Logan and Brian discuss Joel Emibiid’s contract extension, the worst teams in the league this season, NBA lottery reform, the best rookie storylines going into the season, and the sleeping giant in the West, the Denver Nuggets.
Tag: denver nuggets
Logan is joined by Coray and Kyle to discuss the Nuggets in their fight for the 8th seed out West, remind the public about Chad Fords tumultuous draft history, what the Blazers are doing right post Nurkic trade, potential offseason moves for the Nuggets, and a few quick trivia questions for Coray. Logan and Co try to explain what happened at the end of the Vanderbilt game, pick sleepers and busts, and do a deep dive on the Ball family drama. Finally, Al makes a legendary cameo to drop some March Madness knowledge about his perfect bracket.
Logan is joined by Coray to discuss the Denver Nuggets season, why they have only one win at home, if there is a trade to be made later in the season, and the development of their young star, Emmanuel Mudiay. The pod closes with a discussion on who the favorite for MVP should be.
On this weeks episode of the PftK podcast, the guys are joined by Coray, resident Nuggets expert, to discuss Peyton Manning riding off into the sunset, the NBA upset of the century, the impact of Kevin Durant landing on the Warriors, and we attempt to do a deep dive into the Nuggets 2015-16 season & where the franchise goes from here. (Technical difficulties forced us to cut this episode short, but we will record another Nuggets-centric pod soon)
Andre Iguodala is a star in this league. He has all the athleticism in the world, has been one of the best wing defenders in the league for the better part of the last decade, and has consistently shown that he has the clutch gene. So then why is Andre having so much trouble fitting into the Warriors offense?
The Warriors and Iguodala are currently in year 2 of a four-year, $48 million deal, which isn’t a total abomination of a contract, but is up there for one of the heftiest in the league. Andre clearly never felt comfortable in Denver (he was the apparent leak to Mark Jackson during the Warriors-Nuggets first round matchup in 2013), and specifically sought out the Warriors in free agency, even though, at the time, the Warriors had virtually no cap room. Through a clever move, in which they sent a few first round picks, and the rotting contracts of Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush, the Warriors were able to free up enough space to acquire Iguodala in a three team trade. At the time, the move was universally lauded, both fans and GM’s league-wide were impressed by the power the Warriors were commanding in free agency. Iguodala’s Warriors tenure seemed to start off great, he would slide into the small forward role, even after Harrison Barnes had an impressive playoff run, but pushing Barnes to the bench would add much needed scoring to a thin reserve unit. However, no amount of tricky game winners could mask how awfully the pieces were fitting together.
Things seem to start and end at the free throw line for Andre. He has Andris Biedrins syndrome. Not a fatal case, like the one that took Beans’ career, but a severe enough case that it affects how Iguodala plays on offense, especially when he’s driving to the rim. Iguodala is one of the worst free throw shooting guards in the league today. His FT percentage has rapidly fallen since his last few years in Philly. He hasn’t shot over 70% since 2010, with last year’s 65% the second worse mark of his career, only behind his single year in Denver, when he shot 57%. These are alarming numbers, and he clearly knows it. He is shy to take contact, because he knows he misses free throws at a regular clip. Currently, his percentage sits at 43%, which is bound to go up, but it is eye raising nonetheless.
One area that Iguodala stays successful is on defense and in transition. While I still believe his defense is overrated, even though he made All NBA First Team Defense last year, he got there more on reputation than actual production. The NBA has this issue where it takes voters a while to catch up to reality, the current perception is that he’s been this elite defender for such a long time, and he hadn’t made a First Team Defense squad before, so he better get that award before his defense really falls off. His will always have his length and athleticism, and that helps the Warriors team defense immensely, but at what point do we have to start looking at him as a one-way type player in the vain of Tony Allen, Avery Bradley, and Jimmy Butler. While Dre is probably the best offensive player of that bunch, he is quickly losing ground to Butler, whose career is going in quite the opposite direction of Iguodala’s. Dre is often the beneficiary of Curry’s steals and gets to throw down a decent amount of transition dunks thanks to the Warriors active hands.
Currently, 40% of Andre’s shots are 3’s, of which he’s shooting 26% on. That is unnerving. He doesn’t want to go to the free throw line, and camps out beyond the arc way too much. Almost 45% of his 3’s are from the corner, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s the shortest 3 on the court, but it points to a lack of movement on his part. If he was a dead eye shooter on catch and shoot attempts, there would be no issue here, and while it seems like he always somehow comes up with a clutch bucket when the Warriors need one, his percentages show that he is simply a poor shooter who puts up too many bricks.
