Holy productivity, Batman! The Denver Nuggets actually played to their potential. And they did so against a dangerous Memphis Grizzlies team, that came into the contest holding the best record in the NBA with eight straight wins.
However, even with Monday night’s win the Nuggets are still below .500. So the question is, how do the Nuggets keep winning?
1.Keep attacking the offensive glass
Denver currently leads the league in total rebounds per game, but more importantly they rank 1st in offensive rebounds per game while ranking 18th in offensive rebounds allowed. So while it would obviously be ideal for the Nuggets to rank above 15th in field goal percentage at 44%, it doesn’t matter quite as much when you’re essentially leading the league in second chances.
With a guy named “the Manimal” leading the league in offensive boards on the roster and a plethora of seven footers at their disposal, this whole rebounding thing should only continue trending moving forward.
2. Be selfish
People are mistakenly thinking that Denver isn’t being as aggressive on offense because they rank 12th in points per game, compared to their top three juggernaut of an offense last season. However, Denver actually ranks 2nd in field goal attempts per game, they just aren’t falling.
While depth on a basketball team is typically considered a good thing, it’s actually been the Nuggets Achilles heel so far this season. Because as odd as it might sound, no one wants to shoot the ball. And while shot distribution and ball rotation is rarely a bad thing, it is when you’re playing hot potato as a team that gives up the 7th most turnovers in the league.
Someone needs to shoot; Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson, and Andre Iguodala all present pretty solid options for 15 plus attempts per game.
3. Get to the line! And you know, make them.
Oddly enough, Denver leads the league in shots at the with over 34 attempts per game. However most of those are coming off offensive rebounds, not the aggression of their perimeter players.
The Nuggets only rank 19th in free throw attempts with 22.2 per game, compared to their 26.7 attempts that lead the league last season.On the rare occasion that they do get there, they’re only making 66% of them, the worst in the league.
Long story short, Denver shot 28 free throws Monday night, made 20 of them for a sub-par 71% and still won the game. Get to the line, and win.
You’re paying a guy who’s averaging 11.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game $10 million dollars to play 19 minutes a game. Great idea.
5. Lastly, stay the course
The Nuggets are a team of extremes right now, they essentially lead the league in one category only to be the worst in another.
For example, they are averaging 20 attempts from deep a game, the 12th most in the league, yet rank 25th in three point percentage at 30% a game. On the other hand, they rank 2nd in field goal percentage at 48% and rank 14th in total attempts. Freakishly bipolar numbers, right?
The only thing that’s going to cure that kind of fluctuation is time. It takes time for a team to find it’s rhythm and identity. Hopefully Monday night’s win was the Nuggets first step towards that.