Antonio McDyess and Danny Fortson are studs. To me, they are the two most consistent players on the team, by far. McDyess continues to improve his offensive moves and now averages in the top ten in the league with over 20 points a game. Danny has struggled on offense at times this year, but he's been asked to play a large part of the season at center with LaFrentz out, where he's usually 5-6 inches shorter than his counter-part on the other team. Where Danny has excelled this year is in rebounding, averaging just under 11 boards a game for 5th best in the league. The other three positions on the floor - forward and our guards, are a constant source of inconsistency this year. Nick has been up and down most of the season, but has shown that he can score when he puts his mind to it, as he did against the Clippers the other night, after McDyess fouled out. Chauncey will have a great game now and then, but then disappear for the next 5. The forward spot has belonged to several players, lately either Stith or Taylor, but neither have had much impact.
Nick Van Exel sure doesn't look like he's having much fun these days, and he doesn't seem to have his usual energy lately either. When the Nuggets had a homestand where they won 4 out of 5 games back in late February, Nick was outstanding and a major factor down the stretch in most of those victories. Then the Nuggets went on an East Coast road trip, lost 7 games in a row, and Nick seemed to go into a funk. Guys like McDyess (is he amazing this year or what?), Fortson, Alexander and even Keon Clark, continue to hustle game after game, no matter who they are playing and what the score is. It takes a whole team of guys doing that night after night to win in this league, and our All-Star starting point guard just doesn't look like he has his heart in it these days. What do you think, Nuggets fans? Nick becomes a free agent at the end of this year, and the trading deadline was last week. Will he stay? Will we trade him? Does he not like playing for D'Antoni?
McDyess was voted NBA Player of the Week honors March 1st after scoring a career high 46 points against the Grizzlies. He averaged well over a double-double in points/rebounds in 3 contests for the week. Congrats Antonio! McDyess has been THE most consistent player for the Nuggets this year as his moves in the post and his soft jumper/fader from the outside continue to improve.
Both B. Stith and Chauncey Billups went down with ankle injuries in the Sunday night (2/28) win over Vancouver. Both are listed day-to-day. I hope neither of the injuries are beyond the "tape-it-up and play" variety, because we need both of these guys to compete in our small lineup!
Rats! Just when things were really starting to look up, after back-to-back wins over the Lakers and the Jazz, Nuggets rookie sensation Raef LaFrentz injures his knee in the first quarter of the game in Dallas. Sound familiar, Nuggets fans? Eric Williams had nearly the same injury last year, after he was out of the gate with a hot start. The Nuggets didn't throw it all in though - they beat the Bucks in a buzzer beater the very next game!
YES! The Nuggets win two in a row in a young '99 season. Big deal you say? Consider this, after our 3rd win tonight against the Mighty Utah Jazz, making us 3-8 -- last year, we didn't reach 3 victories until the 41st game of the season! You may have already heard it, but I'll say it again - the Nuggets, with a new young nucleus of McDyess, Van Exel and LaFrentz, have had one of the toughest schedules in the NBA to start off the season. They are getting better at playing together, and if they keep their heads up and their energy level high - good things are going to come!
Deal with Philly discussed
From ESPN.go.com: Rumors are circulating that the Nuggets and 76ers may soon pull off a deal that could involve the Sixers sending forwards Tim Thomas and Scott Williams, who is currently out indefinitely with stress fractures in both legs, to Denver.
What Philadelphia wants in return is Nuggets guard Bryant Stith while the Nuggets are reportedly offering forward Eric Williams.
"Denver has called us, just like a lot of other teams have. We've talked. That's all I'll say," 76ers general manager Billy King told The Philadelphia Inquirer."
So long, LaPhonso Ellis, you'll be missed...
It pains me greatly to report that Nuggets Forward, LaPhonso Ellis, has signed with the Atlanta Hawks, rejoining old Nuggets teammate Dikembe Mutombo. The Hawks were only able to offer up $1.75 million for a one year deal. LaPhonso deserves alot better, but unfortunately most teams were out of cap room by the time they got to him. Knowing LaPhonso though, he'll have a monster year and sign for a much bigger deal next year.
