March 16th, 2009 by aswitzer
Here’s what one long-time Nuggets fan thinks what needs to happen to finish up this season and win the 2009 Northwest Division crown, and a handy 3rd or 4th place seed in the Western Conference.
- Share the ball
When things went downhill during the Nuggets recent slide, they went back to their Iverson days of last year and started going with a lot of one-on-one play. Some of that works with JR slashing to the basket, but too much leads to a stagnant, ineffective offense. Unselfish, moving the ball is one the Nuggets are at their best.
- Get back to playing solid team defense
For the Nuggets, their new-found team defense takes a lot of hard, consistent effort with good communication. During their slide they lost that focus and intensity. Karl should turn to guys like Dahntay Jones, Birdman and Renaldo Balkman to help crank up the defensive intensity when the starting unit falters. Chauncey’s defense is always pretty solid, but he can’t do it alone.
- Get Kenyon Martin back
A healthy Kenyon Martin has also been a huge part of the Nuggets newfound defensive improvement this season. Kenyon brings a ferocity to the Nuggets defense, and he is strong enough and quick enough to guard several different positions, which really helps with switches and defensive breakdowns. Hopefully his recent bout with a back spasms will clear up in the next week or two and he’ll be ready to go for the stretch run and playoffs.
- Get Nene back to early-season form
Another reason the Nuggets offensive efficiency has recently faltered is the dwindling effectiveness ofÂ Nene. I think he’s hurting a bit, and tired, but the Nuggets really need him to re-find his legs and intensity for the stretch run and definitely the playoffs in order to make a run. I get the feeling Nene is a sensitve guy, and Chauncey pulling Nene aside and reminding him just how important he is to this team may just re-energize the big man in the middle. Getting a healthy Kenyon back would also do wonders, as it would take some of the focus off of Nene inside and give him more room to work.
- More Birdman, more Balkman, more cowbell!
Coach Karl saw what Birdman could do this season way before I did this year, and I give him kudos for that. However, he’s still only playing Birdman an average of just under 20 minutes a game. Isn’t there a way to keep him on the court just a bit more? I know a guy like Andersen relies on his energy to be successful, so its a very fine line… but just a few more minutes, please? Balkman has been a revelation in the past week, mostly thanks to Kenyon’s bad back. How about 10-14 shooting with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks against the Clippers in a win? How about 14 points (6-13 shooting) and 14 rebounds in the previous game against Oklahoma – also a win? Please don’t send Balkman back to the bench completely when Kenyon comes back – find a way to keep him on the court – preferably ahead of the talented, but dreadfully inconsistent Linas Kleiza.
- Look at the past, and then play their butts off in the remaining games
Learn from past seasons where high hopes faded away. Take the recent slide to heart and bring a renewed energy to the remaining games now that Utah and Portland are once again in the rear view mirror for the Northwest Division lead. They are very, very close in that rearview mirror, so the “A” game needs to be brought every night. Do that, and the playoffs won’t be a very big change from the intensity of the end of this season.
I don’t usually write posts like this, telling the Nuggets and their staff what needs to be done. Take it all with a grain of salt Nuggets fans, because this fan is just really tired of seeing his team get wiped out of the playoffs in the first round. Go Nuggets!
Leave a Reply