didn't do my homework and find out beforehand that Ron Collier is a career 41.3% shooter. Of course, what happens the next night against Portland? We avalanche the Trailblazers 119-97 and Ron Collier scores 24 points. Lead scoring honors went to Mateen Yeaton with 26 points and 13 rebounds, but Austin Buller was right behind with 25 points and 13 rebounds and Marcelino Augusto doubled as well with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich -just- missed the bench double-double with 9 points and 15 assists.

All in all, great month. We're 33-13 and have stolen away the top seed in the conference from the Spurs, who are 32-15. The West's winning teams right now:

Denver Nuggets - 33-13
San Antonio Spurs - 32-15
Memphis Grizzlies - 30-17
Dallas Mavericks - 24-20

Yep. Just four. Pacific Division holder Sacramento is 22-23, but everybody's breathing down their neck, including the Lakers, who are just a game behind.

9 winning teams in the East, including the Knicks, who kicked everyone's ass in January. Talk about new year, new start! It's still all about the Raptors at 34-12, though the Magic are continuing their miracle season at 31-14.

Bucks hold a 2.5 game edge over the Pistons at 26-17. New Jersey's the only team in the Atlantic with a losing record. You almost have to feel sorry for them.

...Almost. That 20-26 mark is nothing to sneeze at and it's better than 5 teams in the East, including the Bulls.

Paulinho Buboltz/Mateen Yeaton Comparison (Sorry I've been forgetting to do this).

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: 44 games/44 starts - 18.1 PPG 8.2 APG 2.6 RPG 0.6 BPG 1.3 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: 46 games/46 starts - 22.8 PPG 3.5 APG 4.5 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG

Anybody out there still want to argue that I should've kept Buboltz?
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:27 PM   #268
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Augusto To Be Traded?

A rumour surfacing out of Denver this week suggests that Marcelino Augusto is on his way to a team in exchange for a mystery superstar who GM Jestor once said, "He's the one player I'd deem worthy of trading the #1 overall pick in a draft for."

Speculation is running wild on who this mystery player could be, including Toronto Raptors players Justin Richler and David Anyan, Dallas's Jonte Jones, Cleveland's Lebron James, Los Angeles Clippers's Bill Towns and Andre Davis, Memphis's Chris Gearheart, Miami's Nigel Abel, Sacramento's Justin Barnes and Seattle's Brooks Smith.

Augusto has been tearing up the NBA as a 19 year old rookie, averaging 16.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.1 steals. He's already scored 30 points twice, has 9 double-doubles and has been named Rookie of the Month all three months this season after being taken with the first overall pick. He's also one of Denver's most popular players, even surpassing superstar Mateen Yeaton in number of jerseys sold.

If he'd traded, the lone remaining original Nuggets on the roster would be Lindsey Williamson and David Jackson. There would almost certainly be a financial fallout in Brazil too, where many Brazilians, after having abandoned the Nuggets following the trade of Paulinho Buboltz to the Indiana Pacers, started joining the Denver bandwagon again after they selected Augusto.

***End Article**

You really think I'd trade a 19 year old superstar in the making, especially one I personally drafted? Ridiculous.

Portland Trailblazers receive
SF Ronell Jones
2018 Phoenix Suns 2nd round pick

Phoenix Suns receive
C Morris Allaway
C Kenny Johnson

What this means for the Trailblazers
Jones, a third year player taken 6th overall in 2015, has been a colossal bust. Fantastic defense and one of the best locker room guys in the league, but he likes to jack up too many shots that he can't convert and has no other skills to speak of. Furthermore, he's superfluous on a team that has Kevin Durant.

What this means for the Suns
Allaway's in his fourth season, taken 3rd overall in 2014. Like Jones, he's been a bust. One of the dumbest players in the league, he has some inside scoring ability, but again, that's about it. Johnson, Portland's 2nd round pick this year (39th overall), can play D and grab some rebounds, but that's it.

Winner: None
This is a young bust for young bust deal and nobody wins.

Sacramento Kings receive
SG Quincy Douby
2018 Philadelphia 76ers 2nd round pick

Philadelphia 76ers receive
PG Matt Allen

What this means for the Kings
Sacramento's fighting for its division and playoff life and the injection of Douby, a solid veteran player known for his postseason clutchness, helps the Kings' bench out immensely. He becomes the first guard out after the starters and his influence will be important.

What this means for the 76ers
Allen, 17th overall pick a year go, is a lazy scrub who has no talent to speak of.

Winner: Sacramento
The Kings get a huge boost to their team here and give away a draft mistake in Allen. Now that's a highway robbery trade.

Evidently Marcelino Augusto wasn't happy about the trade rumors swirling, because he goes out and scores 28 points in leading us to a 106-81 squash of the Warriors to start the short month. Zelipe Gama eked his way to 10 points and 10 assists, David Jackson scored 11 off the bench and Kirk Hinrich generously doled out 12 assists to co-lead the second team.

We lose a 106-104 nailbiter to the Jazz on the front end of a doubleheader despite Mateen Yeaton's 25 points and 12 points and 12 assists from Zelipe Gama, but we rebound to top the Timberwolves 98-87 as Austin Buller gets 18 points and 11 rebounds and Kirk Hinrich and Michael Redd add 12 and 10 points respectively to highlight the reserves.

Our 104-97 win in Cleveland is powered by Mateen Yeaton's 21 points, Marcelino Augusto's 18 points and 10 rebounds and David Jackson's 15 bench points.

A three-game road trip preludes the All-Star break and we help our draft position by winning a 106-105 thriller against the Nets. Marcelino Augusto scores 20 points, Michael Redd scores 12 off the bench and David Jackson just misses a reserve double-double with 9 points and 12 rebounds.

All the good cheer goes out the window though as we lose both games of the pre-break doubleheader and we lose them badly. Atlanta destroys us 101-68 in the worst loss we've had of my tenure. Mateen Yeaton scored 22 points but that was it and Austin Buller was a horrific 0 for 8. Our 107-95 loss to the Bobcats wasn't much better as we blow 33 points and 11 rebounds from Marcelino Augusto, who I've decided not to trade. He's too good and he was -my- draft pick. He's also very quickly proven that he plays a lot bigger than his 6'9, 219 body and a lot older than his 19 years of age.

All-Star Weekend

The Rookies were expected to clobber the Sophomores. Marcelino Augusto was named the starting PF for the Rookies and had 9 points, 6 rebounds and a steal in just 19 minutes as he was plagued by foul trouble all game long. Conversely David Jackson was a reserve for the Sophomores and had 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 28 minutes. The Sophs also stunned the Rooks 106-78. Just goes to show you never can tell.

For the first time since 2013, Mateen Yeaton didn't start for the West. Instead, he had a miserly 2 points and 2 assists in 13 minutes. Paulinho Buboltz, ironically enough, made his first All-Star game with 20 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal in just 15 minutes. His performance was a highlight reel, but it was David Anyan who was named All-Star MVP in the East's 120-102 victory, with a line of 28 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block.

So it's decision time. Stay put or make a move.

I try to pry Chris Gearheart out of Memphis, but the Grizzlies demand Augusto as part of any trade talks and there's just no way that's happening. Same with the Mavericks, though I offered them a very lucrative package for Jonte Jones.

And then's when I find another move to make.

Denver Nuggets receive
C Tim Davis
Los Angeles Lakers 2020 1st round pick

Los Angeles Lakers receive
C Austin Buller
Denver Nuggets 2020 1st round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
With $10 million coming off the books next year for Kirk Hinrich's contract, Denver's sitting pretty to re-acquire the huge (7'3, 294 lbs) Davis, who's still a dynamite defender and who wreaked havoc from the SF spot for the Lakers in his time there. Davis was quite bitter about having been traded from the Nuggets, so it's hoped that by re-acquiring him, GM Jestor will have restored peace to that fractured relationship. And of course, the pick should be higher. Davis might well see his role change in this version of his Nuggets tenure, as he may be asked to draw attention inside and free up room for rookie sensation Marcelino Augusto.

What this means for the Lakers
Andrew Bynum is out with a broken elbow and Derrick Robinson has a broken hand. Tim Davis himself is hampered by a broken nose. A healthy Buller, who has far better scoring instincts and a more balanced shooting ability, fits in perfectly with the Purple and Gold, who are locked in a fight for the division title. Given how poor the West has been the last couple seasons and the Pacific in particular, the differential in draft picks might not even be that great.

Winner: Denver
We like Davis better than Buller and the higher pick only adds to the Nuggets advantage.

A risky play? Sure. But one worth making in my opinion. Buller's too inconsistent and he was getting beat down too often by centers he shouldn't have been.

David Jackson gets the start against Boston while Davis is limited by his busted nose and we win 112-101. Mateen Yeaton blistered the Celtics for 32 points, Zelipe Gama had 11 points and 10 assists and we had 3 reserves score 12 points or better: Michael Redd (12), Emeka Okafor (13) and Tim Davis (12), who's absolutely pumped to be back in Denver.

Three Nuggets hit the 20+ mark as we punish the Grizzlies for not dealing us Chris Gearheart by beating them 104-95 in Memphis. Mateen Yeaton led the charge with 26 points, but Marcelino Augusto and Zelipe Gama were magnificient with 22 points and 10 rebounds and 22 points, 16 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 steals respectively. It's amzing how energized we are after that trade.

We crush the Hornets 118-93, Mateen Yeaton just missing a double-double with 28 points and 9 rebounds. Zelipe Gama garnered 14 points and 11 assists and our greybeard reserves shot like they were 10 years younger as Michael Redd and Emeka Okafor scored 17 and 15 points respectively.

The month ends on an immensely satisfying note as we avenge the horrid loss to the Hawks by beating Atlanta 103-91. Marcelino Augusto scored 29, Mateen Yeaton took second with 21 points and David Jackson doubled with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He hasn't been sensational as a starter by any means, but he's been extremely consistent, getting between 8-10 points and 9-11 rebounds each of his five starts.

We're 41-16, still owners of the best record in the West, 13 games ahead of the Timberwolves in the division. San Antonio leads the Southwest by 3.5 over the Grizzlies at 39-17. The Mavericks are the lone other team with a winning record in the conference at 32-23.

The Lakers currently lead the Pacific at 24-31, with everyone except the Clippers a game or a game and half back. (Clips are 5 back at 20-37. Shows how sucky the division is this year).

Toronto's still strangeholding the East at 43-13. 9 teams with winning records in the conference, which would currently have the 30-27 Knicks sitting home.

The Central's a two horse race between the Bucks (31-24) and the Pistons, who are a game off the pace. Southeast has the 38-16 Bobcats a game and a half up on the Magic, four ahead of the Hawks.

It's another down scoring year, with Nigel Abel leading the league with 26.6 points a game. The Pacers may suck, but Ben Gordon's second in scoring with 25.3 points, Jonte Jones third at 24.6 Mateen Yeaton is 7th, averaging 22.6 points a game. Or maybe it's that scoring's more balanced, as we have 22 players in the league averaging over 20 points.

Four players averaging double-digit assists: Kenny Graham - 11.5, our own Zelipe Gama - 11.2, Calvis Graham - 10.7 and Lebron James -10.5.

Rebounding is all Greg Oden, averaging 15.6 boards a game. Andrew Bogut is a distant second with 12.1 rebounds a game.

Five players with 3 or more blocks a game: Josh Smith - 3.4, Martin Beerbohm and Andrei Kirilenko - 3.3, Kelvin Moody - 3.1 and Patrick Riley - 3. 24 players averaging 2 blocks or better in the league, which could account a bit for the lack of studly scorers like the earlier years of this league.

Derrick Sterett is the league leader in steals with 2.1. Gerald Wallace is second with 1.9, followed by Leland Peterson and Dusty Coursey both of the Wizards at 1.8. Zelipe Gama is 10th with 1.6, followed by Mateen Yeaton 15th at 1.5.

Marcelino Augusto is owning all rookies in scoring, averaging 16.9 points a game. His closest competition and the only other player in double-digit figures is Michael Johnson at 12.9 points a contest.

Jameel Williams leads in assists with 5 a game, followed by Brett Watson at 3.8 dishes a game. Marcelino Augusto is 4th with 2.1.

Scott Palmer is first in rebounds with a fairly impressive 8, Marcelino Augusto second with a 6.9 board average. From there it drops off considerably, Michael Johnson third at 4.6.

Marcelino Augusto is first in blocks with 1.5 a game. Milan Nouge is second with 1.1 rejections and Lance Purnell, whom we dealt away, is 3rd at 0.6.

Marcelino Augusto's also the only class member averaging a steal a game at precisely that, though Scott Palmer's right behind at 0.9 and Brett Watson and Derrick Trombley are just behind that at 0.8

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: 56 games/56 starts - 18.6 PPG 8.4 APG 2.8 RPG 0.6 BPG 1.2 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: 57 games/57 starts - 22.6 PPG 3.2 APG 4.8 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.5 SPG
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Old 10-25-2008, 12:04 AM   #269
cubboyroy1826
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Hate to interupt a great dynasty but where the heck do i place a 2008 draft file? I put the rkf file into the save that i am playing but i cannot figure out how to get the game to use the file instead of making the fictional players. The file is named 2008DraftPool.rkf.
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:49 PM   #270
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubboyroy1826 View Post
Hate to interupt a great dynasty but where the heck do i place a 2008 draft file? I put the rkf file into the save that i am playing but i cannot figure out how to get the game to use the file instead of making the fictional players. The file is named 2008DraftPool.rkf.

I think you got that answered over at the WS boards.

BTW, I'm not going to be able to update until Monday guys. The bottom covering of my laptop popped out and won't go back in. My roommate says he can fix it, but he needs to wait till Monday to be able to borrow the right screwdriver from the lab.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:54 PM   #271
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Atlanta Hawks receive
PG Tony Parker
Houston Rockets 2018 2nd round pick

Houston Rockets receive
C Jayson Alexander
SG Jamar Jefferson

What this means for the Hawks
Atlanta's in the midst of its best season since 2012, when they finished 42-40 and made the playoffs as the #7 seed. Parker's old, but he's still got game and makes a terrific first guard off the bench option. Throw in the expiring $7.2 million contract and you've got an Atlanta team that's going to have some serious cap money to play with next offseason and a probable playoff performance to add to it.

What this means for the Rockets
Jefferson was released immediately after the trade, so this is all about Alexander, whose sole strength is rebounding. He's an end of the bench player, 30 years old and has been a bust ever since he was taken 10th overall by the Hawks in 2009. A career-long Hawk, he leaves just when they're getting good.

Winner: Atlanta
It's hard to see why the Rockets even made this trade, as they gain no benefit out of it, even financially, as Parker's $7.2 million expiring deal would've given them much more flexibility than the contracts they took on. Great acquistion by the Hawks.

Boston Celtics receive
SG Jason Richardson
Indiana Pacers 2018 2nd round pick

Indiana Pacers receive
PF Byron Davis
C Chris Washington

What this means for the Celtics
Richardson, 36, is a terrible ballhandler for a guard and only has mediocre defense. But on the other hand, he can score, averaging 9 points as a reserve this season. Still, this takes away PT for raw, but potentially promising Pete Latham who's shown major strides in this, his third season. Then again, there's the $5.5 million expiring contract.

What this means for the Pacers
This is about Davis, as Washington was cut. Davis is a good defender, but that's all and on top of it, he's a D-leaguer. It's hard to say that this move looks like anything but a tanking trade on Indiana's part.

Winner: Boston
The C's actually get benefit out of this. It only works for Indiana if the Pacers tank their way to the #1 pick.

Charlotte Bobcats receive
PG Raymond Felton

Chicago Bulls receive
PF Sean May

What this means for the Bobcats
Even at 34, Felton's a nice all-around reserve guard to have and he can serve as another mentor to rookie Jameel Williams. The expiring $6.8 million contract, $1.4 million more than May's, doesn't hurt either.

What this means for the Bulls
You know your center situation is in trouble when you have to start a 34 year old PF whose best skill is free throw shooting. May's mediocre in every other area, but the Bulls are missing Austin Buller so much, he's the new starting C. Chicago fans are -not- happy with the front office, to be sure.

Winner: Charlotte
Felton returns to the Bobcats and couldn't be more happy to do so. Charlotte's thrilled to have him as well. Meanwhile, the Bulls continue to destroy what was once a promising young core of players.

Philadelphia 76ers receive
PG Brian Metcalfe
L.A. Clippers 2018 2nd round pick

Los Angeles Clippers receive
SF Jason Tackett
PF Ryan Gill
SF Thaddeus Young
C Chris Kaman

What this means for the 76ers
Metcalfe is a better defender than Pete Bannister and his presence allows Philadelphia to shift Bannister to SG where he can concentrate on scoring rather than running the offense. Great pickup for the 76ers, as Metcalfe's a much better floor general than Bannister and is a veteran presence.

What this means for the Clippers
Young and Kaman got their pink slips, so it's Tackett and Gill. Tackett's traded for the second time this year and it's not a happy situation he steps into, but he's such a team player it'll be fine. Gill, Philadelphia's 2nd round pick this year (10th pick in 2nd rounder) is roster fodder.

Winner: Philadelphia
The 76ers just robbed the Clippers and ensure the Red and White will stay one of the league's worst teams.

Toronto Raptors receive
SF Jerrance Newman

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SF Garvin Marks

What this means for the Raptors
Newman, taken 26th overall in 2012 by the Celtics, is a solid all-around swingman. Not great at anything, but not horrible either. He also comes very cheap this year and next, under $1 million. That's great value

What this means for the Grizzlies
Marks, taken 29th last year by the Raptors, is terrible, like most of the rest of his class is. The only benefit to the Grizz? $800,000 off next year's salary bill.

Winner: Toronto
This is why the Raptors are two-time defending NBA champions. They make smart moves like this.

Blah onto the improved Raptors.

Indiana continues Operation Tank, bowing out 126-90 to open the month. Ben Gordon scored 35 points and Rudy Braun, yes -that- Rudy Braun, finds his way to 10 points off the bench, but by and large you get the sense that this Pacers team has quit. Marcelino Augusto rampages for 27 points and 13 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 30 and our old men of the bench come through again, as Michael Redd scores 13 and Emeka Okafor adds 14 points.

We drop a close one, 100-96, to the Clippers in Los Angeles, our first loss since the trade. We forget how to play defense and so Mateen Yeaton's 32 points, Marcelino Augusto's 22 points and Zelipe Gama's 10 points and 10 assists come to naught. Ron Collier pisses me off by going 3 for 13. He won't be back next year, I can tell you that much right now.

Ron Collier is a horrendous 3 for 14 our next game and we lose 107-96 at home to the Trailblazers. Mateen Yeaton scored 21 and Zelipe Gama was everywhere with 22 points and 12 assists, but not even those two can combine with Michael Redd's 10 bench points to give us a win.