What I don't understand is why the Nuggets couldn't have signed him on for that kind of money to play with Eric Williams at the small forward spot. The Nuggets have finally made some decent moves this year to get the talent level up again on this team, but I don't understand why we couldn't keep one of the all-time favorite Nuggets players here in Denver.
So long to an incredible person, an exciting player not afraid to show positive emotions on the court, who had the heart of a warrior.
Nuggets Free Agent News
It's been a long, long time, since I've felt compelled to write on this page. The ugly NBA strike is finally over and I'm actually getting excited about having basketball back again. It will be very interesting to be at those first couple of games in February to see the mood of the crowd, across the league.
I wanted to add a few bits of news here, since I've been getting lots of email from Nuggets fans lately, asking if I can confirm rumors.
Bobby Jackson and Dean Garrett are gone - part of a 3-way trade with Minnesota and Toronto to bring Chauncey Billups here.
Keon Clark and Johnny Taylor are coming here from Orlando.
Antonio McDyess chose to return to Denver! He turned down a more lucrative offer in Phoenix, putting friendship and a city he likes to call home ahead of the big money. He resigned with Denver for a 6 year, 67.5 million deal.
Nuggets resigned Cory Alexander to a 6 year, $13.5 million contract. Of all the minor deals that the Nuggets have swung recently - this one is the best. Without Cory last year, the Nuggets would have set the all-time futility record. Cory has a great attitude and brought a consistent game every time he suited up last year for us. He'll make an excellent back-up to Nick.
Eric Washington signed a two-year $1.1 million contract.
Signed Monty Williams, Loren Meyer, Temaine Fowlkes, Mark Randall, Kelly McCarty
Waived Priest Lauderdale. I know that Priest had a lot of big fans out there. I'm sorry to see him go, but I have a feeling he just wasn't willing to put out the 100% hustle required to make it in the NBA.
Nuggets Draft News
The Nuggets selected the following players in the NBA Draft:
|1st rd, 3rd pick||Raef LaFrentz|
|1st rd, 23rd pick||Tyronn Lue|
|2nd rd, 54th pick||Tremaine Fowlkes|
|2nd rd, 55th pick||Ryan Bowen|
Many, including myself thought that the Nugs would take Vince Carter or Paul Pierce at the 3rd pick. Rumors were flying around town that Issel was going to make a swap with Vancouver at the second pick and give them Paul Pierce for Michael Olowokandi. But when Kandi went unxepectedly first, Vancouver took Bibby, and the deal, if there ever was one, was off. So Issel took LaFrentz, who proved that he can score from more than just the post and is very quick at just a 1/4" under 7 feet tall. Then the Nuggets picked a little man out of Nebraska, whom my friend Dane Hansen had been pleading that they pick just minutes before. We watched Issel striding from his office under the concourse, all business, and finally come up to the podium. To our pleasant surprise, he told us there at McNichols that he would be picking Tyronn Lue with the 23rd pick.
Ah, but now things get even more interesting! Late in the night of the draft, the Nuggets dealt Tony Battie and Lue (23rd pick) for Nick Van Exel of the Los Angeles Lakers. Tony was a big bust in his first year in the NBA, even though I wish him success with the Lakers. Nick the Quick brings an All-Star point guard to the team, who can light it up at times, distribute, and bring more veteran savvy to the team, especially after proving he's not just a head case last year. He even came off the bench for the Laker's the second half of the season to not disrupt team chemistry - how many players are willing to do that these days! Personally, I think this was a great trade for the Nuggets.
Here's my projections for the Nuggets 1999 line-up, as things stand today:
|C||Raef LaFrentz||Keon Clark/Loren Meyer|
|PF||Antonio McDyess||Danny Fortson|
|SF||LaPhonso Ellis||Eric Williams|
|SG||Bryant Stith||Chauncey Billups|
|G||Nick Van Exel||Corey Alexander|
That's starting to look even better, except for the Center position. What do you think, Nuggets fans?
Return to NuggetsHoops Archives