Nuggets

2017 Draft Profile: Justin Patton
Take a look at 2017 NBA Draft prospect Justin Patton. [...]
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Nuggets Host Pre-Draft Workout on June 5
The Denver Nuggets will hold a pre-draft workout at 9:00 am on Monday, June 5th at the UCHealth Practice Court at Pepsi Center. [...]
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Cavaliers found a blueprint to beat Warriors last year. But they can’t turn back to it now.
OAKLAND, Calif. – As the Cleveland Cavaliers engineered their remarkable comeback from trailing 3-1 against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals a year ago, they created a clear blueprint for their success. Cleveland took every opportunity it could to slow the games down and make them as physical as possible for Golden State, as the Cavaliers hoped they could keep each game close into its final minutes and then let LeBron James and Kyrie Irving – two of the NBA’s best isolation scorers – try to take over and carry them to victories. It was a formula that proved successful, and allowed Cleveland to climb back from that deficit – including winning twice here at Oracle Arena – to stun Golden State and claim the city’s first championship in over a half-century. But as the Cavaliers woke up Friday morning and tried to process what happened in the 113-91 beatdown they suffered at the hands of the Warriors in Game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals Thursday night, they found themselves in a difficult position: The one strategy they know has worked against Golden State in the past is also one Cleveland is unable to go to again. “We made a lot of mistakes,” LeBron James said after Thursday’s loss. “There’s nothing [that] really needs to be said. “We know we’re capable of playing a lot better. We didn’t play as well as we know we’re capable of, so we look forward to the next one.” There’s little doubt Cleveland can play better than it did in Game 1. The Cavaliers committed 20 turnovers – James himself had eight of them – and, despite the Warriors playing tremendous defense, missed their fair share of open looks throughout the game. But with the roster the Cavaliers have put together over the last year, they don’t look like a team capable of winning games by grinding their opponent into submission, like they had so much success doing as last year’s Finals went on. Instead, they now feel like a group equipped to try to take down the Warriors in a shootout, rather than knock them out in a slugfest. And, as Game 1 showed, trying to take down Golden State in a shootout is a daunting task against a team with as much firepower as the Warriors possess. “They’re tough at home,” Cavaliers Coach Tyronn Lue. “We know that. They probably lost eight games over the course of three seasons. So we know coming into this building they’re going to play – it’s going to be a tough game for us. “But just getting a chance to see how they play, the style of play, how fast they play, you can’t really simulate that in practices. You got to really get out here and get a chance to do it firsthand. “When we experience that, we’re able to adjust, we’re a lot better.” That certainly is what the Cavaliers are going to have to hope is the case after the drubbing they received Thursday. Cleveland looked completely out of sorts defensively – reminding the world that they were the second-worst defensive team in basketball after the all-star break with a series of gaffes that would’ve stood out in a junior varsity game, let alone Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Ezra Shaw, The Associated PressGolden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) dunks in front of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the first half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 1, 2017. Twice the Cavaliers allowed Kevin Durant to dribble down the middle of the court uncontested for dunks because they were paying too much attention to shooters at the 3-point line. Then, when Cleveland reacted to a Durant drive later in the game, he kicked out to Stephen Curry for a wide-open 3-pointer – one that he calmly buried. It underscores the difficulty of the proposition facing Cleveland now. The Cavaliers have to find a way to slow down this Warriors team, but has few weapons to actually do it. Irving and Kevin Love are both minuses defensively, and can be exploited at will. It was no coincidence that a concussion suffered by Love, relegating him to a lesser role when he returned, allowed Cleveland to build a much stronger defense as the series progressed. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s bench is filled with pieces like Deron Williams, Kyle Korver and Channing Frye – all talented players capable of knocking down several 3-pointers, but who also are, to varying degrees, liabilities at the defensive end. That will make it difficult for the Cavaliers to try to turn these games into the kind of physical battles they likely need them to be to make this series competitive – or, even more simply, to even find a way to routinely guard the Warriors, who seemed to be able to overwhelm the Cavaliers’ porous defense almost no matter what combination of players was on the court in Game 1. If the Cavaliers want any chance [...]
