The Denver Nuggets are venturing into mediocrity. Last night’s 105-89 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans made it five straight losses and their record stands at 14-14 for the season.
Head coach Brian Shaw was hired to change the team’s philosophy and create a defensive-minded strategy that is more fit to win in the playoffs. Time will tell if that will work out long term, but right now this team certainly looks nothing like it did in previous seasons. They are average at home and, for the second straight game, they scored fewer than 90 points. That was unheard of during the last couple seasons.
For his part, Shaw attributes some of their struggles to slow starts (quotes from the Denver Post):
“One again, 34 points (allowed) in the first quarter set us back. We dig a hole for ourselves and then we expend all the energy trying to dig ourselves out of the hole that we put ourselves in…
…We talk about staying together, pulling for each other. This is our team and we have to play with the guys that we have, regardless of who is out, regardless of the fact that it is a tough stretch for us, losing five in a row. “
…Will the decision to take a step back now in favor of a plan they believe will work out long term pay off? And if so, when will we start to see signs that the new model is “more sustainable” and suited for the playoffs? It is too early to say the plan won’t work, but right now the Nuggets, a team of great intrigue just one year ago, are going the wrong direction and disappearing from relevancy.