In Paul Millsap’s first season in town, Adam Mares sees clear contributions on both sides of the ball. He also believes the forward’s teammates are still adjusting to their new roles (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
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The 5-5 Denver Nuggets are currently about as good as their record would suggest, according to this week’s guest, Adam Mares, host of the Locked on Nuggets podcast and site manager for SB Nation’s Denver Stiffs. He argues that despite the team’s considerable continuity, many players are still adjusting to new roles this season. In addition, the Nuggets are still incorporating Paul Millsap into their game plan, particularly on the offensive end. Adam discusses this process, Denver’s many young guards and much more in this action-packed episode. He strikes gold throughout, but here are some examples (the exact time stamps slightly vary from user to user depending on the length of one’s customized ads):
7:28-8:23: “[Nikola] Jokic really quarterbacked the offense last year from the center position – he was a point-center. And that wasn’t just a cliché. He really was the facilitator on offense…Steve Kerr was in town yesterday with the Warriors, and he said that the Nuggets’ offense last season was like a pinwheel where Jokic was the center of that and everybody’s kind of operating and cutting and spacing around him. Well, this season, they haven’t really gotten to that yet – I think they’re moving in that direction. They’re playing through Paul Millsap a lot as I think you would expect – he’s a four-time All-Star – and guys are just kind of figuring out new roles around Millsap, Millsap’s learning how to play off of Jokic and Jokic off of Millsap. And so, right now, in particular, their half-court offense has been pretty bad. Not just a little bit of a step back, but I think a huge step back.” Continue reading
Despite recent turmoil in the organization, LeBron James seems poised to reach his sixth straight NBA Finals appearance, second in a row with the Cavaliers (Keith Allison/Flickr).
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Nearly two weeks ago, the best team in the Eastern Conference fired its head coach. Conrad Kaczmarek, former editor of SB Nation’s Fear the Sword, makes an appearance to discuss the state of those Cleveland Cavaliers. Although they still boast the conference’s best record and are showcasing electric offense under newly named lead man Tyronn Lue, minor weaknesses are discussed. Also, Conrad explores the instrumental play of Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson as well as LeBron James’ impact on personnel decisions.
5:55-7:00: “Even though [LeBron James] is a monster in transition, his teams are never high-pace teams… I think the tendency for a lot of his teams is for them to slow it down, play in the half court, and let LeBron do his thing, which works great a lot of the time… I think there’s a lot being talked about with Tyronn Lue trying to push the pace and have them play at a faster pace, but the numbers don’t really bear that out in the first six games that they’ve played. They’re pretty much playing at the same pace if not a little bit slower at times.”
11:25-12:20: “When Kevin Love is not hitting the wide open shots that they’re getting him, they have a tendency to lose confidence in him pretty quickly… They have a tendency of doing that too much and getting away from Kevin, then he struggles to get into a rhythm later. So I think it’s definitely a process still – this core has not been around together for very long – but I think that’s the next big step: that when Kevin hits a little bit of a shooting slump, they need to resist the urge to go away from him… They need to keep it in the flow, keep running the same stuff and just trust that these are really good players… and the shots are going to fall eventually.”