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2017 Player Profile: John Collins
Class: SophomoreHt: 6-foot-10Wt: 225 pounds [...]
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Olympics reportedly to add 3-on-3 basketball to 2020 program
Olympics organizers are eager to get the ball rolling, or rather bouncing, as they look toward the 2020 program in Tokyo. According to the Associated Press, the International Olympic Committee is all but certain it will add 3-on-3 basketball to its ever-changing list of events. “It would certainly be a perfect fit,” Patrick Baumann, the secretary general of world basketball’s governing body, told the news service on Friday. Baumann points to the addition of skateboarding and sport climbing to the 2020 Olympics, as key factors in ushering in the additional basketball competition, which he said appeals to a demographic Olympic organizers are openly courting – the young and urban. “The best urban team sport is 3-on-3 street basketball,” Baumann continued, pointing specifically to the popular competitions held in Harlem, New York’s Rucker Park street court. The International Olympic Committee hasn’t publicly commented on which events it plans to add to the 2020 program (or which events it might drop to keep the events list at no more than 310), but it has been vocal about wanting to appeal to younger audiences more. The 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires will even feature a break-dancing competition, which it dubbed as one of the program’s “urban sports with a significant youth appeal.” It’s unclear exactly who would compose the 3-on-3 teams, however, it’s likely the competition wouldn’t feature just NBA stars. Not only might they be busy in the traditional team competition, but the traditional game and the 3-on-3 version require different sets of skills. “It’s really a 10-minute sprint, no coach, so you need to take the right decisions,” Baumann told the AP about the 3-on-3 competition. This would mean an addition of around 96 male and female athletes to the 2020 Games that the IOC has ideally capped to include no more than 10,500 athletes, although the organization leaves some wiggle room if the host city objects. (More than 11,000 athletes competed in Rio de Janeiro, for example.) Related ArticlesJune 2, 2017 Cavaliers found a blueprint to beat Warriors last year. But they can’t turn back to it now. June 2, 2017 Kevin Durant makes his mark in Game 1 of NBA Finals for Warriors June 1, 2017 Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry power Warriors past Cavs in Game 1 June 1, 2017 Kyrie Irving announced as NBA 2K18 cover athlete June 1, 2017 Broncos’ Brandon Marshall agrees with LeBron James on racism in U.S. FIBA, world basketball’s governing body, is acutely aware of that loose limitation as it was the reason the 3-on-3 event was not approved ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Baumann said last year, however, that he’s not against negotiating on the numbers to make sure the event gets approval this time around. “We’ve said we’re happy to make a compromise in the sense that we’re happy to talk about our number in 5-on-5 if that helps bring 3-on-3 as long as we keep a solid and strong 5-on-5 competition,” he told USA Today in August. The IOC is expected to make its final decisions about the 2020 program next Friday, almost a month ahead of its original schedule. “An early decision is clearly beneficial to all the parties involved,” the IOC said Friday (via the AP). [...]
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2017 Draft Profile: OG Anunoby
Take a look at 2017 NBA Draft prospect OG Anunoby. [...]
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2017 Draft Profile: Ike Anigbogu
Take a look at 2017 NBA Draft prospect Ike Anigbogu. [...]