Iguodala hasn’t yet totally adjusted to his lesser offensive role. Throughout his career in Philadelphia, and even the year he was in Denver, he was viewed as the number one scoring threat, even if he didn’t lead team in shots taken. In Golden State, he’s maybe the fourth best offensive option Kerr has in his arsenal. I’m not sure if his inability to be efficient with shooting, or that he needs to take a lot of shots to be effective, but Kerr is trying anything he can to get Iguodala going. Giving him both a captain’s role, and a bench spot looks conflicting. Sending Iguodala to the pine to start games has immensely helped Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, but what of Andre? He is already on pace for his worst offensive season, posting career lows across the board, so Kerr must find a way to keep him involved in the offense.
The most infuriating thing about watching Andre’s game is that he is so clearly the most athletic player on the floor in almost any situation, yet he is so tentative to try to finish tough layups in the paint. He becomes unselfish to a fault when he slices through defenses. It’s not often you hear about NBA players passing too much, as they often want to better their own stats, but Andre can’t help but stop and plant himself in the paint, throwing up pump fakes that no big man bites on, and then panics and dishes either to a cutter or someone hanging out on the wing, not often resulting is an assist as he is only averaging 2.7 assists per game in 10 contests so far.
He can be totally frustrating because it’s so easy to see his explosiveness and he uses it to get in the air, but then makes decisions too late, constantly going for the highlight pass. Derrick Rose has begun doing this too, but with much more success, which is odd because both of them have excellent court vision, but Rose is more able to anticipate what defenses will do, and slip a pass right through their fingertips, while Iguodala looks more for an unnecessary behind the back pass, or a look off in the paint, which often gets stolen. Right now, his Usage Percentage sits at a career low 12.5%, even lower than his rookie year. So much of the reserve unit offense goes through Livingston that Iguodala looks like the odd man out.
Everyone that he’s ever played with says he’s an awesome teammate, and he’s always going to bat for his guys to get paid, he was lobbying for the Warriors to keep and pay Klay all summer, but it gets annoying to an extent and at some point he needs to focus more on his play. He is very active on Twitter, but in the most cryptic way, often posting Tweets that are vague but generally aimed at the Warriors front office to pony up some cash. He needs to set the iPhone down and put up a few more corner three’s because that’s all he’s really good for on offense now.
Worst part of it all:, his age and contract situation. Iguodala turns 31 in January and has 2+ more years left on his deal in a pretty much untradable contract. He has slowly but surely been losing his shooting touch since his last days in Philly, and although he is a great veteran leader, he needs to stay involved in the offense by taking less jumpers and forcing the defense to collapse on his drives. He becomes much too plodding and predictable when he gets into the paint, some floaters and scoop shots would be a nice addition to his post game. He will almost always have the athleticism advantage in any given matchup, so why not use it?
The Warriors have younger options in Green and Barnes, and will have to make a tough decision soon regarding who stays and who goes. Most likely the Warriors will attempt to re-sign Green and let Barnes go in a trade or restricted free agency, but the Barnes 2014 resurgence looks to be in full effect, making this decision all the more difficult. It looks like the Warriors may be stuck with Dre until the final year of his deal, where he may be tradable at the deadline, but if his defense falls off by then I don’t see him having much value. What was seen as a brilliant move at the time has turned into a major headache for both fans and the front office.
A month after free agency opened up, Brandon Jennings finally found a new home: The Detroit Pistons. In a deal that will send point guard Brandon Knight to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Pistons have completed their monster offseason overhaul and look poised to claim a top 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Bringing in Jennings could be beneficial to both parties, Detroit wanted to make the jump to relevance now, and Jennings clearly needed a change of scenery. Though B.J. doesn’t come without baggage.
Jennings has had quite the tumultuous career thus far, not even including his time he spent abroad before declaring for the draft. In 2011-12, he posted a 19-5.5-3.5, the best numbers of his career. He shot .418 from the field, a career best and .332 from beyond the arc that year, not great but acceptable. If he can simply match these numbers, with this new cast around him, the Pistons could be a potential matchup nightmare for the world champion Heat. The Heat have trouble against elite point guards and teams with a good interior presence. The Pistons have a gluttony of good big men now (Drummond, Monroe, and Smith), and now have Jennings to abuse Mario Chalmers and whoever else the Heat try to throw at the quick guard.
6. Chesapeake Energy Arena- Oklahoma City Thunder- Capacity: 18,203
The Thunder have built a college-like atmosphere. After hosting the Hornets for parts of two seasons, the SuperSonics ownership knew there was a strong contingent of fans dying to scream their lungs out 41 nights a year. In 2006 the Miami Heat cultivated the idea of the fans all wearing the same color t-shirts as a sign of unity, then the Warriors made it fashionable in 2007 and now the Thunder are perfecting it. Their fans are rabid and they consistently sell out the building. Now that they finally have a real contender to cheer for, the home games in OKC are as rowdy as they’ve ever been. It’s always great to see these smaller market teams so strongly embraced by their home city. OKC wanted a team and got one, now they are showing why they deserved one all along. The true test will be ten years down the road when Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka are gone/washed up, how willing the fans are to scream their heads off for a mediocre product.
Best Moment:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3w7Q34gyQ4&w=420&h=315]