Nov 082004
 
Authors: Andrew Woerpel

When you think of the game of basketball, you think of a bunch

of players who can take a round, orange-laced ball and shoot it

into a 10-foot high hoop; the way Dr. James Naismith intended it

for it to be.

Unfortunately, the Denver Nuggets don’t think of basketball in

the same way its inventor did. Following the 2003-2004 season, the

Nuggets should have had one goal: to find someone who could improve

their shooting percentage. The Nuggets ranked 28th in the NBA in

field goal percentage last year, shooting a dismal 37 percent. One

reason for their lackluster shooting would be they were without a

talented starting shooting guard. They needed someone to compliment

Carmelo Anthony, so he wasn’t taking so many bad shots.

Voshon Lenard, who by some analysts is considered a legitimate

backup guard, was the starter for the Nuggets last season. He

proved to be a very streaky shooter, getting hot sometimes, but

having the tendency to throw up a lot of bad shots. Lenard did win

the 3-point contest at the all-star game last year, but the Nuggets

still lacked shooters and scorers.

Once the season was over, the Nuggets expected to be a big

player in the free agent market, considering their amazing

turnaround of winning 43 games and making the playoffs for the

first time in nine years.

So, after some wining and dining of Kobe Bryant, who, in my

opinion, would have never considered Denver anyway due to his ties

with Eagle County, the Nuggets found themselves not really doing

much of anything when it came to signing a big name scorer in the

NBA.

They pursued Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who helped Argentina win

the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but he decided that San

Antonio was a good fit for him. Then they balked at signing Jon

Barry, Brent Barry, and Quentin Richardson who are all capable of

shooting and, by the way, were all very interested in joining the

Nuggets.

Instead, what they ended up with was all-star power forward

Kenyon Martin, who isn’t a bad catch at all, but it wasn’t what the

Nuggets needed. They already had two great big men in Marcus Camby

and Nene, with fan favorite Chris “The Birdman” Andersen backing

them up.

Fast forward to game one of this season and you’ll find that the

birdman has flown the coop, Nene is already hampered by a hamstring

injury and Lenard tore his Achilles tendon, ruining his season in

the process.

I’ll bet Kiki Vandeweghe is kicking himself now for not getting

someone who could score and shoot the ball during the

off-season.

So, what we have this season is a struggling Nuggets team who

definitely can’t shoot the ball, especially now that their biggest

three-point threat is gone, and a team that is trying to find a new

chemistry with the loss of their starting shooting guard and the

addition of Martin.

They’ve only played three games and have a record of 1-2, with

the most recent embarrassing loss coming from Utah when the Nuggets

only shot 39.7 percent to the Jazz’s 50.6 percent, losing

106-82.

As much as I hate to agree with Charles Barkley, he was right.

The Nuggets are the most over-hyped team in the NBA this year

simply because they didn’t go out and get what they needed in the

off-season. They may have brought in an all star, but they sure did

overlook what they really needed, someone who can shoot the damn

ball.s

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