Oklahoma City Thunder: Nuggets try a different system
George Karl’s experiment continues. He’s still saying you can win an NBA championship without a superstar or three.
Karl’s Denver Nuggets are 25-18, good for sixth in the Western Conference, but Denver has played a tough schedule. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Nuggets will check in at No. 4 or No. 5 when the playoffs start in April.
But Denver won’t be considered among the West favorites, certainly not in the company of the Thunder, Spurs or Clippers, despite the Nuggets’ overtime win over the Thunder on Sunday night.
Since the Nuggets trade of Carmelo Anthony 23 months ago, Denver has remained competitive with a deep and talented roster, but a roster void of all-stars. The Nuggets have gone out in the first round of the playoffs each of the last two years – to OKC in five games in 2011, though it was a competitive series, and to the Lakers in five games in 2012.
But hope floats with Karl.
“I thought we had a damn good year last year,” Karl told me the other day, when the Nuggets came through Oklahoma City. “The experiment is still in the process. We’re still in the stage of figuring out the pieces. But I like my team a lot.
“Trying to win with a lot of good players rather than having one or two great players, I think you can do it. I think you can do it in the NBA. There have been teams that have done it in the past. The Pistons did it in Detroit.”
Nine Nuggets are averaging at least eight points and 18 minutes a game. Their best player probably is backup point guard Andre Miller, and Karl agrees. If it’s not Miller, it’s probably second-year forward Kenneth Faried. Neither was with the Nuggets during the Denver-OKC playoff series in April 2011. But Denver also sports a franchise point guard in Ty Lawson and a U.S. Olympian in Andre Iguodala, Plus there’s leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, defensive whiz Corey Brewer and big men Javale McGee and Kosta Koufos.
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