The Brian Shaw era with the Nuggets got off to a pretty rough start.
The Nuggets, who won a franchise-best 57 games under George Karl last season, don’t resemble the same team that claimed the No. 3 seed. Shaw is trying to change the style and culture in Denver. It looked like it wasn’t working and the transition was been rocky.
The team was struggling and still showed signs of growing pains with Shaw. The coach had the blowup with Andre Miller that seemed to rattle the team. Miller was suspended and eventually traded to the Washington Wizards. Denver was losing games at Pepsi Center which seemed unheard of last season when the Nuggets only dropped three games all season.
But things seem to be changing with the Nuggets. The players took awhile to come around but now they are buying into Shaw and his ideas. The Nuggets have netted big wins over the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers lately. Earlier in the season that sounded like crazy talk.
The player that really has turned the corner is Kenneth Faried. The forward’s offense has been in question since the Nuggets drafted him in 2011 from Morehead State. He was never polished on the offensive end as he was much more of a hustle guy.
While Faried has not turned into Tim Duncan in the post, he has improved a lot. During the month of March Faried is averaging 21.5 points a game and 10.4 rebounds. Those numbers are a much higher than his season averages of 12 and eight.
Faried was the subject of trade rumors throughout the season and he could still be moved after the season as now his stock is higher than it ever has been. His game changed after the deadline and the Nuggets have been playing better.
The Nuggets won’t make the playoffs this season in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. But right now that is not the plan of attack. Karl got this team to the playoffs every season but only advanced out of the first round once. The Nuggets brass didn’t find that acceptable anymore.
The play this season is not about the present. The Nuggets are looking towards the future as a lot of key players are sitting on the bench in suits. Next season Shaw hopes to have Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee back on the floor. Both players are considered by Shaw and the front office as key players for the future.
This season is frustrating for a lot of fans. The crowds at Pepsi Center are used to playoff games but this year it won’t happen. A high draft pick may also be out of the question as the Knicks are playing better. Early in the season New York, whose pick is owned by the Nuggets, were one of the worst teams in the league but they have turned it around lately.
It is all about patience at the moment in Denver but Shaw’s Nuggets seem to be turning the corner.
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