We really need to win the first game of the back-to-back that's up next, because it's against the Spurs. Thankfully we do, triumphing 111-98 behind 32 points from Mateen Yeaton, 26 points from Zelipe Gama and terrific bench performances from Kirk Hinrich (13 points) and Emeka Okafor (double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds). Phoenix flames out 94-74 against us the next night, Mateen Yeaton extinguishing the Suns with 33 points, David Jackson doubling with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

There've been a lot of frustratingly close losses this year and we pick up another one, 110-107 against the Bobcats as we implode in the fourth quarter. 27 points from Marcelino Augusto? Wasted. 25 points from Mateen Yeaton and 10 points and 12 assists from Zelipe Gama likewise go for nothing.

Mateen Yeaton singlehandedly makes sure the Clippers don't sneak another upset in the 102-96 victory over them with 37 points. Kirk Hinrich and Emeka Okafor continue to laugh at Old Man Time with 9 points and 11 assists and 13 points respectively off the bench.

Tim Davis debuts at C against the Bucks and promptly scores 20 points in the 118-87 blowout. Marcelino Augusto gets 19 points and 11 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 21 and we have a surprising showing from the reserves. No, it's not Kirk Hinrich's 10 points, but Ron Collier's 7 for 10 night for 16 points. David Jackson has taken over the starting SF spot, at least for now, and I'm thrilled he's there, as our cockiest player is much more steady and consistent.

We take the magic out of the Wizards, winning 102-81 as Marcelino Augusto highlights the night with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Mateen Yeaton scores 25, Zelipe Gama has 13 points and 10 assists and Ron Collier continues to thrive in a reserve role with 10 points and 8 rebounds.

Austin Buller comes ready to play against us and is incredible with 23 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks. But then Mateen Yeaton gets inspired and puts on a show of 38 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 7 blocks and 8 steals. Combine that with David Jackson's 13 points and 13 rebounds and you're looking at a 115-96 Nuggets win.

A shootout against Sacramento goes the wrong way and we lose 110-101. Mateen Yeaton scores 36 and Marcelino Augusto muscles his way to 19 points and 13 rebounds, but our bench is suddenly looking very old and very tired. A worrying trend.

26 points from Mateen Yeaton and 10 points and 16 rebounds from Tim Davis don't mean jack when you're shooting 36.7% as a team and that jackass Ron Collier is shooting 3 for 11. 89-75 loss to the Suns to make it two defeats in a row. I'm officially annoyed.

We spank the Jazz 113-83 as Mateen Yeaton lets loose for 31 points and Zelipe Gama was giving everyone a hand with 20 assists. Our bench may not be dead after all, as Michael Redd ressurects for 18 points and Good Ron Collier shows up with 14 points.

Another big game to front end the doubleheader against the Spurs. We prevail 112-100 as Mateen Yeaton scores 35, Tim Davis kicks the door in for 23 points, Marcelino Augusto and is noteworthy with 12 points and 10 rebounds. But the real story is Ron Collier exploding off the bench for 26 points, as San Antonio just couldn't find an answer for him. Naturally we have a hangover the next night and lose 104-95 to the Suns, squandering 17 bench points from Ron Collier, who's fighting to get his starting job back.

Ugly, ugly month. We've given away advantage to the Spurs for the top seed. They're 51-22, we're 50-22. Memphis is still in it as well, at 49-22. Dallas remains the lone other team above .500 at 41-31, though Seattle is at least 36-36. Sacramento's winning the punchless Pacific at 33-41, a game up on the Lakers, three ahead of the Suns.

The Raptors have all but secured the first overall seed in the NBA with 57-15 mark. Lots of fighting for the lower playoff seeds, though.

Milwaukee's one game ahead of Detroit for the Central title and winning the division is going to be key, as the Bucks are just 39-33 and the Knicks are fighting their asses off to get back to the playoffs at 38-33. One of Detroit, New York and Milwaukee is going to be sitting home and I'd lay odds on whoever loses the Central being that one.
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:33 AM   #272
Coffee Warlord
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Location: Colorado Springs
Could the window be slowly closing for Denver's title hopes?
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:19 PM   #273
Izulde
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Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
Could the window be slowly closing for Denver's title hopes?

Not very likely. Our oldest starter is Mateen Yeaton, who's 29 years old. On the other hand, the window -is- fast closing for Kirk Hinrich to win another ring and Emeka Okafor, despite 4 or 5 trips to the Finals, has never won a ring either and his window is also coming to a close.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:19 PM   #274
Izulde
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Although we're currently slated for the #2 seed, there's a lot of basketball left to be played in which we can reverse fortune and capture yet another #1 seed.

We get off to a fantastic start, sweeping a doubleheader in convincing fashion. Although Narcyz Malinomowski had a sensational game of 27 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks and a steal, we more than counter that with 22 points and 10 rebounds from Tim Davis, 20 points from Marcelino Augusto, 16 points and 10 rebounds out of David Jackson, and 11 points and 10 assists from Zelipe Gama in a 120-98 blowout of the Grizzlies. If this wasn't enough, Michael Redd (10 points), Ron Collier (10 points) and Kirk Hinrich (11 assists) all made their presence felt off the bench. The next night in New Orleans featured a 110-78 victory over the Hornets keyed by 30 points and 10 rebounds from Mateen Yeaton and 12 bench points from Ron Collier.

Another doubleheader, this one divisional, another commanding pair of wins. 99-76 is the final line against the Timberwolves as Mateen Yeaton scores 24 and Ron Collier and Emeka Okafor contribute 14 and 10 points off the bench respectively. We beat Seattle 103-83 as Mateen Yeaton scores 26, Marcelino Augusto hammers home 21 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks and Zelipe Gama distributes 10 points and 14 assists. Ron Collier is a blistering 7 for 8 off the bench for 18 points and fellow reserve Michael Redd adds 10 points.

We crush the Warriors by 40 points, 108-68, to guarantee no worse than a .500 record in our last ten games. Mateen Yeaton scores 23, Marcelino Augusto takes in 16 points and 11 rebounds and Ron Collier fires shot after shot, netting 22 points off the bench. Michael Redd scored 10 with the second team for the second consecutive game.

The Hornets come buzzing around for revenge, but they're promptly smashed, 120-79. Mateen Yeaton and Tim Davis conspire for 26 and 25 points respectively, Michael Redd scores 13 off the bench and Kirk Hinrich is a bucket away from a reserve double-double at 8 points and 10 assists.

Memphis is next to roar for revenge on the front end of a back to back and they get it, stunning us 108-98 in Denver. 24 points from Mateen Yeaton and 12 bench points a piece out of Ron Collier and Michael Redd aren't enough when faced with a pack of hungry Grizzlies. Fortunately we snap back the next evening for a 112-102 victory in Houston. Mateen Yeaton leads the way with 31 points, Zelipe Gama snaps out of his mini-slump with 19 points and 10 assists and Ron Collier is shot-crazy off the bench for 23 points.

The final set rounds out with another doubleheader and we take both to give us a 9-1 record in the final ten games. Phoenix throws a scare into us, but we prevail 108-100 on the road, thanks mostly to Mateen Yeaton's 34 points. But we also need Tim Davis's 20 points and 11 rebounds and David Jackson's 10 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Yep, Ron Collier got his starting job back at SF, though who knows how long he'll keep it. It was Mateen Yeaton again in our 115-76 regular season-concluding victory against Portland. He had 33 points and was assisted by Marcelino Augusto (12 points, 10 rebounds), Zelipe Gama (10 points, 12 assists), Emeka Okafor (12 points, 9 rebounds off the bench), and Michael Redd and Kirk Hinrich each with 10 reserve points.

Our hot streak has officially earned us the #1 seed in the West at 59-23! Sure, we missed out on 60 wins, but that's okay. Here's how the seeding breaks down in the conferences:

West Conference
1. Denver Nuggets (59-23)
2. San Antonio Spurs (57-25)
3. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27)
4. Los Angeles Lakers (39-43)
5. Dallas Mavericks (45-37)
6. Seattle Supersonics (42-40)
7. Minnesota Timberwolves (39-43)
8. Sacramento Kings (36-46)

East Conference
1. Toronto Raptors (66-16)
2. Philadelphia 76ers (56-26)
3. Atlanta Hawks (52-30)
4. Milwaukee Bucks (46-36)
5. Charlotte Bobcats (51-31)
6. Orlando Magic (50-32)
7. Detroit Pistons (44-38)
8. New York Knicks (43-39)

Point Leaders
Nigel Abel (Miami) -27.2
Ben Gordon (Indiana) - 25.8
Jonte Jones (Dallas) - 24.7
Mateen Yeaton (Denver) - 24.4
Kyle Hoiberg (Lakers) - 24.1

Assists Leaders
Kenny Graham (Detroit) - 11.5
Zelipe Gama (Denver) - 11.0
Calvis Graham (Lakers) - 10.9
Lebron James (Cleveland) -10.4
Branko Starcevic (Seattle) - 9.9

Rebounds Leaders
Greg Oden (Toronto) - 15.5
Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee) - 12.5
Jonte Jones (Dallas) - 12.1
Kelvin Moody (Minnesota) - 11.6
Narcyz Malinomowski (Memphis) - 11.5

Blocks Leaders
Martin Beerbohm (New Orleans) - 3.5
Josh Smith (Charlotte) - 3.4
Andrei Kirilenko (Phoenix) - 3.1
Kelvin Moody (Minnesota) - 2.9
Patrick Riley (Washington) - 2.9

Steals Leaders
Derrick Sterett (New Jersey) - 2.1
Jeremy Lemons (Orlando) - 1.9
Gerald Wallace (Charlotte) - 1.8
Dusty Coursey (Washington) - 1.8
3 Tied for 5th at 1.7

Rookie Leaders

Points
Marcelino Augusto (Denver) - 16.8
Michael Johnson (Golden State) - 12.2
Dermek Trombley (Detroit) - 9.5
Scott Palmer (Seattle) - 9.2
Brett Watson (Philadelphia) - 7.4

Assists
Jameel Williams (Charlotte) - 4.8
Brett Watson (Philadelphia) - 2.9
Marcelino Augusto (Denver) - 2.3
Michael Johnson (Golden State) - 2.1
Dermek Trombley (Detroit) - 2.1

Rebounds
Scott Palmer (Seattle) - 8.4
Marcelino Augusto (Denver) - 7.2
Michael Johnson (Golden State) - 4.5
Dermek Trombely (Detroit) - 4.2
Milan Nouge (Phoenix) - 3.7

Blocks
Marcelino Augusto (Denver) - 1.7
Milan Nouge (Phoenix) - 1.0
Lance Purnell (New Jersey) - 0.5
Scott Palmer (Seattle) - 0.3
2 others tied at 0.2

Steals
Marcelino Augusto (Denver) - 1.1
Scott Palmer (Seattle) - 0.9
Dermek Trombley (Detroit) - 0.8
Michael Johnson (Golden State) - 0.8
2 others tied at 0.6
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:24 AM   #275
Izulde
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My initial hunch is that the Kings aren't going to pose much of a threat, but we'll see what the preview article says.

"And here we are, with the Raptors and Nuggets again the top seeds in their respective conferences and the NBA and network execs praying for a third straight Toronto/Denver Finals.

The two-time defending Western Conference champions open with an opponent that at first glance appears to be a cakewalk in the Sacramento Kings, but let's take a closer look and see.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Kevin Martin

Gama was second in the league in assists during the regular season and he averaged 10.3 points, nearly 4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.4 steals to boot. An All-NBA 2nd Team selection last year, there's no better floor general in the entire league, with the exception of perhaps Detroit's Kenny Graham.

Martin's better suited to SG, but he's not a horrible PG selection or anything. He averaged 16.3 points, 6.8 assists, 4 rebounds and 1.1 steals in the regular season. Very good defender whose size is going to create major matchup headaches for Gama with some nice outside shooting and scoring instincts.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Justin Barnes

Yeaton's the unquestioned face of the Nuggets, averaging 24.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.6 steals in the regular season. He's a do-everything SG whose size and height make him a real bear to go against and help compensate for his only average defense. Denver will need him to again be a playoff warrior if they want to go to the Finals a third consecutive time.

Justin "Firefly" Barnes is electric on the court. At 6'2, opponents tend to underestimate him.. until they realize he's got 205 lbs of solid muscle on him and he's powered his way to a regular season of 21.1 points, 5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals. He hasn't shown much in the postseason, though and he draws a tough opponent in one of the NBA's biggest stars in Yeaton. That said, Barnes has been the steal of his class at the 12th overall pick and the third year pro still has more room to develop.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Ron Collier vs. Tracy McGrady

Collier's a streaky shooter who experienced a slump after being dealt to Denver midseason that sent him to the bench in favor of David Jackson, but then he amped his game up again. When he's on, he's really on and when he's cold, he jacks up shot after shot trying to compensate and it hurts the team. That inconsistency and ballhogging make Collier a prime candidate to be gone at the start of next season.

McGrady's lost a lot off his glittering prime, but the man's 38 years old. That said, he's still got a shot you have to respect, as he averaged 12.2 points and he can catch you napping for the steal as he averaged 1.4 swipes a game. Both play good, but not exceptional defense, so this is going to be an interesting matchup to watch. McGrady knows his role better, though.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Marcelino Augusto vs. Mike Vines

Not since Kelvin Moody has a PF had so sensational a rookie season as Augusto, who looks to be an absolute lock for Rookie of the Year. How good is this 19 year old? So good that one scout raved, "He plays like he's 29, not 19 and he doesn't play like he's 6'9, 217. He plays like he's 7', 297." Furthermore, he's so good that he's second on a championship contender in scoring (16.8 points), first in rebounding (7.2), third in steals (1.1) and second in blocks (1.7). Even more frightening? The Nuggets coaching staff say he just keeps getting better and better with every game and every practice.

Vines doesn't come with nearly the salivation that Augusto does, but the 28 year old is a fine player in his own right. Another steal of a selection at 12th overall by the Kings (2010 draft), he's one of the league's top shutdown defenders and has a nice post game, averaging 14.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in the regular season. At 6'11, 245 lbs, he's got the bulk to contest Augusto and he's also got the intangibles edge, because he's one of the most underrated and underappreciated players in the NBA. Still, it's doubtful he can truly contest Augusto's brightly burnishing star.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
Tim Davis vs. Sean Griffin

Last year, Davis lit up the Nuggets after he was traded to the Lakers. This year, he's back on the Nuggets and determined to prove his 2016 postseason and his 2014 championship-winning playoffs with the Pistons were no fluke. His numbers were down in the regular season, averaging just 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds between the Lakers and the Nuggets, but that's just more fuel for the fire.

He also has a huge size advantage as Griffin is just 6'8, 244 lbs compared to Davis's 7'3, 294 lb body. That's a difference of 7 inches and 50 pounds and Griffin's going to get hammered this series. Griffin was the Kings' 15th overall pick in the 2013 draft and he's an average all-around C, averaging 9.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.3 steals in the regular season.

Advantage: Nuggets

Bench

Denver's most cocky player, fan favorite David Jackson, calls himself 'The Best Damn 6th Man in the World'. While we don't know about that, Jackson's shown in his sophomore year that his rookie season was no abberation, averaging 8 points and 6.2 rebounds in the regular season as a part-time starter, largely 6th man. 38 year old Michael Redd was signed in free agency to provide offensive punch for the bench and he's done exactly that, contributing 6.9 points a game. Kirk Hinrich, another greybeard, is putting up 6.1 points and 4.4 assists at 36 years old. Team captain Emeka Okafor is the defensive stopper.

Hilton Armstrong is precisely the kind of veteran security blanket you want as your 6th man. Averaging 7.2 points and 7.1 rebounds a game in the regular season, he does everything pretty well, standing out in none. But he's steady. Quincy Douby's postseason performances are well known and Steven Caspers, a former Nugget, is the defensive stalwart.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts
This looks to be an out and out blowout. The Kings have some nice individual pieces, but the sum parts can't stand up against this Nuggets powerhouse. Sacramento's currently stuck in NBA purgatory. Just good enough to make the playoffs or just bad enough to get a lottery pick not worth mentioning. A sweep is in the offing.
Prediction: Nuggets in 4

Nice to know they're so confident. For what it's worth, I privately agree with their assessment.

Game One
The first game of the series was exciting... if you like watching blowouts. Mateen Yeaton scores 28, Tim Davis adds 21 points and Michael Redd and David Jackson both score 10 points off the bench. Game effort by Justin Barnes with 20 points and Sean Griffin had 10 points and 17 rebounds because Davis's one Achilles heel is his inability to rebound, but we still won box to wire in this laugher.
Final - Sacramento 79 Denver 118

Game Two
Sequel's virtually the same as the original. Mateen Yeaton is on fire again with a great all-around game 30 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 4 steals, Tim Davis scores 20 and we've again two bench players in double-digit scoring. Kirk Hinrich has 10 points, David Jackson backing up his 6th man claim with 15 points. For the Kings, Justin Barnes works his tail off for 23 points and Mike Vines scores 22, but even that plus 14 bench points from Quincy Douby can't avoid another Sacramento embarassment and a 2-0 series hole.
Final - Sacramento 85 Denver 111

Game Three
Will the series get more exciting when we shift to Sacramento? My guess is yes, but nowhere near enough to make a difference. The Kings come out fired up on their home court and Justin Barnes continues to show why he was such a steal in scoring 24 points. Kevin Martin finally comes untracked for 22 points and Quincy Douby hits 12 points to lead the Sacramento reserves. The Kings also shot a series high 45.6%. But then Mateen Yeaton and Zelipe Gama neutralize their counterparts with 25 points and 20 points and 17 assists respectively (a near double-20 from Gama! Wow!), Tim Davis finds a rebounding touch and grabs 14 boards to go with 10 points and our reserves out-point the Kings' seconds, led by 13 points from Michael Redd and 12 points from David Jackson. Close for Sacramento, but no cigar as they're staring down the business end of a 3-0 gun.
Final - Denver 106 Sacramento 99

Game Four
My suspicion is that all the fight's gone out of the Kings. They put on a damned good show last night, but I think that was it. Sure enough, it's good night Sacramento, as 6 Nuggets score 12 points or better. Mateen Yeaton led the way with 23 points, Zelipe Gama garnered 13 points and 14 assists and Tim Davis had arguably his best game of the series with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 4 steals. David Jackson completes the double-digit bench point superfecta with 13 points. What a hell of an opening series he's had! Justin Barnes nobly scores 24 and Sean Griffin scrapes together 18 points and 13 assists, but it's just not enough. The Sacramento Kings are dethroned in precisely the predicted sweep, interestingly enough by the exact same score both nights on their home turf.
Final - Denver 106 Sacramento 99

I'm stunned to read in the paper the next morning that we were the lone team to sweep. Not that I mind, of course. We escaped the opening round mostly injury-free, although Mateen Yeaton, true to form, banged up his foot.

A lot of series ended in the fifth game. Toronto over New York, where the Knicks never even should've won a game, Atlanta surprisingly over Orlando, as I figured that'd be a closer series. I still don't think the Hawks are for real, but they keep proving me wrong. The 76ers punt the Pistons in five as well, along with the Spurs over the Timberwolves and the Grizzlies over the Supersonics. That Memphis/San Antonio matchup is going to be a damned fun one to watch.

