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Nuggets for sale! Denver has finally decided to blow it up.

Colin D. | February 16, 2015

“It’s hard to say whether the Nuggets’ roster is a terrible fir for Shaw or whether Shaw is a terrible NBA coach but team brass seems to assume the former. They are vocally supporting Shaw and his vision for the Nuggets and they finally seem ready to do something they never do – blow up the team.”

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It sure seems like a long time ago that your Denver Nuggets were perennial playoff participants. The George Karl ended after a 57 win season (and an NBA Coach of the Year award) because Karl couldn’t get the team over the hump and because he was angling for a contract extension despite having whiffed away the best shot Denver had to go the distance.

Karl was canned after a decade of near misses. The Nuggets let Masai Ujiri move along and they prepared for a fresh new era featuring bright new minds in Tim Connelly and Brian Shaw. But they entered that new era with basically the same team. Kroenke sports decided the team could rebuild without rebuilding – that a fresh coat of paint might improve things enough that the Nuggets could finally become a post-season force with the same basic roster that Karl had continually failed with.

Kroenke sports was wrong.

It’s hard to say whether the Nuggets’ roster is a terrible fir for Shaw or whether Shaw is a terrible NBA coach but team brass seems to assume the former. They are vocally supporting Shaw and his vision for the Nuggets and they finally seem ready to do something they never do – blow up the team.

By all reports the Nuggets are looking to have a clearance sale. Arron Afflalo is for sale; Wilson Chandler is for sale; even Ty Lawson is for sale for the right price. The only player the Nuggets don’t seem willing to move is “rookie” Jusef Nurkic, the big Bosnian center who has created a buzz around the NBA with his bull-headed toughness.

Given the chance the Nuggets appear ready to clear the decks and collect assets so that they can start to rebuild through the draft. I the Karl era seems like a long time ago now it’s going to seem like forever ago when the Nuggets plunge even deeper into mediocrity for the foreseeable future while new prospects are brought along and wedged into Shaw’s system.

Brian Shaw has expressed his distain for his current players over and over again in the media – even speculating that they have been tanking the season to spite him. He has little patience for immaturity and not even the team’s “leader” Ty Lawson seems to demonstrate the type of selflessness Shaw demands. The kind of player Shaw seems to want to work with is the type that hasn’t played in the NBA before – players like Nurkic.

If the Nuggets truly are committed to Shaw long-term it’s very likely that the team we will see take shape will include many foreign players. The Nuggets recently offered a two-year deal to French big man Joffrey Lauvergne whom they drafted 55th overall in 2013. He’ll probably get minutes in the second half of the season playing alongside Nurkic. The duo could provide a preview of the Euro-centric new-look Nuggets we could see moving forward. Players like Lauvergne and Nurkic don’t have enough experience in the glitzy NBA to have acquired the kind of egos Shaw can’t seem to work with so it makes sense for the Nuggets to provide Shaw with more Euros in future seasons.  

Written by Colin D.




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