Rocky Mountain High: 13 Reasons Why You Should Watch the Denver Nuggets



Travis Basciotta

While you were watching the Miami Heat pile up win after win in their chase to secure the longest winning streak of all time, the Denver Nuggets were quietly racking up wins of their own. Prior to Monday’s loss against the Hornets, Nuggest Head Coach George Karl and his squad had racked up 15 straight wins to surge to the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference – one game ahead of Chris Paul and the Clippers. And although many NBA fans had been aware of the explosive capabilities of the Nuggets, especially in the high altitude of the Pepsi Center, their impressive winning streak has put the league on notice. Those looking for high quality NBA entertainment outside of the usual star-studded suspects (looking at you LeBron) need to look no further than the Nuggets. Here are 13

reasons you should be watching.

1. Enough about the Heat: This isn’t taking anything away from Miami, which is clearly the best team in the NBA. But to be fair, the Heat are a known commodity. With a lineup headlined by the new “Big Three” (LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Mario Chalmers), Miami is expected to win on any and every given night. So while the Heat’s streak is historically impressive, it doesn’t come as a big surprise. The Nuggets, meanwhile, are a relatively unknown commodity who lack a proven, marketable star and instead rely on ball movement and up-tempo scoring to beat opponents. That particular style has been effective in the high altitude of Denver, but the Nuggets have shown that they can use it to get wins on the road as well, which should strike some fear into their Western

Conference foes.

2. Watch out, OKC: Denver beat the Thunder twice during their streak, including a 10-point win in Oklahoma City on March 19. Durant and Westbrook are both known for pushing the pace, so the fact that the Nuggets have been able to beat them at their own game should be concerning. If these two meet in the

Conference Finals, stay glued to your couch.

3. Manimal: What’s not to love about Kenneth Faried? The 6’8″ forward leads the Nuggets in rebounding at 9.5 per game and is good for at least two highlight reel dunks a night as well. What he lacks in height he makes up for in shear athleticism and hustle. Every championship team needs a guy like Manimal to provide the energy and enthusiasm necessary to win on a nightly basis.

4. George Karl: It just seems like the Nuggets enjoy playing for Karl, and that can make a huge difference when it comes to team chemistry. Even on nights where the shots aren’t falling, Karl has his team playing hard enough to win. He’s high on the list of candidates for Coach of

the Year.

5. Those uniforms: There’s something to be said about the aesthetics of great NBA jerseys. Just ask the Warriors.

6. The Mountain Time Zone: This team has provided some great late-night television for those of us on the east coast.

7. JaVale McGee: He’s a YouTube clip waiting to happen, and that’s not always a good thing for Nuggets fans. Unfortunately for those who compile the “Not Top Ten” over at SportsCenter, he’s losing playing time to …

8. Kosta Koufos: The Greek big man has been a solid fixture in the paint for Denver this season after spending a few years being traded around the league. He’s seemingly found a more permanent role with the Nuggets though, as GM Masai Ujiri locked him up to a three-year extension last January. His game surely isn’t pretty, but the Nuggets need efficiency from him rather than flash.

9. Ty Lawson’s quickness: Speaking of flash, how are opposing point guards expected to guard Ty Lawson? In those two games against the Thunder, the North Carolina alumni poured in 36 points, including a game-winning jumper in Denver with 0.2 seconds on the clock. At 25 years of age, Lawson is quickly emerging as one of the better young point guards in the NBA, and his speed and vision are an ideal fit in Denver’s run-and-gun offense.

10. The Professor: Conventional wisdom says Andre Miller is too old and too slow to be an effective NBA point guard. Conventional wisdom says Will Smith is a great actor. I say conventional wisdom is wrong on both accounts. As slow as Miller is, the game moves even slower for him, and time and time again he’s able to hit open teammates for easy buckets – both in the half-court and in transition.

11. The sweet and sour shooting stroke of Danilo Galinari: The 6’10” Italian forward is often considered to be one of the best shooters in the game, yet his stroke can be very streaky. He actually has the lowest field goal percentage of anyone on the team at 41.7 percent. However, Denver needs his scoring if they want to be a factor in the playoffs. Consider this: In wins, Galinari is averaging 17 points on 43 percent shooting, while in losses, those averages drop to 14.4 points on 37 percent shooting. If he finds some consistency in his shot, the Nuggets are the most explosive offense in the NBA.

12. Dunks, Dunks, Dunks: Everybody likes watching dunks, and the Nuggets have three of the top 10 most frequent dunkers in the NBA, with McGee, Iguodola and Manimal. Those three have combined for nearly 400 jams on the season, so chances are pretty good that you’re going to see some great plays above the rim if you tune into a Denver game.

13. What else is there to watch on TV? If you really want to watch the “Walking Dead,” just tune into the next Lakers game.

Contact Travis Basciotta at

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