The remaining two contests go the full seven games and in the end, Charlotte upends Milwaukee and the Mavericks beat out the Lakers, sending the Purple and Gold to their second straight first round playoff loss. I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief on that one, because the thought of facing Andrew Bynum and Austin Buller terrified me.

Then again, we wouldn't have had to play Buller. He broke his leg in the first game of the series.

But on the other hand, I feel safer playing the Mavericks than I do the Lakers, even that means playing against the one guy I would've traded Marcelino Augusto for.

Yep, that's right. The rumors about trading Augusto a couple months ago? They were true. And it was Jonte Jones I almost dealt for.

I'm damned glad I didn't, though. I've grown quite fond of Marcelino. He's a great player and I think he could be in the Hall of Fame some day. He's that good, even if he hasn't broken out in the playoffs yet.
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:31 PM   #276
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Playing Jonte Jones is going to be tough, but this is not the Mavericks team of Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki, who we battled so fiercely with through the early years in my time here in Denver. I think we'll do well here.

Let's see what the press says.

"There's little question that Jonte Jones is this generation's Lebron James, a superstar stuck on a team with too few supporting parts to hoist the championship trophy. That said, at least Jones has been to the Finals (2012) whereas the closest James has gotten in recent years is the second round.

Can Jones carry the Mavericks to an upset of the Nuggets? Review the tapes!

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Damian Giesen

Gama's averaging 10 points, 13.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds, a steal and 1.3 blocks in the postseason. In short, he's doing everything Denver expects out of him, both in the regular season and the playoffs. Make the passes, grab some rebounds, score some points and make defensive plays.

Giesen, 26, was the 23rd overall pick by the Grizzlies in 2014 and isn't really starting PG material. He's better suited to SG and he's looked frozen this year in the playofs, averaging just 8.3 points and 7 assists against the Lakers. Still, his passing was better than the regular season, when he averaged 5.8.

Advantage: Nuggets

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Jamar Barnes

Yeaton was magnificient against the Kings, averaging 26.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2.3 blocks a game. He's fully healed from a foot injury in the first round and he's primed to have another fantastic series as the heart of Denver's offense.

From J. Barnes to J. Barnes, only Jamar is inferior to Justin. He's a subpar defender and is actually better suited to play PG. Some shooting power as his 12.3 points and great stealing instincts as his 1.7 steals from the first round illustrate. He also averaged a block a game, but he's not going to do that against the taller Yeaton and his less than adequate defense spells doom for Dallas.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Ron Collier vs. Daniel Wilder

Collier's been under fire from the Nuggets front office, notably GM Jestor for his wild-shooting ways, but as his 43.2% shooting and his 10.3 points a game in the first round shows, he's toned it way down in the playoffs. He'll need to maintain that if he hopes to stay on the team past this year.

One of the most puzzling things about the Mavericks is why Wilder's making over $10 million a year and why he keeps getting a starting job. He's not very good in any area, certainly not worth the kind of money he's getting. He's got some defensive playmaking skills (a steal, 1.3 blocks in the first round), but he's never averaged double-digit scoring during the regular season and is only somewhat above that mark this playoffs with an 11.7 point average. On the other hand, he's got some rebounding skills, grabbing 5.4 boards in the first round, second on the Mavs.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Marcelino Augusto vs. Al Horford

We salivated over Augusto before the first round and although he didn't make any highlight reels, he was quietly effective, averaging 14 points, 8.5 rebounds, a steal and 2.3 blocks. A fine first playoff series, particularly for a 19 year old rookie, no matter how heralded.

Good luck to Horford in trying to stop him. He weighs 30 lbs more than Augusto, but Marcelino's bested bigger and better men than Al and Horford's line of 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds doesn't inspire confidence that he can contain the Nuggets' rising megastar.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
Tim Davis vs. Jonte Jones

Davis didn't exactly set the world on fire in the opening round, but he still averaged 17.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and a steal per game. Unfortunately, he's a terrible blocker and plays very, very soft, things that are going to get him in trouble against the most aggressive, powerful Jones.

Jones averaged an eye-popping 29.6 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks against the Lakers and Andrew Bynum and there's every reason to believe he can do just as well against the Nuggets, if not better. On the other hand, since Horford is so horrible, Denver should be able to keep a double-team on Jones inside and dare the Mavericks to beat them from the perimeter.

Advantage: Mavericks

Bench

David Jackson went a long way to backing up his brash boast of being The World's Best Damn 6th Man as the second year player averaged an amazing 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds against the Kings. You'd have to go back almost a decade, to the days of Chauncey Billups, to find a Denver player who had that kind of force off the bench. Michael Redd is hungry for a title and has been playing like it, sniping off the bench for 8.5 points in the first round and Kirk Hinrich is right there with him, compiling averages of 7 points and 4.8 assists.

Mike Patterson's a nice all-around backup and he averaged 11.6 points in the opening round. Jeff Green is averaging the exact same 9 points in the playoffs that he did in the regular season and he's a pretty good defender to boot. Hamilton Bibby is back in a Mavericks uniform after taking his skills elsewhere for a few seasons and is averaging 7.7 points. But for all Dallas's offensive power off the bench, they don't have the defensive stopper that the Nuggets do in Emeka Okafor.

Advantage: Draw

Final Thoughts

Can Jonte Jones save the Mavericks? No. They had to go the full seven games against an Austin Buller-less Lakers and Jones provides Dallas their only major advantage. That won't be enough and while this series won't be a sweep, it'll be short.
Prediction: Denver in 5

Yeah, I can believe that.

Game One
Despite the inequity in overall talent, I'm still expecting a lot tougher matchup from the Mavericks than the Kings. If the first game is any indication, that's not going to happen. We shut down the interior passing lanes all night and Jonte Jones also only played 24 minutes due to foul trouble. Because we clogged up the inside, he took just 3 shots all night, converting 2 and ending with 6 points. When your superstar only scores 6 points, it doesn't matter that Mike Patterson and Jeff Green score 12 and 17 points off the bench respectively; you just aren't going to win. Not when Marcelino Augusto's scoring 20 points and Mateen Yeaton's leading all scorers with 23 points. And not when Emeka Okafor's coming alive for 11 bench points. David Jackson's double-digit bench point streak ended tonight, but only by a bucket. He was 4 of 4 for 8 points. Great night. Great big blowout for the 1-0 series lead.
Final - Dallas 87 Denver 108

Game Two
Fantastic center duel tonight, Jonte Jones putting up 25 points and 16 rebounds, Tim Davis countering him with 31 points. But it all came down to the support and all Jones had was 19 points from Jeff Green, who I'm really growing to admire. Davis, in counterpoint, had an assist of 22 points from Mateen Yeaton and a sensational 7 of 8 shooting for 15 points off the bench from David Jackson, pushing his postseason FG shooting to 70.2%. Wow! Closer game, but still a comfortable win. Nuggets up 2-0.
Final - Dallas 109 Denver 119

Game Three
The Kings fought back hard in Sacramento and I'm expecting the same from the Mavericks. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to see them win a game here. Marcelino Augusto scores 28 points and Mateen Yeaton continues his consistency with another 22 points. Michael Redd shoots 11 points to lead the reserves. But Jonte Jones is alive and fighting now with 24 points and 10 rebound and Al Horford finagled 14 points and 10 rebounds himself. Then there's the 10 bench points from Jeff Green. The real story of the night, though is Damian Giesen, who has the game of his life in scoring 30 points with 7 assists. How big was it? So big that it was his new career-high. End result? We lose by 12 and suddenly it's 2-1.
Final - Denver 108 Dallas 120

Game Four
Big game here. We need to put them away or suddenly this becomes a whole new series. Jonte Jones rampages again, this time for 23 points and 12 rebounds and Mike Patterson contributes 12 bench points. But Mateen Yeaton counters it with 25 points and Zelipe Gama charges in for 19 points and 10 assists, after relying on strictly passing the first three games, giving us the win despite horrendous shooting from our bench and a foul-plagued game by Tim Davis. We've got them against the wall.
Final - Denver 107 Dallas 88

We already know our West Conference Finals opponents if we get that far, because the Spurs stunningly swept the Grizzlies. Even more surprising is the fact that the two series in the East are deadlocked at two games a piece.

Game Five
Now that the Spurs have swept, I really want to end the series here so we can get rested up and be as fresh as San Antonio for the conference finals. I'm sure glad to be back in Denver and so are the gang as Mateen Yeaton scores 22 points, Michael Redd scores 10 off the bench and all five of our starters score 12 points or better. Dallas counters with 19 bench points from Jeff Green and one of the most astounding performances I've ever seen. In fact, this is one of the greatest games I've ever seen period. Jonte Jones thunders for 39 points, 20 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 blocks, while Zelipe Gama -just- misses a 20/20 with 22 points and 19 assists. It was a hard-fought, intense game all the way through, but in the end, we take the first 3 quarters and tie in the 4th, closing out the series with an exciting 8 point victory. Back to the Western Conference Finals!
Final - Dallas 102 Denver 110

The win's not without a cost though. Ron Collier sprains his ankle, which means David Jackson will probably start the Conference Finals at SF. That's perfectly all right with me.

The 2-2 ties turned out to be anticlimatic, ending in six games with the expected results of Toronto booting Charlotte and Philadelphia sending Cinderella Atlanta home.
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:12 PM   #277
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The Spurs always play us hard and we've got quite a history as the pre-series press points out.

"For the second consecutive season, the Spurs and the Nuggets face off in the Western Conference Finals. They also played in the 2014 Western Conference Finals, won by the Spurs. So there's a lot of recent, intense playoff rivalry between these teams and we should have another great contest on our hands for this one.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Dwayne Wade

Is there any better passer in the league than Gama? We've mentioned Kenny Graham before, but it's hard to argue with the Spainard's 14.3 assists per game in the postseason. He's also averaging 11.7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1.6 blocks. The points per game average is a bit deceptive, as he tends to focus either solely on passing or trusting his shot when it's hitting. When the trust factor's on, he's good for 20+ points a game. By the way, his A/TO ratio for the playoffs is nearly 6 a game (5.9). That's a real floor leader.

The Julian Wright years at PG finally end with the free agent signing of Wade, who is still an elite level player even at 35 years old. He's averaging a team high 26.4 points a game in the postseason, tacking on 4 rebounds, 7.8 assists and a steal per game. Still a very good defender and he should run circles around Gama.

Advantage: Spurs

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Brandon Roy

We haven't really seen Yeaton take over a game yet this postseason, but he hasn't needed to. He's just been absurdly consistent, hitting around his average of 24.4 points a night. 4 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.8 blocks round out his notable playoff stats. If he ever -really- erupts, fear will sound in the hearts of the Spurs.

Roy's not flashy, but he's got solid all around game and the size and defensive skills to try and limit the Nuggets' superstar. 14.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals in the playoffs attest to his balanced approach, but our thinking is that his mission will be to contain Yeaton this series.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
David Jackson vs. Julian Wright

With Ron Collier battling an ankle sprain, the outspoken Jackson steps to the fore. He's been having a terrific postseason, averaging 10.3 points and 6.2 rebounds off the bench and shooting a still sensational 67.2% from the floor. He's got beautiful ballhandling skills for a big man and we think he's a better fit for the Nuggets' style of play than Collier.

Wright's an excellent defender who's going to cool off Jackson's hot hand. While not the rebounder that his opponent is and outsized significantly by the Nuggets second year player, Wright can still got a shot off and grab a few boards, as his 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks attest to.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Marcelino Augusto vs. Tyrone Dotson

Augusto's starting to look a little more comfortable under the postseason spotlight's glare, averaging 15.9 points, 7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. If he keeps improving, it's going to be a rough series for San Antonio and for Dotson.

Especially since Dotson is a mediocre defender, with no standout skills to boot. 8 points and 5.4 rebounds in the postseason don't indicate that he can stand up to the brilliant Brazilian, especially not when he's about the same height and size as Augusto.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
Tim Davis vs. Yao Ming

Davis is averaging 16 points and 6.9 rebounds in the playoffs and it's looking more and more like his dominant postseasons of 2014 and 2016 were mere flukes. He's also too soft for a man of his immense size and alleged defensive prowess, so he could see himself traded out of Denver yet again this offseason.

There's no such softness out of Ming, who's averaging 16.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, a steal and 1.6 blocks in the playoffs. He's even bigger than Davis and he's going to have an absolutely amazing series in our opinion. He's still got the defensive chops, discipline and intelligence to limit Davis's effectiveness to boot. And to think he's 37!

Advantage: Spurs

Bench

It'll be interesting to see how Ron Collier adapts to his sprained ankle. He's been at his best in the season when he's coming off the bench, so maybe he can provide a spark for the Nuggets as a fresh set of legs. Look for Emeka Okafor, the defensive specialist and team captain, to play a much bigger role this series with Collier hampered. Michael Redd provides a nice jolt of offense and is averaging 8.8 points a game in the playoffs.

Josh Boone is having an unexpectedly excellent playoffs, averaging 8.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks as he's surged to the 6th man role. 37 year old Mike Miller isn't the sharpshooter that he once was, but he's still averaging 6 points a game. But the biggest X-factor may be infamous Nuggets killer Shawne Williams, now back from a broken nose and ready to reprise his old role.

Advantage: Draw

Final Thoughts
Without Dwayne Wade, this becomes a repeat of the Nuggets/Mavs series. With him, suddenly it's looking like a much tighter series. So tight, in fact, that we see it going the full seven games, with homecourt advantage giving Denver their third straight West Conference title and a presumed date with the Raptors in the Finals for the third year in a row.
Prediction: Denver in 7

I agree it's going to be a harrowing series that could well go all seven games. I just hope that they're right about us winning.

Game One
I'm expecting anything, anything at all to happen. What happens is that Yao Ming grabs 20 points and 10 rebounds, Dwayne Wade scores 25 points and just misses the double with 9 assists and Mike Miller regains his old shooting stroke for 14 points. In opposition, Marcelino Augusto rises to the challenge, bullying the Spurs for 24 points and Mateen Yeaton finally has a game-ruling performance of 34 points. Zelipe Gama chips in 17 points and 12 assists, but what caught everyone's eye in the first game was David Jackson fouling out quite quickly and Michael Redd exploding off the bench in his place for 22 points on 9 for 10 shooting. Not bad at all for a 38 year old and we get a surprisingly dominating opening game victory.
Final - San Antonio 100 Denver 129

Game Two
The Spurs are determined not to be embarrased again and Dwayne Wade scores 20 points, while Shawne "Nugget Slayer" Williams plays fantastically with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks off the bench. But not even that duo could contend with Mateen Yeaton's second straight breakout game of 38 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 4 steals. Apparently Mateen's pissed about the press doubting his ability to take over a game and he's come out with a venegance in these first two games. Zelipe Gama double-double his way to 17 points and 15 assists, while Marcelino Augusto picks up a more modest double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Tim Davis not only stymied Yao Ming all game long, but he narrowly missed the double-double with 21 points and 9 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Great showing by Mr. Davis. Great showing by our boys period, as we win another easy game and seize the 2-0 lead.
Final - San Antonio 81 Denver 102

Game Three
If the Spurs were annoyed after Game 1, they're downright furious after Game 2 and we're moving to San Antonio, a sure recipe for a loss, maybe even an evening of the series. Sure enough, Yao Ming's rising up like the Great Wall of China for 23 points and 11 rebounds and Dwayne Wade's playing the passer with 13 points and 12 assists. Julian Wright has a stunning 20 point performance and nary a Nugget posts a statistically significant showing. We're flat out killed. Railroaded. Massacred. Crushed. You get the idea.
Final - Denver 79 San Antonio 102

Game Four
I said this last series, but it goes doubly now. We need to pin the Spurs to the wall here. Dallas I could've lived with an extended series. San Antonio I can't. They're just that good a team. Mateen Yeaton scores 25 points and old men Emeka Okafor and Michael Redd fend off their age for 10 and 15 points off the bench respectively. But that's also blown away as Dwayne Wade goes into bezerker mode and scores 37 points. 11 bench rebounds a piece from Josh Boone and Shawne Williams (who also had 9 points) later, we're all knotted up at two games. Horrible shooting from the Nuggets tonight. A lowly 35%, the worst we've done in years.
Final - Denver 84 San Antonio 98

My lone, slim consolation is that the Raptors didn't sweep the 76ers. I'm cheering on Philadelphia to push Toronto to the limit, though I secretly know its futility.

Game Five
This is a home game we have to win. That's all there is to it. What follows is a game of balanced scoring by both teams. The Spurs are highlighted by 15 points and 15 rebounds from Yao Ming and 10 bench points from Shawne Williams, who really does seem to always play better against us. On our end, David Jackson grabs 11 rebounds off the bench, having been relegated back to the 6th man role because of poor play in the starting role and Ron Collier's return to full health. But it was Mateen Yeaton who rose to the occasion, scoring 29 points and netting us this extremely critical Game 5 win. 3-2 Nuggets. Advantage Denver.
Final - San Antonio 87 Denver 101

Toronto's officially going for its third consecutive NBA championship as they knock out the 76ers in five games. Now the onus is on us to fullfill the dreams of the television executives and the NBA brass.

Game Six
It's a wild and crazy San Antonio crowd who wants to see their beloved Spurs play the spoiler. There's still a lot of lingering resentment from the '90s, when the Spurs were the league's dominant team, but they didn't get a lot of fans or attention, even for their great successes with Tim Duncan and David Robinson. That kind of chip on the shoulder can be a huge motivation and I fear it. Dwayne Wade feeds off the crowd's energy for 23 points and 12 assists. Julian Wright does the same for 22 points and things are looking awfully tight, as it was back and forth all game. Tim Davis double-doubles with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Marcelino Augusto was splendid in scoring 27 points before fouling out. And then it happened. Mateen Yeaton came through with another inspired performance, answering yet again his critics by bursting through for 30 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 4 steals. He was the differencemaker in the single closest game of the series, leading us to a victory and to the dream matchup. Raptors/Nuggets Round 3 is on the clock!!!!!
Final - Denver 103 San Antonio 96
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Old 10-30-2008, 02:07 PM   #278
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Now.

Beat freakin' Toronto already!
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:22 PM   #279
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I think you've got all the elements this time, including Yeaton showing up big time for the playoffs. Good luck!
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:59 PM   #280
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BEAT TORONTO!~!~!
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Old 11-01-2008, 03:04 AM   #281
Izulde
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Coffee Warlord: I'm hoping to!

Autumn: Yeaton's done it before and in fact, he's usually the biggest reason we've been able to hang in it against the Raptors. I suspect Tim Davis is the key here. And thanks.

RedHawk00: We'll do our best to!
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:38 PM   #282
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Will Third Time Be Golden Charm For Nuggets?

