Tag: Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets

Kenneth Faried focused on defense this season


Last season Kenneth Faried came in on a high — he had been the full Manimal for Team USA at the World Cup, and he rode that to a four-year, $50 million extension. But while Coach K liked and knew how to use Faried, Brian Shaw was a different story. Shaw asked Faried to do things on offense he couldn’t do well, kept changing his role, and the coach was understandably frustrated with Faried’s defense, so he jerked his minutes around. With that Faried’s trademark energy came and went.

Faried looked better under interim coach Melvin Hunt (after Shaw was let go), averaging 15.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and shooting 52.5 percent in the final 19 games of the season. Faried showed off an improved post-up game and that fueled his famous energy on the glass and around the court. New Nuggets coach Mike Malone needs to harness that Faried, the one Coach K found (although that USA team was loaded with other players that were a higher priority for defenses, giving Faried space to operate). If the Nuggets are going to get out and run more (as Malone has said) then Faried should thrive, he can finish the break or sprint to the post and be effective either way.

Faried said his focus this season is on the other end of the ball. From Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post.

“My defense, I’ve focused on that,” Faried said in a phone interview from Johannesburg, where he played in NBA Africa Game 2015 on Saturday. “I’ve been watching film on guys that I consider my toughest matchups, and I’ve been able to dissect them so that when the season comes around I’m able to guard those players — and become the player I want to be, and that’s hopefully defensive player of the year one day and first-team all-defense.”


Faried has the physical tools to be a solid defender, but the manic energy that served him well on the other end of the court was both missing and just misguided on defense. It improved last season, and if Faried can continue to turn that around he becomes a much more valuable player.

And a more valuable trade asset.

Faried was shopped around all summer, and you can be sure Denver isn’t done seeing if there is a suitor for him. The Nuggets want a locker room culture change and moving Ty Lawson was just step one, Faried could be on the move as well. He makes a lot of money and is an undersized four — one who has started to show he can be more than an energy glue guy — and the Nuggets think there will be a market for him.

In the past, when Faried has been on the trade block his play has noticeably dipped — he’s not been able to compartmentalize his life and keep the off-the-court stuff from impacting his play on it. Maybe he has matured and gotten used to that side of the NBA business.

Malone got the most out of DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento, he may be able to do the same for Faried. If so his trade value goes up — as will the difficulty of the decision for the Nuggets because maybe he will fit with their future.

Especially if his defense improves.

Cavaliers’ Mozgov can’t sign an extension this summer, wouldn’t want one anyway

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

It all started with a good story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about big men getting paid. Big men always get overpaid a little in the NBA because: 1) You still need them; 2) There is a limited supply of good ones.

That story told Cavaliers fans it would make no sense for Timofey Mozgov to sign an extension to his current $4.9 million deal as he enters the last year of his contract (the Cavaliers just picked up the option on next season).

True. But he couldn’t sign one anyway, notes former Nets assistant GM and twitter sensation Bobby Marks.

There is actually nobody on the Cavaliers eligible for a contract extension.

But the point that Mozgov wouldn’t sign one even if he could is valid. Mozgov is making $4.9 million and the most that the Cavaliers could offer in a contract extension is $5.4 million a year as a starting point (a 7.5 percent raise). As arguably the best free agent center on the free agent market next summer, Mozgov will command probably closer to $13 million a year, Marks estimates. Even if that number drops a little over the course of the season, we’re talking about a deal more than double what he could get an extension. Even if he wants to stay a Cavalier, it makes more sense to become a free agent and re-sign than it does to sign an extension.

Unless we’re talking rookie contracts (where the rules are different), contract extensions are very rare in the new CBA. It doesn’t make sense for most players, because they cannot be for the max number of years (why Kevin Durant will not sign one) and raises are limited. Extensions do happen, Danilo Gallinari reached a deal for one with the Nuggets this summer, but they are the exception, not the rule under the new CBA.

Mozgov is going to be an in-demand man next summer.

Contrary to prior reports, Nuggets not waiving Kostas Papanikolaou. Yet.

Blake Griffin, Kostas Papanikolaou

When Denver acquired Kostas Papanikolaou from Houston, reports came almost immediately that Denver would waive the small forward out of Greece. Denver already has 14 fully guaranteed contracts, most teams only carry that many players, and if the Nuggets keep a 15th it could be Erick Green (who is set to make nearly $4 million less).

Maybe the Nuggets ultimately will waive Papanikolaou, but not yet.

From Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post.

For more detail, there is this from eurohoops.net, transcribed by Hoopshype.

On Saturday night, there were rumors about Denver releasing him. However at this point there are just rumors. Until now, the player’s side has no knowledge for this matter and the Nuggets hasn’t informed them about those kinds of intentions. According to Eurohoops sources, the Nuggets’ plan when they acquired Papanikolaou was to keep him in their roster and take their decision about him during Eurobasket, probably at the end of the tournament. That was their intention and that’s why they didn’t try to use his contract as a trade asset.

The Nuggets have until Oct. 4 to make a decision on Papanikolaou, that is when his $4.8 million contract for the next season becomes fully guaranteed.

What Denver wants to see is what kind of growth he has made. Papanikolaou was the best Houston player off the bench the first month of the season — he could play the three or the four and was a fantastic passer. As the season wore on the league seemed to catch up with him, and once the team traded for Corey Brewer and Josh Smith Papanikolaou dropped far down the rotation. Then he suffered a pretty severe ankle sprain and barely saw the court after the All-Star break. For the season he got in 43 games, shot 35 percent overall and 29.2 percent from three. To use a good snapshot, he had a PER of 7.8, which usually means a guy should be in the D-League or overseas.

The Nuggets can afford to watch Papanikolaou through the upcoming Eurobasket then even at workouts at their facilities at the start of training camp. They can see if the guy from the first part of the season is still there.

But the smart money — because Denver would save so much of it — is that he still eventually is cut. He’s going to have to prove