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Injuries and off-season losses cause slow start

November 23rd, 2004 by jmaness

The new start Nuggets has sputtered to a 5-5 record at the beginning of this year. The slow start can be blamed on them adjusting to new faces (Kenyon Martin, Greg Buckner and Dermarr Johnson) and without old ones, due to injuries and free agency.

The team is missing leadership on the bench from last year and some key members who have been limited by injuries, something the Nuggets never had to face last year.

The team lost some important leaders last year, but most importantly they lost a veteran coach on the bench, John McLeod. McLeod brought lots of experience to the Nuggets bench that really helped Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik late in games. He had experience that the players respected and the knowledge of the game that every team needs.

The team also misses the experience and the energy of Jon Barry. Barry brought an all-around game, but most importantly three-point shooting, defensive intensity and exciting plays that the Nuggets miss. Just imagine if Barry was here with Martin? Now that would be fun to watch.

Where’s Bowen? When the Nuggets lacked energy the last few five years they could bring Ryan Bowen in and he was instant energy. Where’s Bowen this year? Sadly he’s in Houston, taking his energy to help T-Mac and Yao out. Who replaces the Bowen Factor this year? I haven’t seen anybody and this team really misses Bowen’s energy off the bench.

The injury bug hit the first game, when they lost Voshon Lenard for the year and Nene for eight games. They have also lost Marcus Camby for a couple games. Earl Boykins, Kenyon Martin and Francisco Elson are all playing injured.

The loss of Lenard has affected the Nuggets three-point threat, but has opened the door for younger players, Johnson and Rodney White. The lost of Nene has affected the team’s low-post offense. Without Nene the two other low-post threats are Martin, who is undersized in the post and Carmelo Anthony, who is usually doubled or tripled-teamed. The lost of Camby has affected the Nuggets defense, as teams can attack the Nuggets interior defense without Camby.

After ten games playing together and the return of Nene and Camby expect the Nuggets to start challenging teams as they try to head back to the playoffs.

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