Never in the history of the NBA have the same two teams met three years in a row for the NBA championship trophy. Even the famed Celtics/Lakers rivalry of the 80s, Boston and Los Angeles never played each three consecutive times. The Celtics teams of late 50s to the 60s, even when they won 11 titles in 13 years and won 8 straight consecutive champions, never had the same opponent three consecutive years, although they did play the Lakers six out of eight seasons (1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967 and 1968).

Thus history is being made in this Finals series, when the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets face off for the trophy. And there is yet more potential history brewing. Toronto seeks to become the first team since the Lakers of 1999, 2000 and 2001 to win three straight titles, a feat also achieved by the Chicago Bulls of 1990-1993 and 1995-1997, the 1958-1965 Celtics and the Minneapolis Lakers of 1951-1953.

Conversely, Denver's trying to avoid joining the ranks of teams who have lost in three straight Finals appearances, a feat ignobly achieved by the 1950-1952 New York Knicks and the 1967-1969 Los Angeles Lakers. In short, the Nuggets would become the first threepeating losers in nearly 50 years, a distinction they frantically hope not to make.

Few will forget the 2015 Finals, when the Nuggets, riding sensational performances from their brilliant backcourt of Zelipe Gama and Mateen Yeaton, pushed the Raptors to a stunning seven games before losing in Denver. The performance was all the more miraculous for Denver's starting 39 year old SF Antawn Jamison at C after Tim Davis was lost with a torn ACL.

2016 witnessed the rise of 21 year old Justin Richler into superstardom, the homegrown Canadian atop the crest of a Toronto tidal wave that crushed the Nuggets and led to a repeat title in six games. Denver tried to respond with the magnificience of Yeaton and passionate play from Emeka Okafor, who had a postseason for the ages last year, but it wasn't enough. That series was also marked by rampant nationalism on both sides, giving it an Olympic feel. Davis, too, was not present on that Nuggets team, for he'd been traded to the Lakers at the deadline.

Now it's 2017 and while the story has yet to be written, one plotline immediately stands out. For the first time, the mammoth Davis will appear in the Finals wearing the powder blue of the Nuggets. He could have a Richleresque effect, but that of course remains to be seen.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Justin Richler

Gama was lambasted around the country for his disappearing act in last year's Finals, but the Spainard continues to be an excellent setter. We're viewing last year's flameout as an aberration, as he's currently averaging 11.3 points, 12.3 assists, 4.1 steals, 1.9 steals and 1.6 blocks in the playoffs.

A lot of people wondered what was going to happen when T.J. Ford finally retired or left the team and the answer is Richler, a somewhat surprising move considering he's not a good fit to play the point. His scoring numbers are way down in this year's postseason, just 19.6 points, 5.6 assists and 1.3 steals. Richler's A/TO ratio - 1.7 Gama's A/TO ratio - 4.5. That right there makes this far a more even position matchup than what some might think.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Rico Wolfe

An angry Yeaton really broke out against the Spurs and he should be primed to do continue that against the Raptors. Averaging 26.3 points, 1.9 steals and 1.9 blocks in the postseason, he'll continue to be the focal point of Denver's offense. Incidentally, he's also in the last year of his contract next season and our thinking is that GM Jestor will lock his favorite player down for the rest of his career.

Wolfe is actually much better suited to run the point than Richler, but Toronto's putting him here because at 6'8, 190 lbs, he's the exact same height and weight as Yeaton and a pretty good defender. While Wolfe's been averaging 10.6 points, 5.9 assists and 1.3 steals in the playoffs, his role in this series is going to be to limit the amount of damage that Yeaton does to the Raptors. Smart move, on the balance of it.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Ron Collier vs. David Anyan

The merry-go-round at Denver's SF spot goes back to Collier, who in his first-ever postseason is averaging 9.3 points and a whole lot of nothing else. He's also shooting just 40% on the nose and if the Nuggets want to have a chance to win the title and get the dino off their back, they need him to step up and contribute the points that he's capable of.

Anyan has been nothing short of sensational this year, averaging 24.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 blocks. He may only be 6'6 204, but he plays big. In addition to his scoring and rebounding talents, he's a great shotblocker and a terrific defender who should be able to keep Collier's contributions to a minimum.

Advantage: Raptors

Power Forward
Marcelino Augusto vs. Chris Bosh

Great matchup at PF, where you have the celebrated 19 year old Brazilian rookie in Augusto against the wily 33 year old veteran Bosh. Augusto's an inch shorter, but he's much more muscular and he has the athleticism of youth on his side. He's averaging 15.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in the playoffs and has been a major part of the Nuggets' continued success, both in the regular season and the postseason.

Bosh sure doesn't look 33 on the court, as he's been averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks thus far in the playoffs. Experience and far better defense probably give Toronto the edge here on two players that are otherwise very evenly matched. This is going to be one of the pivotal matchups of the Finals. If Bosh can contain Augusto like he has the ability, this thing could be over in a hurry.

Advantage: Raptors

Center
Tim Davis vs. Greg Oden

For all the accusations of playing soft throughout the playoffs, Davis actually showed some toughness against Yao Ming in the West Conference finals. 15.8 points and 6.8 rebounds a game in the postseason aren't any great shakes, but if he can just stand his 7'3, 294 body in the way of Oden and activate some of his defensive potential, he could be a force inside.

Of course, Oden is one of the singlemost intelligent players in the league. He knows his role in the Raptors scheme and executes it to perfection. He's also an A-list defender and rebounder and he can put the clamps on Davis in a hurry. 12.9 points, 14.2 rebounds and 2.5 postseason blocks may not look all that sexy, but he doesn't need to be the man on this loaded Toronto team.

Advantage: Raptors

Bench

Michael Redd hasn't lost his missionary zeal, averaging 9.3 points in the playoffs and he quests for the biggest hole missing in his illustrious resume: a ring. Emeka Okafor hunts for the same and is averaging 5.2 points and 4.5 rebounds while still playing tough, lockdown defense. David Jackson had a miserable outing against San Antonio, but he's still averaging 7.9 points and 6 rebounds and will give the Raptors someone to think about.

Is Andrea Bargnani upset about being banished to the bench? Not at all, unlike when Bosh pitched a fit a few seasons ago. He's quite content to average 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in the playoffs as the team's 6th man, even if he could start for at least half the NBA's franchises, including, incidentally, the Nuggets. Kobe Bryant is the answer to Redd, averaging 5.9 playoff points as a 39 year old. Beyond that, however, the Raptors bench is woefully thin.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts
This Finals comes down to the Nuggets terrific backcourt and depth versus the Raptors' otherwordly front line, a front line that has dominated the league for virtually this entire decade. We see all the makings here of another classic, a seven-game tilt that will go to the Raptors with their home edge in Toronto.
Prediction: Raptors in 7

I figured they'd say as much, but at least they think we can give it a good go. How do I think we'll do? Still too close to call, but I think there's a chance, however flickering it may be.

Game One
The mass of Canadian flags from last season are gone this year. Instead, there's just a sea of purple and red Richler and Oden jerseys greeting us. I like it better that way; no nationalism going on, just fans of the NBA's two best teams cheering on their beloved franchises. ....And of course, everyone else who's taken an interest in this history-making championship series. The crowd's no less frenzied than last year however and the Raptors race out swiftly. David Anyan is absolutely incredible out on the court, with 39 points and 11 rebounds. Justin Richler scores 20 and Toronto also gets double-doubles from Chris Bosh and Greg Oden at 15 points, 14 rebounds and 13 points, 12 rebounds respectively. It's a dinosaur rampage and though Mateen Yeaton valiantly plays to 26 points, Zelipe Gama his second with 14 points and 13 assists and Emeka Okafor coming off the bench for 10 points, we're crushed in the stampede.
Final - Denver 102 Toronto 114

Game Two
A split would be great, but I know we're more realistically looking at a 2-0 deficit after tonight's game. It goes worse than I thought. Game 1, we were at least competitive. Here, Tim Davis scratches his way to 14 points and 12 rebounds and David Jackson scores 12 off the bench. That's it. No contest as David Anyan and Justin Richler score 25 and 26 points a piece, Andrea Bargnani scores 13 to lead the Raptors reserves and Toronto pulls a switchup, inserting Greg Oden at PF and Chris Bosh at C in the starting lineup. Bosh batters his way to 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Oden pretzels Marcelino Augusto into a 4 for 14 night. Brilliant chess move the Raptors staff. This could well be a sweep.
Final - Denver 78 Toronto 105

Game Three
The decibel level in Denver is incredible and this year, there's flags galore. Not just American ones, but Spanish and Brazilian ones, too. Some of the latter, as you might expect, are wearing their old Paulinho Buboltz jerseys. It doesn't matter that we traded their hero away because they're chanting for us to win. There's even a group of Australians who flew in just for this Finals, screaming at the top of their lungs for a Denver victory. The noise level gives us a free 6th man on the court, but the Raptors aren't going to let up. Chris Bosh, still playing at C, tears us apart for 29 points and 13 rebounds and Justin Richler shoots like he's got ice in his veins, finishing with 30 points. We counter it with 24 points a piece from Tim Davis and Marcelino Augusto, who stunningly breaks the Oden hold and unbelievable play from our bench. Emeka Okafor had 10 points and 8 rebounds, David Jackson just missing a double-digit with 9 points and 6 rebounds. More importantly, both singlehandedly bested the Raptors bench, which scored a grand total of 6 points... all from Andrea Bargnani. It's also the first game of the series that we hold David Anyan to under 20 points, as he shoots 30% on the night. It all adds up to a wonderful 21 point win that gives us new life and new possibility. No sweep. No repeat of 2010. Not this year.
Final - Toronto 100 Denver 121

Game Four
Everyone's clamoring for a split after tonight and the noise level at the start of the game is so intense, people claimed the next day they could feel the vibrations from three miles away. Mateen Yeaton scores 20 points and we again get a ton of production out of our bench, headlined by 12 points from Michael Redd. But these Raptors are hungry to make history and David Anyan and Justin Richler both play out of their minds, 30 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks and a steal for Anyan, 30 points and 10 assists for Richler. Greg Oden gets 10 points and 13 rebounds, still playing PF, still hammering Marcelino Augusto, who shot a withering 2 for 10 against the huge, skilled Raptor center in masquerade. 3-1 and I think the life's run out of us.
Final - Toronto 105 Denver 84

Game Five
Last chance for one last dance. Last home game of the year, no matter what the result. But the crowd's not nearly as emphatic as they were the first two games... not nearly as emphatic, that is, until we hold the Raptors to an embarassing 28.2% from the field and not a single Toronto statistical star of note. Hence, it's with glee that Marcelino Augusto breaks out of the Oden Trap for 16 points and 13 rebounds and Kirk Hinrich and Michael Redd scoff at age with 12 points, 11 assists and 10 points respectively off the balance. It's balanced offense, unbelievable defense and a shocking 33 point victory that cuts the Raptors lead to 3-2.
Final - Toronto 72 Denver 105

Game Six
As thrilled as I am that we won to force a Game Six, I know the Raptors are pissed and looking for revenge. We took them to six games last year and I fear it'll be the same result this season. I mean, how it's going to look to a team seeking to be considered one of the great dynasties of the ages when they shot 28.2% in a championship series game, one that would've won them the title? What follows is the exact reverse of Game 5. Not a single Nugget showing statistical significance as we shoot 36.3% and the Raptors ride a balanced offense, led in scoring with 17 points by benchman Andrea Bargnani. Kobe Bryant scored 11 off the bench as well, Toronto taking the trophy in even greater measure thanks to 14 points and 11 rebounds from David Anyan and 12 points and 14 rebounds from Greg Oden, who was restored to C for this sixth game as the Raptors ended being cute and reverted back to normal.
Final - Denver 78 Toronto 99

As I join the team for their solemn, disappointed huddle in the locker room, I find myself staring at the lockers of Tim Davis and Ron Collier.

Neither one will be back next year. I don't know if it's the right answer or not, but I feel like it is.

Three straight losses. The disheartening thing is, with as bad as the West is right now, we could come back here next year and become the only team in NBA history to lose four consecutive Finals.

Time to go drinking and erase this dull ache in my body.
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:24 PM   #283
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the good news: the buffalo bills are rooting for you to make it to the finals next year...
the bad news: you may become the bills
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:02 PM   #284
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHawk00 View Post
the good news: the buffalo bills are rooting for you to make it to the finals next year...
the bad news: you may become the bills

Heh, tell me about it. I'm starting to understand what Jim Kelly went through.
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:03 PM   #285
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Nuggets Face Another Offseason Of Questions

After yet another Finals appearance and another loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Denver Nuggets have some more difficult questions to answer this offseason.

1. How much longer will Larry Brown coach?
Brown's been an integral part of the Nuggets' success since GM Jestor's arrival in Denver, but he's 74 years old and has to be thinking about retirement soon. He has two years left on his contract, but you can bet that any extension he wants will be his for the asking, particularly since none of the assistants inspires confidence as elite-level head coaching material.

2. Is Tim Davis the answer at C?
The Davis saga is one of the more curious storylines in Denver in recent years. His on-again/off-again relationship with the Nuggets as a result of Jestor's dealings haven't helped fully incorporate him into the offense and he's drawn considerable ire from the coaching staff and the GM for his underachieving play. There's a strong possibility he'll be dealt yet again this offseason as Jestor is well-known for his scorn of soft big men.

3. If Davis goes, can David Jackson be the one to take over?
He'll be 25 next year and in his third season. But while he's shown steady improvement, he's also extremely foul-prone still and it's iffy as to if he's ready return to a full-time starting role. The best thing would be to leave him in the 6th man role, where he can make a stronger impact. Such a move would, of course, require the Nuggets either sticking with Davis or shopping for a new center on the trade market or in free agency.

4. Who's staying and who's leaving?
Davis is a question mark as we've noted above. In fact, you could say that the entire team is a question mark given Jestor's wheeler-dealer tendencies. The only untouchables are Zelipe Gama, Mateen Yeaton and Marcelino Augusto. The front office is going to try and sign Yeaton to an extension over the summer, while Augusto is already going to get his fourth year option. Jackson received his a few days ago.

Ron Collier, on the other hand, is as good as gone. His poor shooting infuriated Jestor and won't be nearly enough to make up for his quality defensive work. This means Jackson's a candidate for the starting SF role, with the same questions attached to the possibility of him as the starting C.

Expiring Contracts
Kirk Hinrich
Thabo Sefolosha
Michael Redd
Shaun Livingston
Lindsey Williamson
Peter John Ramos

All bench players with expiring deals, some of greater value than others. Hinrich's $10 million off the books is going to be huge, although there's a chance that the consistent veteran could return on a min-sal deal. Sefolosha was a major disappointment after being brought back a couple seasons ago and he won't return. Redd provided an excellent jolt of offense off the bench, but he'll be 39. Still, like Hinrich, the possibility's there.

The front office has always liked Livingston, the coaching staff not so much. He's been unhappy about his extremely limited playing time, making his re-upping uncertain. Williamson's another front office/coaching staff conflict, but he could well return. Ramos may or may not be back, but probably not.

The Big Picture

Denver holds a late lottery ticket and while they won't have the same success they did last year, they should be able to pick up a pretty decent player in the draft. The Nuggets will have to change over virtually their entire bench if they don't bring a lot or any of the expired guys back and there'll be a new starting SF and possibly a new starting C when Halloween comes around next year.

Whether any of that will be enough to topple the Toronto juggernaut is anyone's guess.

***End Article***

Good questions, not all of which I know the answer to right now.

NBA Lottery
It'll take a miracle of epic proportions to move us from the #13 spot into the top 3, so I'm not expecting it.

14. Boston Celtics
13. Denver Nuggets

It went as expected.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers
11. Indiana Pacers
10. Phoenix Suns
9. Miami Heat
8. New Orleans Hornets (-1)
7. Washington Wizards (-2)
6. Atlanta Hawks (-2)
5. Portland Trailblazes (-2)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (-2)
3. Golden State Warriors (+3)
2. Chicago Bulls (-1)
1. Houston Rockets (+7)

Jubiliation breaks out in Houston as the Rockets beat the odds and pull off one hell of a coup. Houston doesn't have that bad a squad either, so this is the kind of thing that can propel them back into the playoffs, especially with how sickly the West is.

Awards

MVP
Jonte Jones - Dallas Mavericks - 24.7 PPG 12.1 RPG 2.1 APG 1.6 BPG 1.2 SPG
Defensive Player of the Year
Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors - 13.8 PPG 15.5 RPG 3.2 APG 2.5 BPG 1.0 SPG
Rookie of the Year
PF Marcelino Augusto - Denver Nuggets - 16.8 PPG 7.2 RPG 2.3 APG 1.7 BPG 1.1 SPG
6th Man of the Year

Channing Frye - Charlotte Bobcats - 10.1 PPG 7.6 RPG 1.7 APG 0.7 BPG 0.7 SPG
Coach of the Year
Gregg Popovich - San Antonio Spurs

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Kenny Graham - Detroit Pistons
SG Mateen Yeaton - Denver Nuggets
SF Georghiois Kairis - Houston Rockets
PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Jonte Jones - Dallas Mavericks

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Chris Paul - New Orleans Hornets
SG Ben Gordon - Indiana Pacers
SF Carmelo Anthony - New York Knicks
PF Tyrus Thomas - Philadelphia 76ers
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG Dwayne Wade - San Antonio Spurs
SG Justin Richler - Toronto Raptors
SF Rudy Gay - Memphis Grizzlies
PF Al Jefferson - Boston Celtics
C Narcyz Malinomowski - Memphis Grizzlies

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Derrick Sterett - New Jersey Nets
SG Charles Seegars - Chicago Bulls
SF Andrei Kirilenko - Phoenix Suns
PF Tyrus Thomas - Philadelphia 76ers
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Leland Peterson - Washington Wizards
SG Mateen Yeaton - Denver Nuggets
SF David Anyan - Toronto Raptors
PF Dwight Howard - Orlando Magic
C Martin Beerbohm - New Orleans Hornets

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG Jameel Williams - Charlotte Bobcats
SG Brett Watson - Philadelphia 76ers
SF Michael Johnson - Golden State Warriors
PF Marcelino Augusto - Denver Nuggets
C Scott Palmer - Seattle Supersonics

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Waldemar Althusser - Portland Trailblazers
SG Omar Pruitt - Orlando Magic
SF Jerome Erickson - Utah Jazz
PF Dermek Trombley - Detroit Pistons
C Milan Nouge - Phoenix Suns

Utah Sixers

PG Brandon Brooks - Golden State Warriors
Started 78 games and averaged 12.1 points and 8.1 assists. Although a bust from the #2 overall pick perspective, his NBA career has been a pretty solid one. Good floor general to have, plays technically sound defense and provides the occasional burst of offense.

PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
Showed no ill effects from his torn ACL last season, rebounding to finish with a 21.1 points, 11.6 rebound, 2.9 block All-NBA 1st Team campaign, returning to his usual All-Star PF starter role in the West as well. Easily the best player of the Utah Sixers and arguably the single-best player of his class as well. His contract's up, but it'll be 80 degrees and sunny in January in Minnesota before the Timberwolves don't re-sign him.