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Finals pick up where they left off with Cavs-Warriors III
OAKLAND, Calif. — After a summer highlighted by Kevin Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City for the star-laden Golden State Warriors, a six-month regular season and three rounds of playoffs, the NBA Finals are right back where they ended last June. Not that anyone expected any different. Take III of the NBA Finals trilogy between Golden State and the Cleveland Cavaliers gives Stephen Curry and Draymond Green a chance to avenge last year’s Warriors collapse and LeBron James the opportunity to add a fourth title in his chase of Michael Jordan’s six. Perhaps most noteworthy, it gives Durant the chance at a first championship and validation for his decision to leave the Thunder and join the league’s latest super team. “I can’t go out there and do everything on my own or I can’t go out there and just let my teammates do all the work for me,” Durant said Wednesday, a day before the series opener. “I got to do my part and we all got to make it come together as a group.” This matchup has seemed ordained since James walked off the court in Oakland last June, having delivered his native northeast Ohio its first major team championship since 1964. James had won two titles as part of another “super team” in Miami but last year’s crown meant even more to his legacy. “I’m not in the ‘prove people wrong, silence critics’ department no more,” James said. “I got a promotion when I got to the 30s. At the end of the day, I know the way I’m built. My only motivation is to be able to compete for a championship every single year.” The Warriors have been right there the past two years, winning the franchise’s first title in 40 years in 2015 and then blowing a 3-1 lead last year to put a sour ending on a record-breaking 73-win season. That series turned when Green was suspended for Game 5 and James and Kyrie Irving took over from there. “Any time someone beats you, you’d love to play them,” Green said. “But at the end of the day winning a championship is winning a championship. You don’t care who you’ve got to take down, you just want to take whoever that is down.” Marcio Jose Sanchez, The Associated PressCleveland Cavaliers’ Deron Williams, right, follows through on a shot as teammate LeBron James watches during an NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. Here are some other things to watch in Part III: FINALS REMATCH While the Cavs and Warriors have played in the Finals the past two years, Durant and James met before that in different uniforms. James won his first title in 2012 with Miami in a five-game series over Durant and the Thunder. Durant played well, averaging 30.6 points and shooting 55 percent but James came out on top. “I know I’ve grown as a player just through experience from the last five years, but if I don’t go out there and execute, none of that matters,” Durant said. BROWN CONNECTION James’ first trip to the Finals came 10 years ago when the Cavs were swept by San Antonio. His coach that year was Mike Brown, who has served as acting coach for the Warriors while Steve Kerr is out following complications from back surgery. Brown had two stints as coach in Cleveland, leading the team to the playoffs five straight times from 2006-10 before returning for a one-year stint in 2013-14 when the Cavs won 33 games. “It feels a little surreal,” Brown said. “I’m sure come tip-off tomorrow, when I’m looking at those guys in that uniform, it will feel even more that way, but right now just kind of taking everything in stride.” UNDERDOG CAVS According to the odds makers in Las Vegas and the number crunchers at analytical sites, the Warriors are the clear favorites to win the series after sweeping their way through the playoffs with a record-setting margin of victory of 16.3 points per game. James has called Golden State a “juggernaut” but the Warriors aren’t buying all that talk. “We’ve had a great season to this point, a great playoff run. And hopefully we keep it going, but we fully respect and are aware that this team that we’re playing, they’re the champions and we’re not,” Kerr said. KLAY’S SHOT One of the few things that hasn’t gone right for Golden State this postseason has been Klay Thompson’s shooting. He has hit just 38 percent of his shots as his normally reliable jumper has failed him. “I’ve had a week off,” Thompson said. “So I feel great. Can’t get caught up in your shot falling or not.” Thompson has been stellar on the defensive end even when his shot has been off and will likely be counted on at times to slow down Irving, who scored 98 points in the final three games last year, including the series-clinching 3-pointer. BY THE N [...]
