The Nuggets eked out a close win against the Pacers. The Nuggets have a much better point differential than the Pacers and have a huge home court edge. In short, this game shouldn’t have been close. So let’s break it down.
As always, flowchart courtesy of the amazing PopcornMachine.net
Karl teaches how not to handle foul trouble.
Kenneth Faried is the Nuggets best player. It’s not close either. At a WP48 of 0.238, Faried is over twice as productive as the average power forward. At 6.6 wins, he’s almost 50% more productive than the next closest Nugget (Andre Iguodala with 4.5) And yet he only played 12.2 minutes! Part of this was George Karl sitting him because of foul trouble in both quarters of the first half. He did play him a decent number of minutes in the third. Then he sat him the rest of the game. So, Karl’s strategy went like this – sit Faried in case I need him for later in a close game. Close game comes up and he leaves Faried seated! The heck George? I didn’t watch the game, so if Faried was injured or there was some other circumstance that lead to a lack of Faried, please let me know in the comments
Finally playing your front court?
Karl actually put in Anthony Randolph. Apparently three bad shots were enough to convince him to bench him the rest of the game (no explanation as to why the same standard doesn’t apply to Corey Brewer or Wilson Chandler) He also played Timofey Mozgov a decent number of minutes. Both of these moves were because both Chandler and JaVale McGee were out with injury.
Now, Mozgov has never been particularly stellar. There are a few things to consider. He’s still young (26), he’s been below average for his career BUT that’s been as a center. In fact, his career WP48 of 0.062 in Denver is higher than Corey Brewer’s career WP48 of 0.044. I would rather have a taller player that’s maybe showing signs of being productive at a tough position play instead of the gamut of unproductive guard forwards that Karl enjoys rolling out night after night. It’s just curious why Karl acts as if he has a shortage of centers and power forwards until his main ones go down with injury and oddly he then has minutes for Mozgov. Am I happy with Mozgov playing? Not hugely, but I’ll take him over Brewer and Chandler in a heartbeat, especially if it means Danilo Gallinari plays at SF.
Due to Andre Miller‘s foul trouble, Ty Lawson saw a large number of minutes. And he played alright. However, his shooting, which was amazing his first three seasons, is still missing in action. Another random question, what’s up with Andre Iguodala’s free throw shooting? He went 5-10 from the line tonight and is sitting close to 60% for the season (a career low!) This guy was once able to hit over 80% of his free throws, so that’s disconcerting.
As I mentioned Mozgov seems to be playing decent this season. I hear he’s on the trading block, so we’ll see what the Nuggets get for him. If he stays, it’ll be interesting to see if he plays more minutes.
Well, the rotations were interesting tonight. George remains as schizophrenic as ever. I’m happy with the win, but as with many close games, I’m upset by the fact that our coach minimized our chances for victory.