SF Julius Austin - Miami Heat
Just how Austin manages to keep getting decent money from the Heat, I'll never know. Sure he's a shut-down defender, but he's 33 years old and doesn't contribute anything else. Played all 82 games, 19.6 minutes a game for 6.3 points, 3 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Arguably the luckiest of the Sixers, though I suspect he'll be retiring in a few years.

C Rudy Braun - Indiana Pacers
How bad is Indiana's interior game? So bad that Braun was the first C off the bench, playing 74 games and actually starting 2. 19.2 minutes for 7.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists. I'm amazed he still managed to find someone to give him a contract, but then again, Indiana's been hurting for a quality big ever since Jermaine O'Neal got old and left town.

PF B.J. Whitehead - Indiana Pacers
I wasn't kidding when I said the Pacers had a horrible inside game. B.J.'s a respectable reserve, but that's all he's ever been and he's not going to suddenly start wowing people at 33. Nonetheless, he played 69 games, starting 4 at C. At 24.7 minutes a game, he clocked 9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists while playing pretty decent technique on D.

SF Brian Robertson - Free Agent
He still keeps hanging around, but he'll never get called again.

Scary to realize that the Utah Sixers are now getting up in their age, with half of them in their mid-30s next season. Pretty soon I won't be tracking this outfit anymore, except for Brooks and Moody and that makes me a little sad. It's been a fun group to follow their careers.

B.B. Dyer and I have our standard agreement at our annual offseason meeting. Deep playoff run, up to $15 million over the cap, but try to avoid it if possible.

I pick up Marcelino Augusto's 4th year option. We're currently $27.8 million over the cap with just 7 players signed. Admittedly, most of that bloat is going to go away when we renounce our contracts, but it's still worrying.

On the other hand, we still haven't hit the trade markets. Finding a worthy deal turns out far easier than I could've anticipated.

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.

Ugh. Whatever. I still like the trade.

Coach Hiring

Larry Brown officially announces his retirement a week before the coach hiring season takes place. This is not cool, because we suddenly have to scramble to find a new head coach and that bedrock of security we had is now gone.

It's a terrible year to be hunting for a head coach. Kurt Thomas and Scott Skiles are the top two coaching candidates. Thomas has never been a head coach and there's things about him that make me wary. Skiles won a ring with the Bulls in 2009, but he has a sub-.500 career record.

Neither one excites me much, but I offer a contract to Skiles. $6 million a year for 3 years. He signs the next day, thanking me for my faith in him and promising that he'll deliver a title to Denver.

We'll see about that.

Mock Draft

Interestingly enough, we're slated to take PG Kelvin Johnson out of Maryland with the 13th overall pick. I'll admit, initial reports on his game sound promising and he did score 29.4 points last year for the Terrapins. Strikes me as more of a SG than a PG though. 18 year old Belgian C project Lukas Lanoye is the tabbed 22nd pick. I like his size (7'3, 304 lbs), but my suspicion is that he's going to be very raw and indeed, the information available on him is sketchy.

Some intriguing talent in this draft, but everybody is raw. Nobody rates higher than a 3* current development by most scouting services. To my mind, the clear star of this class is SG Sonny Boxler, who just finished his sophomore season at Florida averaging 32.5 points, 9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 3.1 blocks and 1.6 steals. SG Charles Howard and SF Will Baron, both of Notre Dame, averaged 31.8 points and and 30.2 points respectively. Baron also grabbed 15.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 2.3 steals. Howard averaged 2.3 steals himself. That was one hell of a recruiting class and the Fighting Irish faithful are pained to see the super sophomores leave. I think I've found my new replacement for the Utah Sixers, namely the Notre Dame 30s.

Baron's projected to go 2nd overall to the Bulls, Howard 7th to the Wizards.

In any case, it's looking like it's going to be a real crapshoot of a draft and when that's the scenario, you can never really know for sure where guys are going to fall.

Time to really start scouting some guys and give ourselves a wide range of players, both to have fallbacks in case we keep both picks and to identify stars in case somebody falls through the cracks and we feel like moving up.
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:03 AM   #286
Izulde
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The day after the trade's out in the papers, Scott Skiles calls me.

"Listen, about Dudley?" He wants to play the point."

"...What? He can't pass worth a damn!"

"I know, but he's making waves about not reporting if he can't play point guard."

"...I'll deal with it."

Deal with it by trading him at the first possible opportunity. After I hang up with our new head coach, I hold discussions with other GMs around the league. There's considerable interest in him out there, even when I courteously inform my colleagues that he insists on running the offense.

Nothing definite is established, as we decide to hold off and wait to see what free agency and the draft turn up.

After the player workouts, we've got our draft board pretty much set and we've lined up several possible scenarios. I feel good about what we're going to come out of this draft with.

2018 NBA Draft 1st Round
1. SF Will Baron - Houston Rockets

Georghiois Kairis alreadys plays SF, so I kind of see this as a stupid move on the Rockets' part. But then again, it's my impression that anyone who takes either Baron or Sonny Boxler is taking a gamble with the first pick, because they're both lazy. Considering how under-developed most of this draft class is, that's not a risk I'd take.

2. PG Andre Moore - Chicago Bulls

...Damn. The Bulls just snapped up the best PG in the draft and if he pans out like he should, we won't have as good a shot at a top 3 pick next year as I'd hoped, since we own Chicago's pick. I was also hoping Moore would drop to where we could move up to take him. Count another one off on the list.

3. C Valery Frahm - Golden State Warriors

Nice selection by the Warriors here. With him and Michael Johnson, Golden State's got a good core to work with for the future. I'm not overly fond of Frahm, as he's 6'9, but Golden State took arguably the most skilled center in the draft.

4. C Dontay Williamson - Los Angeles Clippers

The draft is starting to turn precisely how I didn't want it to. I had my eye on a center that I was hoping would drop to us, but with two straight going here and the Trailblazers and Pacers both looking to find a big man, I'm afraid he isn't going to last.

5. SG Sonny Boxler - Portland Traiblazers

Sizzling potential, but an awful work ethic plummeted Boxler from the consensus #1 pick down to 5th overall. If he pans out, Portland's got themselves a steal. Talk about a high-risk, high-reward pick.

6. PG Kelvin Johnson - Atlanta Hawks

There's 3 players left that I really like and there's 6 teams picking before us right now. Our chances of getting any one of them is very slim as things stand, but I'll wait until one of them goes, likely with this pick, before deciding what to do for sure.

7. SG Charles Howard - Washington Wizards

And there goes one of them. Great scorer and good defender, but very, very suspect ballhandling skills, so I'm glad to see him go off the board. Of course, this is making my decision all that much tougher. The Hornets are picking next and they look a possibility to draft the center I have my eye on and I'm not convinced the point guard I'm looking at is worth waiting to see if he falls.

But the Hornets are refusing negotiations and so it's with grim apprehension that I watch and wait for the pick to come up.

8. PF Tim Butler - New Orleans Hornets

Bullet dodged, but the gauntlet continues with the Heat. Sadly, Miami's not willing to play ball either and I'm starting to get the feeling that maybe it'd be better just to keep our picks.

9. PG Cedric Caldwell - Miami Heat

There goes the other PG I was considering, which means our C is going to be wearing a Pacers uniform unless I can convince the Suns to make a deal. Unfortunately, it's not happening. Damn it.

10. SF Shane Holliway - Phoenix Suns

And here come the Pacers, but maybe they can be talked into making a deal.

To that end, I make a trade, followed by a deal with Indiana.

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.

11. C Victor Gipson - Denver Nuggets

A Michigan State junior who averaged 23.3 points, 16.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 4.7 blocks last season for the Spartans. Good scoring potential and a hard-crashing rebounder and shotblocker. Terrible ballhandling skills, but with the slow-paced offense that Scott Skiles plans to run, that's not going to be such a problem. And did I mention he's 7'2, 303 lbs?

The analysts are lukewarm on the pick, which is a little surprising. I think Gipson's going to turn some heads. At the very least, he'll challenge David Jackson for the starting C spot and better our bench depth.

12. PF Andy Sola - Cleveland Cavaliers

Too bad about Sola. He would've been a good fit for the Pacers.

13. C Deon Keams - Indiana Pacers

Well, Indiana needed a big man, but Keams is more of a finesse center. Loves the jumper way, way too much in my opinion. Still, they couldn't get any worse than what they had last year.

14. SG Jermaine Butler - Boston Celtics
15. SF Roby Evans - Sacramento Kings
16. SF Andre Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers

Heh. He won't be Kobe, that's for sure.

17. SG Jason Pettaway - Minnesota Timberwolves

Nice value pick by the T-Wolves here.

18. PF Freddie Tackett - Seattle Supersonics

Ditto, Seattle, who get an excellent bargain here. This guy should've gone way earlier.

19. SG Derrick Young - New York Knicks

I liked Young, too. That's three solid picks right in a row. This draft class has some great depth to it and you can find some real value late in the first. We're hoping to do the same with our 25th pick.

20. PF Damous Price - Detroit Pistons
21. SG Sabit Suker - Dallas Mavericks

Good thing we didn't keep the 22nd pick, because I'd have been absolutely pissed off. I wanted this guy something bad for our second pick. I saw him play in Turkey when I was vacationing there last time and the kid can definitely play.

22. SF Emmett Kincaid - Atlanta Hawks
23. C Lukas Lanoye - Orlando Magic
24. PF Mat Walker - Charlotte Bobcats

The experts are saying we'll take PG Mark Martin out of Cincinnati, C Colin Merriex out of Stanford or trade the pick. I don't know why they say we'd select Merriex. He's a terrible player by all accounts, barely worth a late 2nd round pick, let alone a first round one. Martin doesn't impress me at all. Instead, it's....

25. PG Jon Freeman - Denver Nuggets

Didn't post eye-popping numbers in his senior year at Duke, but he's an excellent team player who works hard and has some good potential. Not enough to be a legit starter probably, but a nice security blanket at reserve guard. I particularly love his stealing instincts and Skiles and his staff rave about the elevation he gets on his shot.

The talking heads call it a nice steal and an excellent value pick for the stage in the draft. While I still would've preferred Suker, Freeman's a good consolation prize, so long as he doesn't turn out a Leroy Freeman-style bust.

26. SG Momsilo Zivkovic - Memphis Grizzlies
27. SG John Benson - Philadelphia 76ers
28. PF William Evans - San Antonio Spurs
29. C Aaron Benson - Chicago Bulls
30. PG Mark Martin - Toronto Raptors

Immediate post-draft impressions are that Jon Freeman's one of the smartest basketball players I've ever met. Even as a rookie, he has a cerebral understanding of the game equal to that of Emeka Okafor, who's been around the league for 14 years. The battle between Victor Gipson and David Jackson for the starting C spot is going to be -intense-. The early money's on Gipson, though, who has a stronger inside shot, better FT conversion, and drastically better rebounding and blocking instincts. He's also much more disciplined than the cocky, hotheaded Jackson.

We're in terrific financial shape after renouncing all our contracts. 9 players signed already and we're over the cap by just $2.5 million. That ensures we've got the room to make a run on a mid-level player who can push Deng for the starting SF spot.

Summer League
PG Jon Freeman
C David Jackson
C Victor Gipson

Although there isn't quite the same buzz as last year when Marcelino Augusto was suiting up, the battle between Jackson and Gipson has a lot of Nuggets fans glued to their TV sets. I'm secretly hoping Freeman will prove a pleasant surprise as well.

We start the summer league with a thrilling, white-knuckle 101-98 victory over the Mavericks. Sabit Suker looks great, scoring 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting. He shows incredible potential as well, particularly on the defensive end, even if the 18 year old is a little raw right now. On our end, David Jackson and Victor Gipson play to dead heats of 15 points and 10 rebounds and 15 points and 11 rebounds respectively, though it's worth noting that Jackson had 3 fouls to Gipson's 1. Jon Freeman shot 3 of 6 from the field, finishing with 8 points in his Denver debut.

Victor Gibson decidedly grabs the advantage next game with 15 points and 14 rebounds in our 104-90 victory over Golden State. Michael Johnson is the real deal as he scores 29. Bryan Young, one of our non-roster invitees who I'm thinking of signing, scored 22 while Jon Freeman had 18 points and 8 assists in a much improved game. Reserve invitee Nochimas Mahram scored 12 off the bench.

Atlanta kicks our asses 111-87 to give us our first summer loss. Nochimas Mahram has 11 points off the bench and we're led by Bryan Young's 18 points. He's got crummy ball skills for a guard, but man oh man, can he shoot. Great defense, too. He just hasn't been given the opportunity to play much. I expect he'll get a fat deal in free agency. Then again, we've been down this road before with Kyle Smith. On the other hand, Smith has averaged at least 21.8 points a game the last three seasons in a Cavs uniform and is Cleveland's most popular player not named Lebron James.

I think it's safe to say that after our nail-biting 98-97 win over the Bulls, when we fend off a furious Chicago comeback led by Andre Moore of the 29 points, Victor Gipson's won the starting job. He had 14 points and 12 rebounds this game and has outplayed David Jackson all summer long. Gary Burditt and Nochimas Mahram both had 12 bench points, but they don't matter. I have to admire Mahram, a 25 year old Latvian who has yet to even make it to the D-Leagues. He doesn't really have the skills to be a pro basketball, except maybe as a buried depth D-leaguer, but he keeps trying.

We end the summer league with our best game of the hot time, a stifling 88-67 win over the Celtics. Ironically enough, it's the only game David Jackson is the better of our two contenders, with a poor man's double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Reserves Imari Reuter and Gary Burditt pace the second team with 12 and 10 points respectively.

Free Agency

Although I'm not going to sign Bryan Young to a deal, because if he can't dominate summer leaguers, he's certainly not going to cut it against legit NBA players, I'm wanting to pull a Toronto and steal hot young talent on the free agent market.

Unfortunately, what studly young talent is available is all looking likely to re-sign with their teams. That doesn't stop me from pursuing front-line free agents, albeit probably futilely.

I'm pleasantly surprised to see Mike Nooner get a nice 4 year, $8.8 million contract from the Clippers. I always though he was a pretty good player; he just needed more opportunities.

Sure enough, all the best talent is flying back home. Even Dwayne Wade re-inks with the Spurs, putting us in trouble.

But we do make a few small deals, re-signing Lindsey Williamson to a 2 year min-sal, giving the same to Steven Caspers, who we welcome back into the fold and Louis Mertens, who never has gotten the chance to show his stuff that he deserves.

It's unbelievable. Everybody and I mean everybody, who's got even a scrap of genuine star talent to his name, is sticking with their original teams this year. Michael Blunt is probably the most talent player to have moved teams so far, going from the Knicks to the Hawks on a maxed out multi-year mid-level.

I finally give up and decide to just pocket the mid-level for another year. Atlanta's going to be a team to watch this year, but the way. Not only did they get Blunt, who's pretty good, but they snagged Gerald Wallace on a $7 million one year rental. The Spurs get Yao Ming back along with Wade, much to my annoyance. I try to get Joe Johnson to give us another shot on a low-level exemption, but he spurns us for the Knicks on a mid-level, for just one year. Can't say as I blame him.

Michael Redd may be 39, but I still think enough of him to give him the low exemption. He can tutor the youngsters, those that need it that is. That gives us 13 players and I think I'm going to stay with that until we ship out Lannce Dudley for something worthwhile. Then I realize we have no guards that can play defense. Enter Brent Short on a 2 year min-sal, who despite his 5'11 height and appropriate name, has a game that I've always very much admired and wouldn't have minded seeing him in powder blue. He is now.

Toronto signs Pau Gasol to a min-sal one year deal. He's pretty good still for 38 years old, but he's selling his soul in search of a ring.

We're still terribly weak on defense at backup guard and there's other holes to fill as well, so just before training camp, I'm shopping Lannce Dudley again.

Then I run into the nightmare of all nightmares.

Nobody wants him. They say his contract is too long, too uncap-friendly. I'm sick to my stomach. I don't want this jackass on my team. He's messing with my universe.

So what do I do? Bite the bullet and cut his ass. Then I re-sign him and cut him, in hopes there's a loophole where the last contract takes effect. If not, I just put myself another $800,00 in the hole. Oh well, we've the money to burn this year anyway.

Training Camp

Jon Freeman turns out to be more raw than expected, but with a little more promise. Not much, but it's a start. I actually privately prefer David Jackson starting at C to Victor Gipson after watching them in training camp, but Scott Skiles insists on Gipson in a way that rubs me wrong. In fact, I feel like this whole season's starting off on the wrong foot. I miss Larry Brown already.

On the other hand, Marcelino Augusto looks terrific. I mean, -really- terrific. As in Kelvin Moody awesomeness terrific.

I miss Kirk Hinrich, so I go out and re-sign him. Brent Short pitches a fit about it because he's low man on the totem pole, so I trade him to the Bobcats for Tony Parker and Charlotte's 2021 2nd round pick, sign my fellow hometown Racinian Caron Butler and take the rest of the week off.

We're picked to finish 2nd in the West behind Seattle as the press continues to swoon over the Supersonics' studly set of scorers. I like our team now. Sure it's a little guard heavy and we could use some more defenders, but that's perfectly okay.

Biggest joke is the Hornets picked for 3rd in the conference. Yeah, that'll happen. When Mateen Yeaton's wearing another uniform, maybe.

More insanity in the East, outside of Toronto's the consensus pick for a fourth straight NBA title. The Knicks are picked for second, the Bulls for third. New York I can somewhat understand because of all the high picks they've got sitting on the roster, but Chicago to win the Central? Snowball, meet your chance in hell. That's not to say the Bulls won't be improved. They will be and they're probably good enough to end up ahead of the Pacers. But beat out Cleveland and Milwaukee for the division? No way. At best, they place third.

2018 Denver Nuggets 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 Tony Parker (PG/SG)
8th Emeka Okafor (PF/C)
9th Kirk Hinrich (PG/SG)
10th Louis Mertens (PG/SG)
11th Steven Caspers (SF/PF/C)
12th Michael Redd (SG/SF)

Inactive
Caron Butler
Lindsey Williamson
Jon Freeman (Timberjacks - Starting PG)
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:23 PM   #287
boberot
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Western NY
MAN, I really thought the third time was the charm. Reading through the playoffs, I said to myself that you'd finally break through.

What a kick in the nuts.


I've only really played through one career with the game: as Toronto. Being a Buffalo guy, I thought I'd pick the city two hours away, and who seemed like a crummy team that would be a fun project.

Well, you have certainly taken the sheen off the really good success I've had with them, including a few titles . . . .

Maybe it's time to start over with a true challenge . . . .

Hope your inauspicious start to the season isn't foreshadowing of the season to come.
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:09 PM   #288
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by boberot View Post
MAN, I really thought the third time was the charm. Reading through the playoffs, I said to myself that you'd finally break through.

