Denver Nuggets: 3 Things to Calm the Negative Chatter

Denver Nuggets(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets(Photo by Icon Sportswire) /

Name the team that has superstar talent 1-15.

The Nuggets fanbase lurches from extreme to extreme.  It’s frustrating but it’s understandable.  We’ve all been through the George Karl first-round flameout trials, so it’s hard to believe in the success, even when it’s so incredibly apparent.

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We know that as soon as we believe they are going to pull the rug out from under us.  I’m here to tell you that this team is different.  Maybe not this season, they still have a lot of growing to do but soon.

Along those lines, we have to accept and even forgive the shortcomings of the men that make up our team.  Isaiah Thomas is the premier example.  Fans use his plus/minus stats (worst on the team since his return) to suit the narrative that Thomas hasn’t played well.  They conveniently ignore plus/minus (Thomas was the team’s best in Oakland) when it doesn’t suit.

Isaiah Thomas has not played well.  He looks slower, his handles are uncertain, his shot isn’t falling.  His size gets him labeled a defensive liability.  These things are all true but what is not true is that he is responsible for the Nuggets current struggles.  He’s played mostly off-the-ball, leaving Monte Morris to create off the dribble, a task that Morris has excelled at for most of the season but has struggled with of late.  Thomas isn’t sapping Morris’ minutes or his time on-ball.

The logic that the Nuggets woes correlate with Thomas’ return could also be used to associate Denver’s struggles with the loss of Trey Lyles.

Yeah.  The Trey Lyles that everyone wants to run out of town may be more important to the Nuggets than previously disclosed.  The thing is, though Trey’s shot isn’t falling like it did last year, he still has a defensive presence and is a rebounding demon.  This ignores that over the weeks leading to his injury, he was shooting lights-out and contributing greatly to the Nuggets pre All-Star success.

The latest and most absurd grumblings are regarding Jamal Murray’s play.  One online contributor went so far as to label Murray a “brick laying turnover machine”.  Murray can be inconsistent but he can also bail the Nuggets out of many situations, most recently with a near-demonic energy on the defensive end.  Like Lyles, his shot isn’t falling as we’d like but let’s not forget that Jamal is 21 and is ahead of the curve set by the Damian Lillards and Kyrie Irvings of the league (Murray has performed well above both players 21 year-old stats).

Jamal isn’t the problem, IT isn’t the problem, Lyles or Will Barton are not the problem.