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Steve Kerr mulls return but wonders if it will be “a distraction” for the Warriors
Steve Kerr has not coached the Golden State Warriors since Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers as he seeks a remedy for the painful after effects of the back surgery he had two years ago. The Warriors haven’t missed a beat with assistant coach Mike Brown running the show, however, becoming the first team to ever start the playoffs with 12 straight victories. But now, with Game 1 of their NBA Finals rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers looming Thursday night, Kerr seems ready to return, with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reporting that “there’s a chance he will coach at some point” during the series, possibly soon. Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); “He’s talked about possibly coaching Game 1 … and I even tried to tell him, ‘Steve, you should do it … and if you don’t feel like you’re okay, halfway through the game, just go back in the back,’ ” Brown told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon on Wednesday. But with the Warriors on such a torrid streak, would that be for the best? Even Kerr seems a little wary. “I think just, it’s the Finals, there’s going to be a spotlight, is it a distraction? Is it another story line? Do we need to deal with all that?” he told Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News earlier this week. “I don’t know. Ultimately I don’t think I can worry about that. I’ve got to play it by ear — if I’m feeling good I should coach and if I’m not feeling up to it, then I shouldn’t. And it’s that simple. … Ezra Shaw, Getty ImagesInterim head coach Mike Brown speaks to head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors during a practice for the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 31, 2017 in Oakland, Calif. Related ArticlesMay 31, 2017 Kosmider: Now on the verge of a dynasty, Warriors’ rise offers blueprint for teams stuck in NBA’s middle ground May 30, 2017 The Warriors look unstoppable, but Andre Iguodala’s health could be their undoing May 29, 2017 JaVale McGee perfect fit on Golden State Warriors May 28, 2017 LeBron James undaunted by beastly Golden State Warriors May 27, 2017 Underdog Cavaliers insist they have plenty of bite for NBA Finals “We’re doing fine without me,” he continued. “Honestly I don’t think it’ll matter too much to the team. I think the team will be fine no matter what we do.” Brown, for one, doesn’t think Kerr’s possible return will affect the team negatively at all. “We have a veteran team. I don’t think it will jolt our guys at all. I know it wouldn’t jolt me,” Brown said, per ESPN. “You know, I understand that that’s my job. But Steve is so conscientious about the players — and you know the story line and all these other things – that he wants to make sure that he feels good enough to come back and do it on a full-time basis and not rock the boat with anyone or not cause a distraction from our team. And I respect that. I’m okay with it however it happens.” Kerr, who said Monday that his status is “up in the air,” led the Warriors in practice this week for the first time since he took a leave of absence to see a back specialist at Duke, where he underwent a procedure to repair a spinal fluid leak. He told Kawakami that it’s all a measure of how much pain he can tolerate while on the bench, and that things have “gotten a little better” in that department of late. We’ll find out shortly before Game 1 tips off if that’s good enough. [...]
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2017 Draft Profile: Frank Ntilikina
Read up on 2017 NBA Draft prospect Frank Ntilikina. [...]
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2017 Draft Profile: Luke Kennard
Take a look at 2017 NBA Draft prospect Luke Kennard. [...]
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JaVale McGee perfect fit on Golden State Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. — JaVale McGee practices 3-pointers from all around the arch, just in case. He sits with assistant coach Jarron Collins and a laptop to study film, long after practice and his shooting workouts are complete. The 7-footer’s rugged professional path has landed him at seemingly the perfect stop: in the Bay Area with the NBA’s best. Just don’t call him a journeyman. “I’ve never considered myself a journeyman in the first place,” McGee said after a practice this weekend. “Whatever y’all want to call me y’all can call me. The number of teams I’ve been on was in like one year. I’ve been with three teams in two years.” Yet McGee must not look far to find someone else who has learned to thrive as a well-traveled NBA role player. Just a quick glance a couple of lockers down to where Shaun Livingston dresses at Oracle Arena, defying the odds yet again this season as a regular reserve contributing to another Warriors championship chase, is all it takes. Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); McGee has never made it this far, an NBA Finals first-timer when Golden State hosts defending champion Cleveland in Game 1 on Thursday night. Livingston never should have made it this far, and here he is back to the final round seeking his second title in three seasons — and 10 years after a devastating injury that could have sidelined him for good. Doctors thought they might have to amputate his left leg. Fourteen teams between them, over 21 combined seasons. Each has found a great groove in Golden State’s rotation, called upon to take pressure off the big stars while maintaining the highest level. “We just kind of follow suit, but it’s up to everybody to come in and lock in on the details. It’s the playoffs,” Livingston said. “Obviously the stars help, they get all the headlines deservedly so, but the small things, the details, that’s what we lock in at and that’s how we win ballgames.” McGee has discovered the ideal place to shine as an alley-oop specialist in a pass-happy offense, and even Stephen Curry admits it’s so easy to target the sure-handed big man perhaps the Warriors do so too often at times. “We almost get in trouble because we try to do it too much even if it’s not there, because he has the ability to catch it really anywhere around the rim, around the backboard,” Curry acknowledged. “You kind of see it developing when he gets a free lane to the rim, and as a passer in that situation literally feel the most confidence that if I just get it anywhere up there, he’ll go get it, and usually he does.” With great efficiency, too. In Game 3 against the Spurs, McGee scored a postseason-best 16 points, all in the first half to get Golden State going as Zaza Pachulia sat out with a bruised heel. He made all seven of his shots in Game 2 of a first-round win against Portland, shooting 18 for 23 in all in the four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers. “That’s my whole thing, I just try to be efficient out there,” McGee said. “I don’t try to do too much. I just try to do what’s necessary for me in the minutes that I’m out there.” Livingston has unselfishly dealt with a diminished role, a rotation change late in the season that altered when he’s used, and then a hand injury in the first round of the playoffs. Related ArticlesMay 30, 2017 The Warriors look unstoppable, but Andre Iguodala’s health could be their undoing May 28, 2017 LeBron James undaunted by beastly Golden State Warriors May 27, 2017 Underdog Cavaliers insist they have plenty of bite for NBA Finals May 26, 2017 The NBA Finals everyone predicted is here. But is inevitable dominance good for the league? May 26, 2017 The “threematch”: It’s Cavs-Warriors in the NBA Finals, again In February 2007 with the Clippers, Livingston tore three major ligaments in his knee — the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral as well as his lateral meniscus, then required extensive surgery. Though the injury could have ended his career at age 21, he still believed he would play again. First he had to walk again. “Shaun, that story isn’t really the same now. He’s become a staple of this franchise, he’s helped us win a title, he’s done some great things here,” Draymond Green said. “For JaVale, it’s s [...]
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Danilo Gallinari will decline option and become unrestricted free agent, report says
Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari will opt out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent, according to a report. The news, reported Tuesday by Yahoo Sports, has been expected by the Nuggets for some time. General manager Tim Connelly said at season’s end that re-signing Gallinari would be a priority for the Nuggets in the offseason, adding “the market will dictate a ton of that.”Doug Pensinger, Getty ImagesDanilo Gallinari #8 of the Denver Nuggets pauses during a break in the action against the Sacramento Kings at Pepsi Center on Feb. 23, 2016 in Denver. Gallinari, who will be 29 when next season begins, will be opting out of the $16.1 million he would be owed in the final year of his deal to pursue what could be the last major contract of his career. Gallinari will be one of the top forwards in free agency this summer, along with Gordon Hayward of the Jazz, Blake Griffin of the Clippers and Paul Millsap of the Hawks. Gallinari is coming off a strong season in which he averaged 18.2 points (the second-highest output in his eight seasons) while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from 3-point range. In his end-of-season interview with the media, Gallinari spoke of his fondness for the city he has called home since being traded from Knicks in 2011. Related ArticlesMay 23, 2017 Lunch Special: What are the chances the Nuggets re-sign Danilo Gallinari? “As you guys know, it’s tough for me to leave Denver,” Gallinari said. “It’s my city. I love the city. I have a house here. After my career is over, Denver is going to be my city. It’s very tough for me to leave, so we’ll see.” Gallinari could be in line for $20 million per year or more. One comparable comparison: Forward Ryan Anderson signed a four-year, $80 million contract with Houston last year at the age of 28, coming off a season in which he averaged 17 points and shot 36.6 percent from 3-point range. It’s unclear what the exact market for Gallinari would be with the NBA salary cap expected to rise again, but Connelly said at season’s end the Nuggets would like to have Gallinari back. “Certainly,” Connelly said April 13, “Gallo and the organization have made no secret about how much they enjoy each other.” [...]
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