What a kick in the nuts.

You ain't kidding. I thought sure we would make it a close one.

Quote:
I've only really played through one career with the game: as Toronto. Being a Buffalo guy, I thought I'd pick the city two hours away, and who seemed like a crummy team that would be a fun project.

Well, you have certainly taken the sheen off the really good success I've had with them, including a few titles . . . .

Maybe it's time to start over with a true challenge . . . .

Well, Toronto in this universe has made some insanely smart moves.. I mean we're talking human-smart moves. I've been really impressed with the Raptors' AI this game. The Knicks still remain the biggest challenge in the game... impatient owner, bad contracts, low talent level, etc.

Quote:
Hope your inauspicious start to the season isn't foreshadowing of the season to come.

No kidding. The dead weight from Lannce Dudley's contract is going to hurt us the next several years and we may run into serious cap troubles because of it, especially when Marcelino Augusto's raking in the fat money on his first contract extension at the same time Mateen Yeaton's second contract is sucking away more cap space.

But I still have hope. A very faint hope, but hope nonetheless.
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Old 11-03-2008, 05:05 PM   #289
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Even though I think we've got a shot at a fourth straight trip to the Finals, I really don't know how this year's edition of the Nuggets is going to look or turn out. There's a lot of wild cards. New coach, new SF, new C, half a new bench, etc. Makes it real difficult to get a clear read.

We get a start of answer when we play the Lakers on Halloween night and it's not good. We lose 101-89, allowing the Purple and Gold to shoot 54.2%. Marcelino Augusto scores 21, Zelipe Gama garners 18 points and 10 assists and David Jackson grabs 11 bench rebounds, but this looks like it could be a long, long season.

I feel slightly better after we beat the Timberwolves 95-81 behind Mateen Yeaton's 27 points and 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench from David Jackson. Not wholly better, though. We're really looking erratic out there, but maybe it's a matter of needing time to gel.

Then we clobber the Jazz 108-61, holding Utah to 28.8% shooting and things are looking much improved. All five starters except our PG score 15 points or more, led by Victor Gipson's first NBA double-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. Tony Parker scores 13 off the bench.

Utah turns around and knocks us off 103-91 two nights later in the first game of a doubleheader. Marcelino Augusto's 24 points, Mateen Yeaton scoring 20 and Zelipe Gama doubling for 13 points and 11 assists really don't matter when our rookie C is held to 0 points. Fortunately, Marcelino Augusto scores 26 the next night, teaming it with Zelipe Gama's 18 points and 17 assists and David Jackson's 13 points and 9 rebounds to outrun Seattle 116-104 in a track meet.

Marcelino Augusto has his third straight 20+ point game with 29 points to lead the way over the Pistons 109-94. Mateen Yeaton scores 20, Victor Gipson grabs 15 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks and David Jackson takes in 11 bench boards. A note on Luol Deng: Although he hasn't broken 20 points or had a double-double yet, he's playing quite well and has 19 points in two of the last three games. More tellingly, he's off to a hot shooting start, converting at 56.7%.

Mateen Yeaton singlehandedly carries us against the Kings, scoring 50 points in the 116-106 victory. It's the first time I've ever seen a player break the 50 point barrier and it's absolutely incredible to watch. Marcelino Augusto is still white-hot himself, scoring 25 points and gobbling up 10 boards. Victor Gipson has 22 rebounds himself as we out-rebound Sacramento 57-37. Big difference, especially in a high-scoring affair like this.

The real test comes when Toronto visits us in the next game. We lose 95-88, but I think it's worth noting that Luol Deng badgered David Anyan all game long and really limited him. I really like Deng. He's not really noticeable on the stat sheet, but he's valuable in a lot of ways. On the other hand, Rico Wolfe contained Mateen Yeaton again and Justin Richler lit us up for 31 points and 10 assists. Still a riddle that needs to be solved.

Luol Deng finally breaks out against the Bulls, scoring 30 in our 115-99 victory over Chicago. Mateen Yeaton's Player of the Game with 30 points and 12 rebounds, but Zelipe Gama and David Jackson are helping too, with 12 points and 13 assists and 16 bench points respectively.

We kick Dallas's ass 110-97 as Marcelino Augusto tears apart the Mavericks for 33 points and 10 rebounds. Zelipe Gama repeats his 12 point, 13 assist showing from the last game and David Jackson and Emeka Okafor highlight the reserves with 17 points and 8 rebounds and 11 points respectively.

The Nets get cut down 118-93 behind 3 Nuggets with 20+ points: Marcelino Augusto (26 points), Luol Deng (20 points), and Zelipe Gama (20 points, 16 assists). David Jackson powers the bench 8 points and 16 rebounds and Tony Parker leads the reserves in scoring with 11 points.

It's a back-to-back next and it starts with San Antonio helpless in the face of 3 Nuggets scoring 20 points or more: Mateen Yeaton (29 points), Luol Deng (25 points) and Marcelino Augusto (22 points). Zelipe Gama passes out 13 points and 13 assists and David Jackson puts up 13 rebounds with the second team. Unfortunately our win streak ends the next night in Houston, a tough 79-74 loss to the Rockets. Victor Gipson gets 14 points and 11 rebounds and David Jackson just misses a reserve double-double with 9 points and 8 rebounds, but overall, both teams played like crap.

We shrug it off and knock out the Hornets 104-88 next game. Mateen Yeaton scores 20 points and Tony Parker and Steven Caspers led the second team with 12 and 11 points a piece. Not a terrific win, but an easy one.

The first month of play ends with a 106-96 victory over the Cavaliers engineered by Marcelino Augusto's 29 points and 13 rebounds. David Jackson was our best reserve, scoring 15 points.

It's way early yet, but the West appears to be back, with 6 teams posting winning records. We're on top at 11-4, half a game ahead of the Jazz in the division. The Lakers are back and 10-6, but the Kings slimly hold the Pacific at 10-5. At least we shouldn't have a sub-.500 division champion this year, either there or anywhere, as the Grizzlies presently lead the Atlantic with a 9-7 record.

Again, it's early, but 7 teams over .500 in the East, so maybe the balance is restored. The Raptors are 13-4, but it's the Bucks who are the talk of the conference at 11-2. Milwaukee's got one hell of a balanced offense so far this year. The Southeast is deadlocked between Atlanta and Orlando at 8-6.

So far, it seems like our offense is much more evolved and sophisticated than it was last year. Marcelino Augusto has been as good I thought he would be after watching him in training camp, averaging 20 points a game. Luol Deng has been a great addition, shooting 50% even for his 15.5 points a game, playing hustling defense and showing the ability to break out. All of which means that Mateen Yeaton doesn't have to be the man, because we've got other options.

David Jackson is picking up right where he left off last year as a phenomenal 6th man and will get some votes at the end of the season. Victor Gipson hasn't been a flashy rookie so far and in fact, Jackson's average stats are slightly better, but Gipson's 2.7 blocks a game in the first month really helped out and he's shown himself to be a much tougher competitor than Tim Davis was. Plus, that big ogre in the middle is always a good thing. Tony Parker is quickly establishing himself as our best reserve guard, which is kind of ironic considering he has a last minute addition. I also forgot to include the analysis of that trade, but I'll do that when I cover this month's trades next time.

I don't have Yeaton and Paulinho Buboltz's stats in front of me right now, so those will have to wait until next time as well. But I will say this; the two are at their narrowest differential right now than they've been at any other point in their careers.
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:10 AM   #290
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Denver Nuggets receive
PG Tony Parker
Charlotte Bobcats 2021 2nd round pick

Charlotte Bobcats receive
PG Brent Short

What this means for the Nuggets
Parker's a lot like Kirk Hinrich, a mid-late 30s guard with enough basketball skills left to be a respectable reserve. Parker's a better defender, Hinrich's a better ballhandler and they're about the same in terms of shooting. Tony's also a great chemistry guy to have in the locker room and the 2nd rounder gives the Nuggets front office trade ammunition.

What this means for the Bobcats
Short pitched a fit after Hinrich's re-signing, which buried him on the bench. In Charlotte, he'll be the second PG off the bench behind Javaris Crittenton and his ballhandling and defensive talents will play very well. The only concern is that he'll cut into Jameel Williams's playing time.

Winner: Denver
Nice move by GM Jestor here to get rid of a possible malcontent and get a great chemistry guy and a trading chip for it. That's why Denver's continued its dominance since he's joined the Nuggets, the smart deals he makes.

New Jersey Nets receive
SF Leroy Freeman
Utah Jazz 2019 2nd round pick

Utah Jazz receive
SF Vidal White

What this means for the Nets
Freeman's an average all-around SF who wasn't getting any playing time in Utah. In fact, he's only appeared in 1 game and played just 1 minute. He'll find a home in New Jersey and should get some playing time with the Nets.

What this means for the Jazz
White's got some offensive game, can rebound pretty well for a swingman and is a decent defender. He can also play both SG and SF, whereas Freeman could only play the three. Utah desperately needed a better backup SG option and White gives them that.

Winner: Utah
They traded away a guy who had no value to their system for a guy who's going to play a significant role as the Jazz try to break Denver's stranglehold on the Northwest division.

Nice start to December as we obliterate the Heat 101-80. Marcelino Augusto rampages for 27 points and 10 rebounds, Victor Gipson nets 11 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks and Zelipe Gama has 16 points and 10 assists.

Zelipe Gama's even more fantastic in our 99-88 win over the Magic with 23 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and a steal. Marcelino Augusto puts in 18 points and 11 rebounds and David Jackson just misses a bench double-double with 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Another 99 points and another win two nights later, holding the Wizards to 78 points. Marcelino Augusto is the man of the match with 28 points and 12 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 24 and David Jackson adds 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Hard to believe that Augusto's just 20 years old and I'm loving Jackson's determination to live up to his self-proclaimed title of "Best Damn 6th Man in the World".

It's a big test up next against the Raptors in Toronto and we come away with a stunning 102-86 victory. Marcelino Augusto scores 30, Mateen Yeaton adds 20 points and Victor Gipson grabs 16 points and 10 rebounds. Huge momentum and confidence builder and it shows how well we're clicking as a team right now.

The games against the Wizards and Raptors were both road games, the start of our annual seven game road trip from hell against East Conference teams. We narrowly beat the Knicks 112-109 in the third game, thanks to Mateen Yeaton scoring 34 points and Marcelino Augusto and Luol Deng just missing double-doubles with 20 points and 9 rebounds and 17 points and 9 rebounds respectively.

We go back-to-back against Philadelphia and Boston next and we start off by beating the 76ers 103-98. David Jackson gets the start at SF but it's Mateen Yeaton who steals the show with 26 points, along with 10 points and 14 rebounds from Victor Gipson and a surprising bench 16 points and 11 rebounds from Emeka Okafor, showing there's still life in the old man yet. Unfortunately, our close game luck runs out against the Celtics and we fall 101-98. We were outscored 32-19 in the fourth quarter, ruining a near triple-double of 19 points, 13 assists and 8 rebounds from Zelipe Gama, along with Marcelino Augusto's 26 points.

The road trip ends with another doubleheader and we split that one too. Miami goes down 111-99 as Marcelino Augusto scores 31, David Jackson adds 22 points, Zelipe Gama gets 14 points and 14 assists and Emeka Okafor and Louis Mertens add 13 and 10 bench points respectively. But then the Magic drop us 103-89, Zelipe Gama our lone star of note with 21 points as we played like garbage, worn out by the frequent travel.

A home date against the Suns refreshes us with a 110-89 victory as Marcelino Augusto scores 31 points, Mateen Yeaton has 14 points and 10 assists, Victor Gipson 12 points and 12 rebounds. Luol Deng is back as the starting SF, by the way, fully healed from a knee injury that was bugging him.

We beat Seattle 106-96 thanks largely to 25 points from Mateen Yeaton and 11 bench points from Kirk Hinrich. Yeaton isn't scoring nearly as much this year overall, but it's due mostly to Marcelino Augusto's emergence as our top offensive threat. Although Mateen's numbers may be down, it's creating hell for our opponents, who now have two nightly scoring threats to contend with, plus potential breakouts from Luol Deng and Zelipe Gama on any given evening.

There's a lot to celebrate this Christmas as we win both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Victor Gipson has his best pro game to date in our 105-89 victory over Dallas with 21 points, 10 rebounds, an assist, 5 blocks and a steal. Luol Deng scores 23 and Marcelino Augusto (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (15 points, 15 assists) double their fun. David Jackson leads the bench with 11 points. The 118-91 win in Oakland on Christmas Day is highlighted by Santa Luol Deng scoring 29 and helper elf performances of 23 points from Mateen Yeaton, 10 points and 10 rebounds from Victor Gipson and bench showing of 11 points and 11 rebounds from David Jackson.

The holiday cheer's stunted a little by the 108-86 smackdown Philadelphia lays on us in Denver. Foul trouble plagued us all night long and Mateen Yeaton's 23 points just weren't going to cut it. We couldn't shoot worth a damn either and our defense took the night off.

New Year's Eve is grim as we lose 94-89 to the Lakers, ruining Victor Gipson's splendid all-around game of 10 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal and 7 blocks. Mateen Yeaton scored 20 and Zelipe Gama netted 20 points and 10 assists, but it just wasn't enough. Things go much better on New Year's Day as we whomp the Clippers 112-84. Marcelino Augusto scores 25, David Jackson gets 11 points and 14 rebounds starting at C in place of a nicked up Victor Gipson, Mateen Yeaton scores 23, Zelipe Gama has 10 points and 11 assists and Michael Redd adds 11 points off the bench.

23-8 gives us a 4.5 game lead over the Jazz, but we're fighting it out with Sacramento for the #1 seed in the West, who are a stunning 21-7. Six teams over .500 in the West right now, including the 20-13 Southwest-leading Memphis Grizzlies and a couple teams either at .500 or very close to it. Much improved conference this year.

It's still a battle between the Raptors (24-8) and the Bucks (22-5) in the East for the top spot. I'm pissed to note the Bulls are 16-12 and in second place in the Central. I was really hoping for a nice lottery pick out of them this year. I'm also surprised to see the Knicks 20-10, in second place in the Atlantic.

[b]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: 28 games/28 starts - 20.9 PPG 8.8 APG 3.6 RPG 1.1 BPG 1.3 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: 31 games/31 starts - 19.8 PPG 3.2 APG 4.5 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.3 SPG

This is the first time since the trade that Buboltz is actually passing Yeaton in points per game. But I'd like to interject a couple caveats here, such as the aforementioned greater balance of offense in Denver and the absolute lack of anything on the frontline capable of producing points for the Pacers.

I'd also point out that Buboltz is 26 and now entering his prime, whereas Yeaton is 30 and starting to head on the downward slope. Plus, the Pacers are 9-19. We're 23-8. Team quality says a lot too.
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Old 11-05-2008, 03:43 PM   #291
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Sacramento Kings receive
C Winston Smith

Memphis Grizzlies receive
C Clyde Moore

What this means for the Kings
Smith, taken 27th overall by the Heat in 2017, is a hardworking player, but an absolute cancer in the locker room. Impressive height at 7'4, but weighs just 267 lbs. Good defender, but that's really the only skill to recommend him. Becomes Sacramento's 7th man.

What this means for the Grizzlies
Moore was taken in the 2nd round (34th overall) by the Kings in 2017. Just as hard-working as Smith, with the potential to become a roleplayer as a defender and shotblocker. Like Smith, he has no other notable attributes. Currently in the D-Leagues.

Winner: Draw
It's a fairly even trade of roster filler for roster filler, with not much to recommend either player. Smith is more valuable immediately, but Moore has the better overall potential.

Portland Trailblazers receive
SG Charles Howard

Washington Wizards receive
PG Waldemar Althusser

What this means for the Trailblazers
The rookie Howard has sensational promise and outstanding intangibles. While he's still a little raw, he has All-Star potential as a scorer, ballthief and defender. Won't ever be a great rebounder and will be, at best, a mediocre ballhandler. Still, with Howard, Jerian McCrary, Sonny Boxler and Kevin Durant, Portland is suddenly loaded with talented swingmen who can generate a high-powered offense.

What this means for the Wizards
Gilbert Arenas won't be around forever and Leland Peterson is more adequaltely suited to the SG role. If the 20 year old, 2nd year German can develop to the potential he's capable of, he could become a masterful passer on the level of Kenny Graham and Zelipe Gama, he's that good. Nice move for the future at PG, if somewhat risky, given Althusser's rawness.

Winner: Draw
Nice pickup for both teams. Howard's the more polished and more talented player overall, but Portland's got an excess now, while the Wizards address a glaring need for the future.

The surplus of SG/SF talent has me contacting Portland to see if we can work something out, but because we have so many low contracts, it's impossible to put a package together that both fits within the cap rules and doesn't make me feel like we're giving up anything major.

We've been splitting doubleheaders a lot lately and we do it again as we start January in earnest, losing to the Spurs and beating the Rockets. 121-108 was the final against San Antonio, despite 24 points from Marcelino Augusto, 19 bench points from Kirk Hinrich and 10 points and 9 rebounds off the bench from Victor Gipson. Houston was a hair-raising 103-101 victory won only after a fourth quarter comeback, 14 points and 10 rebounds from Marcelino Augusto, 23 points from Mateen Yeaton and 12 points out of second teamer Michael Redd.

To make matters worse, Tony Parker breaks his wrist and we're forced to press Caron Butler and Lindsey Williamson into duty.

Happily, a back-to-back sweep comes at just the right time. Mateen Yeaton scores 32 points to lead us in a 102-77 romp over the Kings. He's aided by 9 points and 10 rebounds off the bench from Victor Gipson and 11 bench points from Michael Redd. The Lakers go down 115-103 as Mateen Yeaton and Zelipe Gama score 30 and 31 points a piece. There's been some speculation that maybe we should be using Gama as trade bait for an improvement, but I'm keeping the team intact for now.

Tough 99-90 loss to the Timberwolves as our bench plays like crap and Marcelino Augusto and David Jackson can't save us with 19 points and 11 rebounds and 12 points and 14 rebounds respectively.

We rebound to win both games of a road doubleheader. Golden State plays us hard, but we prevail 103-97 on the back of 3 Nuggets with 20+ points; Luol Deng (26 points), Mateen Yeaton (23 points) and Zelipe Gama (20 points). Marcelino Augusto doubles with 10 points, 10 rebounds and David Jackson adds 10 points off the bench as Victor Gipson is back to full strength. It's another 20 points for Luol Deng as we bounce the Sonics 119-97 and Mateen Yeaton scores 30 on his own. Zelipe Gama's there with 18 points and 18 assists, while Lindsey Williamson leads the reserves with 10 points.

But the team's still prone to collective shooting slumps as our 92-81 loss to the Grizzlies illustrates. Louis Mertens is our lone statistical star with 12 points off the bench. We're not really dominating like we have in recent years and it gives me cause for concern.

