Nuggets On The Nuggets

Nuggets On The Nuggets

The Nuggets missed the playoffs. Now what?
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For Spring Break 2018, I had the privilege to resort in Denver, Colorado for a week of snowboarding, relaxing, and most importantly, basketball watching. I attended the Nuggets' game against the Detroit Pistons with my younger brother and father, which is always a treat as they get exceptionally rowdy.

The game was stellar. Beyond the ridiculously cheap tickets (we got 3 tickets, 8 rows from the baseline, for less than 100 dollars. Highway robbery. Tim Howard was there too!) and getting high-fives from local hero Anthony Tolliver (went to Springfield, MO high school, Kickapoo) and Blake Griffin (BLAKE GRIFFIN), the Nuggets definitely play one of the most entertaining forms of basketball I have ever seen.

It all starts in the center with 6'10" Serbian big man Nikola Jokic, who runs around like a baby deer but throws passes like Peyton Manning. He is very much the modern-age center archetype on offense: a big dude that can shoot from all three levels, zip passes out of the post and in the pick and roll, and finish at the rim. These are skills that many point guards have yet to master, nonetheless a man with the size of Avengers' villain Thanos.

Alas, Jokic is not a man without his flaws. This video of Lakers' point guard Isaiah Thomas schooling Jokic has gone viral, highlighting Jokic's slow vertical agility and poor body angling. Thomas was able to dribble past him, douse Jokic with gas, set his ankles on fire, and score before Jokic knew what was happening (I may be exaggerating).

From my own observations, Jokic also seems to become exasperated with teammates when they fail to see a passing lane or look up too late to receive one of Jokic's no-look specials. It's like watching Albert Einstein attempt to teach relativity to a bunch of kindergarteners, then getting frustrated when poor Billy can't tell the difference between a lowercase and uppercase R.

There comes a point where a player's flaws outweigh his strengths, but this is not one of those cases. Jokic's net rating (+4.6, per NBA.com) is tops on the team, while also carrying the load in points (18.5 PPG, ranked first on the team), assists (6.1, first), and rebounds (10.7, first). Jokic is a slightly flawed player, but the severity and types of his shortcomings are not overly detrimental.

Denver won this contest against Detroit, an important game as they attempted to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, they fell just short in a loaded Western Conference (46-36 was their final record, which would've been enough to crack the postseason picture in any of the last three seasons). Now the loaded question: where does Denver go from here?

Denver, by virtue of missing the playoffs, has a lottery pick in this upcoming draft (number fourteen). Picking in a similar spot last year at thirteenth overall, Denver had the chance to pickup rookie phenom Donovan Mitchell, before electing to send that pick to Utah for Trey Lyles and the rights to Tyler Lydon. Does a similar gem exist in 2018, with Lonnie Walker, Khryi Thomas, and whoever slides from the top 10 likely being available?

The ideal running mate for Nikola Jokic is one that is already on their team: forward Paul Millsap. After missing over half the season, Millsap didn't have enough time to gel with his new team, and often looked out of place and under involved. Going forward, Millsap is the perfect glue guy that can do a little bit of everything, while taking much of the defensive pressure off of Jokic.

Jamal Murray and Gary Harris are the fire and ice in the backcourt, with each making large jumps in bigger roles this past season. Murray looked every bit of the lethal shooter he appeared leaving Kentucky, and simply looked more comfortable operating the point in his sophomore season. His perimeter defense and pick-and-roll relationship with Jokic will be big keys as he develops into Denver's number two option. Harris fits the bill as a dynamic two-guard, a constantly screening (important in this motion-heavy offense) guard that also makes some of the best cuts that I have ever seen. His defense is highly-regarded and he finished second on the team in scoring (17.5 PPG).

Maybe the biggest hole on this team is the three, where Wilson Chandler started off the year having a weird season, but ultimately corrected himself. He's a fine shooter (right about league average at 35.8% from three) and prides himself on his defense, but as he approaches 31, he is definitely the weakest link in the starting lineup.

There are other issues for the Nuggets' brass to address. They have a thin bench. Are Malik Beasley, Tyler Lydon, Trey Lyles, and Juancho Hernangomez legit prospects to build with in the future, or simply trade bait? What do they do about the disappearing act of NBA dinosaur Kenneth Faried? Should they resign inefficient but energetic sixth man Will Barton? Do they try to fill that three position with free agent Paul George before Jokic gets expensive?

These questions will be answered soon enough, but it's important to remember how youthful these players are. Jokic is 23. Harris is 23. Murray is 20. These Nuggets will continue to shine as they age and refine themselves. They will be playoff contenders again next year, and likely many years after. To Nuggets fans everywhere freaking out about this years' "failure": stay gold.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything
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They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.


Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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The Excitement Of The NBA Playoffs Without Lebron James

The NBA playoffs are among us and it is my favorite time of the year. The time for the NBA to shine is the playoffs, but this year's rating has seen a bit of decline.

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The NBA playoffs are a very exciting time for the typical NBA fan and I sure love nothing more than to kick back and watch the action. The excitement and the number of games on are unreal and they start one after another so every game can be watched without another one interfering with the other. The games have so much more than typical basketball and people are disappointed this year because Lebron James missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005. The last 14 years he has been dominating the NBA playoffs and this year was different so the ratings are plummeting.

The series are a best of 7 making it a long fun series of games with so much on the line. I have watched many of the games and highlights and have truly appreciated the greatness I am watching. The lower seeded teams have been doing well against the best teams and are giving them a run for the money. We have had a few fun blowout games that are interesting because you are seeing a team dominate the entire game and hit many great shots and make big plays. The good teams are still winning most of the games, but at least we have some close games that come down to the buzzer to make for great competition.

We then have young stars like Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons who have been giving us some amazing stat lines and leading their team to big first-round wins and both making huge highlights so far. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and James Harden have been the big stars having great games and contributing heavily to both their teams and the ratings to make the playoffs fun. Even without Lebron, these guys are still showing us how fun basketball is to watch and play.

The style of team basketball many of these guys are playing with is amazing to watch. I am all about teamwork and there is a new player doing something spectacular and having a standout game every night with the help of their team. The Los Angeles Clippers rallied for the biggest playoff comeback in NBA history by coming back from 31 down against the defending champions the Golden State Warriors. It is nice to see teams like the Clippers, Magic, and Pacers who do not have a standout star play great team basketball. These teams are losing most of their games, but they do not have the talent these other teams have. They are going out and playing well as a team every single night and working to make sure everyone is contributing on offense and defense to have a chance to win.

Damian Lillard even hit a buzzer beater to win the series over the Thunder the other night and it shows us how much of an impact one player can have on the whole game. The excitement of the upcoming free agency period is vastly hyped, but the current teams are so well set up for success that the next 2 rounds of the playoffs will be the ultimate tests for all teams to see who will play each other for the championship.

Everyone thinks the Warriors will once again host the NBA Larry O'Brien Trophy and be the top team in the league for the next year, but there are a few teams that have been quite impressive all season and have the momentum in their favor just as much as the defending champions. There will be plenty of big games to come and I am positive the players will put on a huge showing to make these playoffs memorable for all true NBA fans. Lebron is my favorite player of all time and I love watching him play especially in the finals for the title, but the ratings should still be high due to the great competitive game of basketball and the amazing moments we get to enjoy all throughout the playoffs. I encourage any basketball fan to tune in for these games and I promise you will not be disappointed with any of the games.

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