“Once the Broncos took a dive to the Colts on Sunday, January 11th, the Nuggets had a rare opportunity to create a gleam in the finicky eye of the Denver fan base even in the wake of the firing of John Fox and the “coaching search” that ensued. It was but a fleeting moment, however, and their opportunity quickly passed.”
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As the Denver Broncos wrapped up their regular season and prepared for the playoffs the under-reported story in Denver sports was that the Denver Nuggets were on a hot streak and were beginning to shoehorn their was into the Western Conference playoff conversation. The Nuggets won five straight between January 3rd and 14, including victories over Memphis and Sacramento, both potential playoff teams. The Blue and Yellow set the table for a post-Broncos attention grab but they blew it.
Once the Broncos took a dive to the Colts on Sunday, January 11th, the Nuggets had a rare opportunity to create a gleam in the finicky eye of the Denver fan base even in the wake of the firing of John Fox and the “coaching search” that ensued. It was but a fleeting moment, however, and their opportunity quickly passed.
Since beating the Dallas Mavericks’ backups at Pepsi Center on January 14th, the Nuggets have gone on a fabulous four-game slide that included an MLK day 43-point blowout at the hands of the Warriors. Opponents have outscored the Nuggets by roughly 70 points during their most recent losing streak. For about a two-week period it looked as though Denver might turn the corner. They were but a handful of games out of the 8th seed and were heating up. Now they’re crumbling again and the consensus of the fan base seems to be that they’re better off blowing the whole thing up that they are trying to climb back into contention.
Brian Shaw has gone from possible hero to zero in record time. Many Nuggets fans and commentators believe that Shaw lacks the tools to assemble and to coach a contending team. There’s muttering that the coach needs to be replaced once again and that the Nuggets need to move in a whole new direction. It’s amazing how quickly narratives can change. After their most recent win the Nuggets were 18-20 and knocking at the door of .500. A week later they are 18-24. They probably won’t be within two games of .500 again at any point this season and the notion of their winning 50 games is laughable.
Denver is a Broncos town to be sure. But it’s also a town that can show massive amounts of support for any of its four pro sports teams IF conditions are right. Denver fans flock to a winner but shy away from a any losing team that doesn’t play in Mile High Stadium.
A week ago the Nuggets were at the precipice of re-entering the conversation. Now they’re hardly a story at all. The Broncos and their new coaching hire will continue to dominate the headlines and the water cooler conversations and the Nuggets will only fade away. Attendance at games will continue to dwindle from one week to the next as the long NBA season drones on. Interest around Denver will be higher even in the Colorado Rockies. And that’s just sad.