Five game road trip up next and we start it by getting hammered 108-88 by the Mavericks. Mateen Yeaton scores 24 points and Marcelino Augusto doubles with 14 points and 12 rebounds, but we just can't get our act together.

The skid hits three in a row as we lose 116-115 to the Bulls on the front end of a doubleheader. Good night to waste Marcelino Augusto's 26 points, 21 points and 11 rebounds from Victor Gipson, 16 points and 14 assists from Zelipe Gama and a monster 20 points off the bench from Louis Mertens. Make that four losses in a row, 104-81 to the Pistons. Luol Deng's 22 points and Louis Mertens 11 bench points can't do anything when the rest of the team is sucking it hardcore.

It's a nightmare world we're living in as we lose the next two games as well, 111-87 to the Bucks and 94-90 to the Pacers of all teams. 10 bench points from David Jackson our lone highlight against Milwaukee. Marcelino Augusto scores 21, Victor Gipson gets 15 points and 16 rebounds and David Jackson scores 12 off the bench against Indiana, but Ben Gordon and Paulinho Buboltz score 29 points and 23 points and 11 assists respectively to bury us.

We barely beat the Knicks 120-118 and drop 91-82 to Portland. 30 points from Marcelino Augusto, 23 points from Mateen Yeaton and Louis Mertens's 11 bench points bail us out against New York, but 23 points and 10 rebounds out of Marcelino Augusto, 14 points and 10 assists from Zelipe Gama and David Jackson's 10 bench points can't do the same against the Traiblazers.

By some miracle, we're still ahead in the West at 29-17, four games ahead of the Jazz in the division, a half-game ahead of 28-17 Sacramento for the conference lead. 26-21 still has Memphis in front of the Southwest, but the Kings are fighting for the Pacific lead with the 26-17 Lakers half a game behind.

Toronto's re-asserted itself as the class of the East at 36-10, the Bucks off the pace now at 31-12. Atlanta's ahead of Orlando by 2.5 with a 29-15 record.

I fire Scott Skiles, much to B.B. Dyer's annoyance and we hire Jim O'Brien to a 3 year deal at just under $1 million. Hopefully he'll be able to turn our fortunes around and reverse this losing trend.

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: 44 games/44 starts - 22.4 PPG 9.1 APG 3.7 RPG 1.0 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: 46 games/46 starts - 19.2 PPG 2.8 APG 4.3 RPG 1.4 BPG 1.2 SPG

In Mateen's defense, he's been banged up with a bruised calf for much of the month and I'm beginning to think Scott Skiles's system was hampering him as well.
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:11 AM   #292
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004

Scott Skiles lasted just half the season in his first year as Nuggets head coach


Jim O'Brien now takes the reins and tries to reverse Denver's recent slump

Skiles Out, O'Brien In as Nuggets Head Coach

GM Jestor went from itchy trigger finger in trading to quick hook in head coaching when he fired Scott Skiles following the Nuggets' 92-81 loss to the Portland Trailblazers a few days ago, Denver's seventh loss in eight games. The move was rumored ever since the recent six-game road trip where the team lost all six games for the longest losing streak in Jestor's tenure as Denver's GM.

"While we thank Scott for everything he's done for the team in the short time he's been here, seven games in eight losses, particularly the manner in which we lost those games, is not acceptable for Denver Nuggets basketball", Jestor noted at a press conference. All of the Nuggets' losses in that stretch were by considerable margins and only a slim two-point victory against the Knicks kept it from being eight consecutive losses.

Jim O'Brien, a well-traveled and experienced NBA head coach now steps in and he'll try to reverse the recent trend. In the press conference announcing his hiring, O'Brien vowed to run a more up-tempo game than the plodding pace utilized by Skiles, a move that should re-energize what is, talentwise, one of the NBA's most powerful offenses. Although O'Brien has never won a championship in his coaching career, he's been to the playoffs seven times with the Celtics, 76ers and Pacers.

"I'm greatly looking forward to this opportunity to lead the Denver Nuggets to a championship and to coach great players like Mateen Yeaton, Marcelino Augusto and Zelipe Gama", O'Brien remarked at the conference, "We've got great veteran leadership as well in Kirk Hinrich, Tony Parker and Emeka Okafor that will lead us in the locker room as we make a run for a fourth consecutive Finals appearance and the title that this great city of Denver so richly deserves."

Skiles' buyout came at a huge price--$14 million. In contrast, O'Brien signed a modest three year deal at just under $1 million a season. It remains to be seen if he'll stay for the duration or if he's merely an interim head coach.

This is also not the first time Jestor's changed head coaches midseason. In 2009, as GM of the NBDL Austin Mammoths, he fired his entire coaching staff after the Mammoths fell to fourth place in the West with a 16-13 record. He hired Jeff Van Gundy as the head man, replacing Quinn Snyder. Austin finished 28-22, tied for third place before falling to Sioux Falls 97-90 in the opening round of the playoffs.

***End Article***

Not a bad writeup. Not a great one, either, but I'll take it.

For the first month in what seems like forever, there's no trades. I suspect we'll see quite a few deals pop up around the deadline then.

Jim O'Brien is a winner in his coaching debut, 115-103 against Golden State. Luol Deng scores 30, Marcelino Augusto is terrific with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks and Louis Mertens scores 16 points off the bench. It's amazing how hot the Belgian's been in point production lately and he's looking like a real min-sal steal.

Big litmus test is next, a divisional doubleheader against the Jazz and the Timberwolves. We beat Utah 101-91 as Luol Deng picks up 24 points and 10 rebounds and Louis Mertens has 10 points and 9 assists off the bench. Unfortunately we lose to Minnesota 119-110 in Minneapolis despite 24 points from Luol Deng, 16 points and 11 rebounds from Victor Gipson and Louis Mertens's second team-leading 16 points.

Cleveland beats us 114-99 despite Marcelino Augusto's 28 points, 20 points from Mateen Yeaton and David Jackson's 10 points and 9 rebounds off the bench. We're somewhat improved, but still struggling and still sorely missing Tony Parker.

I'm much more open to the idea of trading somebody to shake the team up now and so I make some calls.

And that's when we create a small sensation in the papers.

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.

We get back on the winning track, edging the Nets 96-89 as Mateen Yeaton scores 30, Marcelino Augusto adds 21 points, Emeka Okafor scores 14 off the bench and Rico Wolfe scores 11 reserve points in his Nuggets debut. David Jackson's starting at SF while Luol Deng recovers from an injury. We've been bit a lot by the injury bug this year, it seems.

A doubleheader before the All-Star break has a thrilling 114-111 victory over the Hawks on the front end. Mateen Yeaton erupts for 49 points after a 50 point game earlier in the season and Marcelino Augusto is a good second with 20 points. We batter the Bobcats 114-79 to sweep the doubleheader, Marcelino Augusto leading the way with 23 points. Victor Gipson grabs a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds and Rico Wolfe scores 11 off the bench as six Nuggets score 11 points or better. Great way to go into the All-Star break.

The Sophomores destroy the Rookies 107-80 in the Rookies/Sophs game and Marcelino Augusto is the MVP with 20 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. Needless to say, he started at PF for the second years. Victor Gipson started at C for the first years and acquitted himself well with 12 points, 11 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.

Low-scoring affair in the All-Star game proper, the East winning 94-80. Paulinho Buboltz started at PG for the East and had 12 points, 7 assists, 2 steals, a block and.. 7 turnovers. Dwayne Wade was MVP with 19 points. Yeah, it was that kind of standout-less game. Marcelino Augusto started at SF for the West and had 8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 2 blocks. I have to say, it feels really, really strange having an All-Star game with no Mateen Yeaton. Hopefully that motivates him for next year.

And indeed Mateen Yeaton's been on fire in recent games and he is again in our 106-80 rout of the Celtics, scoring 33 points. Marcelino Augusto scores 21 points with 9 rebounds and Victor Gipson garners 10 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks.

Now's the time to decide what to do about Zelipe Gama. On the one hand, his scoring numbers are up. On the other hand, his shooting percentage is down a fair bit and his passing numbers aren't nearly what we're used to seeing from him. I suspect part of that is Mateen Yeaton having a real off year, what with the offensive systems and multiple injuries, including fighting through a knee injury at present. I also have to make a choice about Louis Mertens, who's shown considerable scoring pop and is a wizard at ballhandling, but a complete sieve on the defensive end.

But you know, it just wouldn't feel right without Gama running the point. The Spainard's one of our most popular players and he's a major success story here in Denver. Nor can I trade Mertens, who I still think was a free agent steal. We'll be fine, especially when Tony Parker comes back. We're just dealing with a rash of injuries right now.

Luol Deng is back starting at SF against the Grizzlies, but Memphis beats us soundly, 106-93 in spite of 18 points and 10 rebounds from Victor Gipson and 11 points and 11 rebounds off the bench from David Jackson.

Zelipe Gama rewards my faith in him with 26 points and 11 assists in a gritty 97-90 victory over the Hornets. Marcelino Augusto adds 22 points as we continue to tread water and try to get back into full form.

The month ends with a 107-87 blowout of the Hawks, captained by Marcelino Augusto's 24 points, 18 points and 11 rebounds from Victor Gipson, 15 points and 12 assists from Zelipe Gama and great bench play. Rico Wolfe scores 15, David Jackson 12 points. I'm really happy with Wolfe and can't believe we got him so cheap.

It'll be a little over a week before Mateen Yeaton fully heals from his knee injury. Tony Parker should be back in action late next month. David Jackson gimped his hamstring and he'll be less than 100% for about two weeks.

Still, we're 37-20, six games ahead of the Timberwolves in the division and still holding off the 36-22 Kings for the conference's top seed. Sacramento's opened up a 2.5 game advantage on the Lakers, while the Grizzlies are six games in front of the Mavericks with a 33-24 record. Six teams with a winning record thus far, half of which are in our division (us, Minnesota, Portland). Utah's 28-28 and Dallas and a surprisingly competitive Golden State aren't far away from .500 or better.

Toronto's kicking everyone's ass at 45-11. The next closest team is the Knicks, who are 39-18, 6.5 games out. So much for Rico Wolfe's absence hurting the team. The Bucks lead the Central at 35-20, 3 games ahead of the Pistons. Chicago's 29-25, in third place and we're going to get stuck with a non-lottery pick, much to my chagrin. Atlanta and Orlando are still dogfighting the Southeast, 1.5 games separating them. The Hawks fly higher right now at 35-21, but there's a lot of season left.

eric Kostov has been a disaster at PG for the Raptors, but they're still 4-1 since the trade and have been kicking everybody's butt, their only loss a 110-101 defeat to the Bucks in Milwaukee. It's obscene just how good Toronto is.

Now it's time for the midseason leaders report

Points
1. Nigel Abel (Miami Heat) - 27.7
2. Ben Gordon (Indiana Pacers) - 24.3
3. Justin Barnes (Sacramento Kings) - 23.3
7th. Paulinho Buboltz - 21.9
18th. Marcelino Augusto - 20.1

Assists
T1. A.J. Dunkley (Utah Jazz) - 11.1
T1. Kenny Graham (Detroit Pistons) - 11.1
3. Calvis Graham (L.A. Lakers) - 10.7
[b]4. Zelipe Gama (Denver Nuggets) - 9.7
10. Paulinho Buboltz - 8.9

Rebounds
1. Greg Oden (Toronto Raptors) - 15.8
2. Andrew Bynum (L.A. Lakers) - 13.1
3. Narcyz Malinomowski (Memphis Grizzlies) - 11.9

Blocks
1. Patrick Riley (Washington Wizards) - 3.8
2. Martin Beerbohm (New Orleans Hornets) - 3.4
3. Sonny Boxler (Portland Trailblazers - 3.1
T4. Derrick Robinson (L.A. Lakers) - 3.0
T4. Greg Oden (Toronto Raptors) - 3.0
T4. Henry Fisher (Utah Jazz) - 3.0
14. Victor Gipson - 2.4

Lot of blockmasters in the league this year. Really something to see, especially the rookie Boxler.

Steals
1. Derrick Sterett (New Jersey Nets) - 2.3
2. Leland Peterson (Washington Wizards) - 2.2
3. Brian Metcalfe (Philadelphia 76ers) - 1.9
T9. Zelipe Gama - 1.5
T9. Luol Deng - 1.5
T9. Paulinho Buboltz - 1.5

Rookie Points
1. Sonny Boxler (Portland Trailblazers) - 16.3
2. Valery Frahm (Golden State Warriors) - 11.7
3. Jermaine Butler (Boston Celtics) - 10.8
4. Victor Gipson (Denver Nuggets) - 10.2

Rookie Assists
1. Cedric Caldwell (Miami Heat) - 4.4
2. Andre Moore (Chicago Bulls) - 3.8
3. Jermaine Butler (Boston Celtics) - 3.2

Rookie Rebounds
1. Victor Gipson (Denver Nuggets) - 9.4

2. Dontay Williamson (L.A. Clippers) - 8.8
3. Valery Frahm (Golden State Warriors) - 8.1

Rookie Blocks
1. Sonny Boxler (Portland Trailblazers) - 3.0
2. Victor Gipson (Denver Nuggets) - 2.4
3. Dontay Williamson (L.A. Clippers) - 1.8

Rookie Steals
1. Jermaine Butler (Boston Celtics) - 1.6
2. Sonny Boxler (Portland Trailblazers) - 1.2


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: 56 games/56 starts - 21.9 PPG 8.9 APG 3.6 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.5 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: 57 games/57 starts - 19.3 PPG 2.7 APG 4.2 RPG 1.4 BPG 1.1 SPG
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:05 PM   #293
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
An impressive three deadline deals, all on the same day.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
C Lavell Ledbetter
Milwaukee Bucks 2019 2nd round pick

Milwaukee Bucks receive
PF Cene Kovacs

What this means for the Lakers
Ledbetter's a phenomenal shotblocker with some rebounding skills and good defense. Doesn't really bring much else to the table and he's really injury prone, but on the other hand, the Lakers had -no- big men worth talking about on the bench, so he's a nice pickup in that regard.

What this means for the Bucks
Kovacs, a 24 year old Slovenian drafted 29th last year by the Lakers has some good scoring instincts, average rebounding and good defense. Not a playmaker by any means and a terrible ballhandler. Not much upside, either.

Winner: L.A. Lakers
The Purple and Gold needed to get bigger in the post on the bench and Ledbetter provides that. We're not sold on Kovacs, especially since even 35 year old Charlie Villaneuva is a better bench option for the Bucks currently.

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SF Julius Austin
Miami Heat 2019 2nd round pick

Miami Heat receive
PF Andrea Clark
PF Brian Bender

What this means for the Grizzlies
It seems like only yesterday the Utah Sixers were rookies, but Austin's already 33 years old. Bad ballhandler at this late stage in career, but he can still score some points and, most importantly for the Grizzlies, he's a deadly defensive presence, something Memphis is notorious for lacking. The Grizzlies are hoping to knock Denver off the West conference crown and acquiring Austin is a great step in that direction.

What this means for the Heat
Bender, taken 18th overall by the Pistons in 2014, is the very definition of a mediocre player. Not a standout in any area. Clark, taken with the first pick in the second round last year by the Grizzlies, has potential to become a role player on defense, but that's about it.

Winner: Memphis
Neither Bender nor Clark will ever make an impact in Miami, whereas Austin enhances the Grizzlies' defense in a major way, shoring up Memphis's historically weakest point.

Milwaukee Bucks receive
PG Jarrett Jack
Phoenix Suns 2019 2nd round pick

Phoenix Suns receive
SG Danny Tennell

What this means for the Bucks
Jack probably won't receive much PT, but he's an extremely smart guard who's a nice safety option to run the offense in case of injury to one of Milwaukee's other guards. The Bucks also improve their 2nd round position by acquiring the Suns' pick.

What this means for the Suns
Tennell was Milwaukee's 1st round pick last year (22nd) and has bust written all over him. Why Phoenix even traded for him is beyond anyone's guess. He has nothing to recommend him at all.

Winner: Milwaukee
The Bucks shed a draft mistake and pick up a good insurance policy along with a high 2nd round pick.

Our first game in March is against Indiana and I still have a bitter taste in my mouth from our earlier 94-90 loss. No such repeat here as we beat the Pacers 93-79. Mateen Yeaton scores 22, Marcelino Augusto puts up 16 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks and Rico Wolfe adds 12 points off the bench. So much for Paulinho Buboltz's 31 points.

The Clippers pose no problem either, the 105-92 victory keyed by Luol Denb's 26 points. One thing I've noticed is that under Jim O'Brien's scheme, there's a lot more spreading out of the shots and so we don't usually have a consistently dominant player like in the Larry Brown days. And of course, everyone sucked under Scott Skiles's system.

109-96 is the final in our win against the Trailblazers. Marcelino Augusto scores 25 points and Luol Deng has his second straight 20+ point game with 21. David Jackson and Rico Wolfe both contribute 10 points off the bench.

A three-day break proves very beneficial to team health and we keep the win streak going with a doubleheader sweep of San Antonio and Phoenix. Marcelino Augusto drops 24 points on the Spurs in our 110-97 victory, Zelipe Gama bombing them for 21 points and Rico Wolfe putting on the icing with 16 points to lead the second unit. It's Marcelino Augusto again with the fantastic showing of 30 points and 11 rebounds to sink the Suns 109-96. Luol Deng and Mateen Yeaton score 21 and 23 points respectively and Zelipe Gama distributes 11 points and 14 assists.

Our first loss of the month comes against Charlotte, 110-105 as we blow a substantial fourth quarter lead and Mateen Yeaton's 36 points. Marcelino Augusto's 24 points also go to waste, but I'm okay with the loss. We're playing a lot better now than we have in quite a while and I think it's safe to say we're genuinely looking like one of the top teams in the league that we are.

And indeed, we rebound to wax the Clippers 100-74 on the strength of Marcelino Augusto's phenomenal performance of 23 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 steals. I still can't believe he's just 20 years old and in his second pro season. He's blossoming into a titanic force already.

We beat the Bucks by 20, 106-86 and I'm amused to note that Lannce Dudley is starting at SG and scores 22 points. Yes, he re-signed with the Bucks and he's played 58 games, starting 26, averaging 10.7 points and not much else. On our side, Mateen Yeaton scores 34, Marcelino Augusto has 16 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks and Rico Wolfe scores 12 points off the bench. I'm thrilled with Wolfe and it's too bad I can't sign him to a contract extension. He'll definitely be a priority free agent re-signing, though.

Mateen Yeaton seems to have rediscovered his shooting stroke as he buries the Wizards for 34 points in our 117-95 laugher. Zelipe Gama gets 20 points and 11 assists and David Jackson contributes 15 points off the bench.

It's 3 straight games of 34+ points for Mateen Yeaton as he scores 37 against the Lakers, but David Jackson's 12 bench points are his lone support and we lose 112-104. Derrick Robinson just absolutely took the game over with 38 points and 17 rebounds, both one off his career highs. Austin Buller's been no Tim Davis at SF for the Lakers, by the way, averaging just 14.4 points this season.

A gut-wrenching 104-102 loss to the Kings really hurts, as they've been chasing us all season long for the top spot. 23 points and 15 rebounds from Marcelino Augusto, 24 points and 11 assists from Zelipe Gama and 15 bench points from David Jackson testify to just how much we were in it. This defeat could be the tipping point, much to my disappointment.

It's a fairly ugly win, but I'll take the 98-87 besting of the Suns to snap the losing streak. Mateen Yeaton scores 20, Zelipe Gama has 14 points and 10 assists and our bench comes through bigtime for us. David Jackson leads the charge with 16 points and 14 rebounds, Rico Wolfe and Emeka Okafor adding 12 and 11 points respectively.

A marathon OT game in Utah sees us prevail 113-106 over the Jazz. Luol Deng scores 27 points, Victor Gipson has 20 points and 13 rebounds, Marcelino Augusto double-doubles with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Zelipe Gama gets a double of his own of 16 points and 12 assists and David Jackson tops the reserves with 15 points.

It's a back-to-back to close March and we win them both. The Spurs get pounded 123-92 behind the most balanced game I've ever seen from our boys in Denver. 7 Nuggets score 13 points or better, headlined by Zelipe Gama's 18 points and 13 rebounds, Rico Wolfe and Louis Mertens our 13 point benchmen. Portland gives us fits, but an absolutely torrential second half gives us the comeback win against the Traiblazers on the road, 96-94. Mateen Yeaton is on fire with 38 points and Marcelino Augusto plays an excellent second man with 20 points and 12 rebounds. They were just enough to get us the victory.

With 10 games left in our season, we've clinched the Northwest for the umpteenth season in a row at 49-23. We're also still hanging on to the lead for the #1 seed in the West, as the Kings are 48-26. Sacramento's lead over the Lakers has expanded to four games, while Memphis is 7 games in front of the Spurs at 41-30 and all but has the division locked up.

Six teams over .500 in the conference and again, three are in the Northwest. It's very possible all of the Northwest teams could be in the playoffs, as the Sonics and Jazz are both .500 at 36-36.

Out East, Toronto's already won the #1 overall seed in the playoffs, as they're 60-12. Milwaukee's got a pretty safe five game lead over the Pistons at 47-25. The Bulls are 39-33 and look to be certain to make the playoffs as the #7 or #8 seed, which will probably give us somewhere around the 20th pick in addition to our late 20s selection. Not worth much in trade value or in talent, unfortunately.

The Magic and Hawks are still in a thrilling race for the Southeast. Orlando's jumped a half-game ahead of Atlanta, but you can bet the Hawks won't take that one lying down. It should go down to the wire over these last ten games and be a real treat to watch.

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: 71 games/71 starts - 21.4 PPG 8.6 APG 3.4 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.5 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: 72 games/72 starts - 20.0 PPG 2.5 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.1 SPG
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:50 PM   #294
Izulde
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We've traditionally finished the regular season on a strong note and I'm hoping for more of the same this year.

Things get off to a fantastic start as we sweep the Grizzlies and the Hornets on the road. Our inside game clicked on all cylinders against Memphis, Marcelino Augusto leading the charge with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Victor Gipson grabbing 15 points and 12 rebounds and David Jackson completing the double-double trifecta with 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench as we win 99-89. Mateen Yeaton swatted the Hornets for 35 points in the 118-92 rattling of New Orleans. Marcelino Augusto put up 25 points and 14 rebounds and Victor Gipson got a double-double for the second consecutive game with 12 points and 17 rebounds. Rico Wolfe led the second team with 10 points.

We run to 4-0 in the final ten, taking both games of a divisional doubleheader. The T-Wolves give us a run, but we edge them 112-106 at the Target Center behind Mateen Yeaton's 34 points. Luol Deng scores 22, Zelipe Gama collects 10 points and 16 assists and David Jackson snags a bench double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. We sink Seattle 120-108 on Mateen Yeaton's 29 points and Rico Wolfe's 13 bench points.

.500's guaranteed in the final set as we upend Golden State 117-100 on the strength of six Nuggets in double-digit scoring. Victor Gipson wins Player of the Game with 25 points and 11 rebounds, demolishing fellow rookie C Valery Frahm. Marcelino Augusto pitches in with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Mateen Yeaton scores 24 and Zelipe Gama aids with 10 points and 11 assists. David Jackson headlines the reserves with 14 points.

The Hornets have no buzz as we decimate them 128-81. But the victory's a phyrric one, as Mateen Yeaton gets literally knocked out of the game with a concussion. Our other players stepped up though, as Zelipe Gama scored 21 points and 12 assists, David Jackson was unconscious with 22 points off the bench, first among 4 Nuggets reserves with 10+ points. The others were Rico Wolfe (16 points), Tony Parker (12 points) and Emeka Okafor (10 points).

Memphis hunts for revenge, but the Grizzlies' roar is mightier than their bite as we top them 93-81. Marcelino Augusto is the best bearhunter ever with 41 points and 11 rebounds, while Victor Gipson sets a franchise record with 11 blocks! The rookie also had 13 rebounds in a most unsual doubleheader. Unfortunately we lose the next night 97-73 to the Rockets as every single shot clangs off the rim. Victor Gipson continues his fine late-season play with 10 points and 12 rebounds but that's it. Mateen Yeaton insists on continuing to play through his concussion, even though it'll risk ruining his streak of 20+ point average seasons.

And indeed, he loses the streak, just as we lose both games of the final back-to-back, 79-78 to the Suns, Marcelino Augusto our lone triumph with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Portland crushes us 108-82 and Mateen Yeaton finishes the year with a 19.8 point per game average. Disappointing but that's how it goes. Victor Gipson has 14 points and 10 rebounds and David Jackson scores 10 off the bench, but we're a completely different team when Yeaton's hurt and that's not a good thing.

In spite of our concussed end-stumble, we still go 7-3 over the last ten games and lock up the #1 seed in the West for another year in a row.

West Conference Playoff Seedings
1. Denver Nuggets (56-26)
2. Sacramento Kings (54-28)
3. L.A. Lakers (49-33)
4. Memphis Grizzlies (48-34)
5. Portland Trailblazers (45-37)
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (41-41)
7. San Antonio Spurs (40-42)
8. Seattle Supersonics (40-42)

Much improved field over recent years and for the first time all of the Northwest teams are going to the postseason. I'm really glad our half of the bracket doesn't include the Spurs and the Lakers. Good luck to Sacramento trying to navigate that minefield.

East Conference Playoff Seedings
1. Toronto Raptors (69-13)
2. New York Knicks (54-28)
3. Detroit Pistons (49-33)
4. Orlando Magic (48-34)
5. Milwaukee Bucks (49-33)
6. Atlanta Hawks (45-37)
7. Chicago Bulls (43-39)
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (43-39)

The last team out in the East is the 41-41 Celtics. I'm shocked to see the Knicks win 50+ games and the #2 seed. They're positively delirious in the Big Apple. The Bucks have to be pissed about losing the tiebreaker, but I think they can take Orlando. Nasty, nasty draw for the Raptors here, as the Cavs have an explosive offense. Everybody's sweating out that first round matchup, because everyone's dreaming of a fourth straight Raptors/Nuggets final.
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:31 AM   #295
Izulde
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And so our quest for a fourth straight Finals appearance begins. I'm not really worried about our first round matchup. The Sonics are dynamite on offense, punchless on D.

"The Denver Nuggets are ready to gun for another West Conference title, their fourth consecutive one. They appear to draw an attractive first round matchup, for while Seattle is known for its offensive prowess, their defense is among the worst in the league.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Branko Starcevic

Better point production and fewer assists out of Gama this year looked a little out of place and indeed, at times, the Spainard struggled. While most of the difficulty occurred during Scott Skiles's half-season tenure, Gama was erratic enough that GM Jestor explored trade possibilities at the deadline. Word of this leaked and Gama still isn't quite over it. Still, 13.3 points, 9.6 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.5 steals aren't regular season numbers to be scoffed at.

The Croation Starcevic is loaded with talent, but he only shoots around 40% in any given season, hence why he only averaged 11.5 points and 9.6 assists during the regular season. That said, he's a good floor general and a good fundamental defender who has the size to be able to contain Gama. It's really a toss-up between these two.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Andre Quarles

Yeaton, similiar to Gama, experienced a drop in numbers during the regular season. Again, part of it attributable to Skiles' offense, but part of it also is due to the repeated nagging injuries plaguing the Nuggets star all season long. That's worrisome for Denver's title hopes, along with the lowered statistics of 19.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals. His most injury was a concussion that he insisted on playing through. He's fully healthy now, but how long can that last?

Quarles was one of the players most often mentioned in the Gama trade rumor mill and the 25 year old has a very sweet shooting stroke, good ballhandling skills for a two and some nice technical defense. He's also a smart player. He's small, though, which doesn't translate well for the Sonics against Yeaton. On a less high-powered team, he'd probably average close to 20 points a game. As is, Andre averaged 16.5 points with 4.2 assists during the regular season.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Luol Deng vs. Brooks Smith

Picking up Deng via trade in the offseason was one of Jestor's smartest moves. The 33 year old plays very good defense and has nice stealing instincts. He knows how to shoot but he also knows his role in the system and doesn't take a ton of shots unlike certain other former Denver threes we could name. 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the regular season may not look like much, but Deng's capable of taking over a game at any given point in time.

Smith has been one of the biggest draft steals since Jestor came into the league. Taken 18th overall by Seattle in 2008, he's developed into a fantastic scorer who's really worked on his defensive game. While he isn't any better than average on the defensive end, he has 9 consecutive seasons of 20+ points and is a 3-time All-Star. This season he averaged 21 points and 5.9 rebounds in the regular season.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Marcelino Augusto vs. Nate Bonner

Augusto had a sensational sophomore campaign, averaging 19.7 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks, earning his first of what is likely to be many All-Star trips. It's still hard to believe he's just 20 years old or that he gets the hops for blocks at just 6'9, 217 lbs. He's developed rapidly and if he keeps improving the way he has, he just might have a ticket to the Hall of Fame waiting for him later on down the line.

Bonner's one of the greatest enigmas in the league. He's got great shooting skills, but he's never averaged more than 17.5 points a season. 13 points and 7 rebounds is an okay regular season, but he's capable of so much more. On the other hand, he's a complete sieve on defense and horrendous ballhandler, so he's going to get clobbered by the much more talented Augusto.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
Victor Gipson vs. Scott Palmer

The rookie Gipson not only beat out David Jackson for the starting C spot, but he had a surprisingly successful first year, averaging 10.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. At 7'2, 303 lbs, he has the size to be an absolutely nasty shotblocker and he takes full advantage of it. Good rebounder and he's developing his offensive game, including what are now lackluster ballhandling skills.

Although they were taken 1-2 in last year's draft, Palmer hasn't had near the success of Augusto and in fact, Gipson had a better rookie campaign than Palmer did. On the other hand, Palmer's a great fundamental defender with terrific rebounding skills and the potential to be a fantastic scorer. The problem is, he's 6'9, 246 and that's just asking to be killed as an NBA five. Given the size issue, it's little wonder he averaged 11.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and a steal in his second year. He's going to have a hard time fighting past the huge Gipson, no matter how more talented he is.

Advantage: Draw

Bench

David Jackson's bothered a sprained finger, but he still averaged 8.8 points and 7.1 rebounds as Denver's 6th man, developing into one of the best in the league at that position. Rico Wolfe, acquired near the deadline from Toronto, is an excellent backup guard, with well-rounded skills and good defense. Emeka Okafor can still rebound, shotblock and play D, still one of the smartest players in the game, a savvy 36 year old. Louis Mertens is an excellent floor general and is improving his offensive game significantly, but is still a cipher on defense.

Saer Sene is getting up there in years, but he's still a terrific defender, an excellent rebounder and a ferocious shotblocker. Adam Lopez is comparable to Wolfe, averaging 10.5 points and 1.3 steals, only he doesn't have the defensive prowess that Wolfe does and he's also banged up by a sore shoulder. Craig Shehan is pretty good at running the offense, but he's an even worse defender than Mertens.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts

Seattle doesn't have a prayer. They don't have an edge anywhere and this one ends in a sweep.
Prediction: Denver in 4

Oh, I don't know about that. I think the Sonics have a high-octane enough offense that they can push it to five games. In general though, I agree that Seattle's totally outclassed here.

Game One
The opening game is a yawnfest for those hoping for a close game. Mateen Yeaton scores 27, Luol Deng also breaks the 20 point barrier with 22 and Zelipe Gama finds his old form with 16 points and 12 assists. The best Seattle can do in countering is 10 points and 9 rebounds off the bench from Saer Sene. This series looks like it's going to be over quickly.
Final - Seattle 85 Denver 112

Game Two
Seattle's offense wakes up in a hurry and suddenly we've got a real battle and a real treat of a game on our hands. Brooks Smith erupts for 42 points and Scott Palmer is otherworldly with 20 points and 24 rebounds. 11's the magic number for the bench as Adam Lopez scores 11 points and Saer Sene grabs 11 rebounds. We counter with two 30+ point players, Marcelino Augusto with a great game of 31 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals, and Mateen Yeaton with 32 points. Zelipe Gama has 12 points and 13 assists and Louis Mertens and Rico Wolfe both score 12 points off the bench. In the end, that combined 24 points from those two reserves bails us out and we barely escape with a thrilling 5 point victory in overtime.
Final - Seattle 121 Denver 126 (OT)

Game Three
After the excitement in Game 2, I'm thinking Game 3 is going to be much less of a shootout and I'm also believing that even though the series shifts to Seattle, the Sonics have exhausted all their ammo in Game 2 and are finished. Such was not to be the case as Brooks Smith scores 27 and Scott Palmer powers his way to 22 points and 10 rebounds. 23 points from Marcelino Augusto, Victor Gipson's 16 points and 12 rebounds and Rico Wolfe's 11 bench points aren't enough. The Supersonics ambush us and refuse to go down without a fight, cutting our series lead to 2-1.
Final - Denver 90 Seattle 101

Game Four
Now I'm actually a little bit worried. If Seattle finds a way to tie this series up, we're suddenly going to be forced to fight for the right to advance. That's about the time where Marcelino Augusto steps in with a legendary 30 points and 11 rebounds, Victor Gipson nabs 14 points, 16 rebounds and 5 steals and Rico Wolfe adds 10 bench points. Seattle struggles mightily on offense, their lone highlights the poor man's double of 10 points, 10 rebounds from Scott Palmer, 11 bench points from Adam Lopez and 12 points and 10 rebounds from reserve Saer Sene. We're close to slamming the door on the pesky Supersonics.
Final - Denver 93 Seattle 81

Just two series end in sweeps. Detroit knocks out Atlanta in four games and although it's allegedly an upset, I'm not surprised in the least when the Spurs eliminate the 2nd seed Kings in four. Sacramento was the most overachieving team in the league this season, San Antonio the most underachieving. Come the playoffs, that sort of thing gets sorted out, the proper talent levels asserting themselves.

Game Five
I'd like to win here if at all possible, even if Portland and Memphis are knotted at two a piece. Sure enough, Marcelino Augusto continues his heroic first round, abusing Seattle for 32 points while Mateen Yeaton scores 25 and David Jackson plays well off the bench for 10 points and 15 rebounds. I give a lot of credit to Scott Palmer for his 17 points and 13 rebounds, though and Adam Lopez and Josh McRoberts played well with 13 and 14 points respectively with the second team. Palmer really earned my respect with his performance this series, which I don't think was a case of Victor Gipson playing soft against a smaller opponent like Tim Davis would. It was Palmer being more naturally talented and being angry at all the pre-playoffs press and blogosphere. In the end, though, it wasn't enough and the underdog Supersonics get kicked off the playoff porch here.
Final - Seattle 95 Denver 104

So much for all the hype of Cleveland being a concern for Toronto. The Raptors end the series in five games, the same length of the Knicks/Bulls matchup, whereby New York advances to the second round for the first time in what seems like decades.

Portland pulls off a considerable upset in beating Memphis in six. We're going to have to face another deadly divisional offense in the second round and I'm already having panic attacks because the Trailblazers traditionally match up well against us in the regular season.

The Lakers and Timberwolves surprisingly go the full seven games, as do the Magic and the Bucks. But Los Angeles isn't about to let the Timberwolves get the playoffs' greatest stunner, nor will Orlando be intimidated by Milwaukee's superior record. It's Lakers and Magic advancing and I suddenly need a Prilosec as the acid burns in my chest and throat.

Portland in the second round, a guaranteed pick-your-poison West Conference finals foe of San Antonio or the Lakers if we get that far. Our road to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance just got a hell of a lot tougher.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:35 AM   #296
Barkeep49
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I've been reading this once a week and I must say I really am disappointed about last years' Finals defeat as I really thought you'd get over the hump. This years squad doesn't impress me nearly as much and it wouldn't surprise me to see you lose, sad as it is for me to write, at the conference championship level.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:16 PM   #297
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkeep49 View Post
I've been reading this once a week and I must say I really am disappointed about last years' Finals defeat as I really thought you'd get over the hump. This years squad doesn't impress me nearly as much and it wouldn't surprise me to see you lose, sad as it is for me to write, at the conference championship level.

I thought we had a good shot at winning last year myself. Why doesn't this year's version impress you? I agree we underperformed when Scott Skiles coached, but I feel like Jim O'Brien's got the team back on track.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see us lose in the West Conference finals. If we meet the Spurs there for the third year in a row, I think we can still win. It's the Lakers that worry me.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:54 PM   #298
Barkeep49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
I thought we had a good shot at winning last year myself. Why doesn't this year's version impress you? I agree we underperformed when Scott Skiles coached, but I feel like Jim O'Brien's got the team back on track.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see us lose in the West Conference finals. If we meet the Spurs there for the third year in a row, I think we can still win. It's the Lakers that worry me.
I feel like last year's team had a great mix of veteran and new. I felt like last year's team had heart and the swagger of a champion. I just don't see those qualities in as great of abundance with this years group. Don't get me wrong, I love Mateen and Augusto, I just am unsure if they'll be enough.
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:32 PM   #299
Coffee Warlord
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Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
Could the window be slowly closing for Denver's title hopes?

I said it before, I'll say it again. To me, it just feels like you're hovering jusssst on the edge of a meltdown.

So freakin' win one before you melt.
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:03 PM   #300
Izulde
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Barkeep49: Oh, I understand what you're saying. I just think this year's edition of the Nuggets is tougher than last year's, but I'll admit, I'm prejudiced in saying that because of how freaking soft Tim Davis was. Man, that guy annoyed the hell out of me. 89 defense rating and he was letting inferior guys drop 20 and 10 on him on a regular basis.

Coffee Warlord: I don't know if I quite see a meltdown yet. Admittedly the window -is- starting to close slightly, what with Mateen Yeaton turning 30 this year and this possibly being Emeka Okafor's last season... but I still think we've got some time left.
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