Ask A-Lo Mailbag: Love and basketball
Valentine’s Day is upon us. For many Nuggets fans, that means continuing their love affair with the NBA.
Mid-February also means a chance for most players and coaches to catch their collective breath during the All-Star break and fans to prepare themselves for a two-month sprint toward the playoffs.
The Nuggets (33-21) are in an enviable position as they head into the break They are fifth in the Western Conference with a talented roster equipped to compete in the postseason for the 10th consecutive year.
For a Valentine’s Day edition of the Ask A-Lo Mailbag, I wanted to answer a handful of questions submitted recently by members of Nuggets Nation.
Where do you think the Nuggets will end up seed-wise when the playoffs come around?
Thanks for the question. When the season began, I thought the Nuggets could compete for a top-3 seed in the West, and right now they're 3.5 games behind the third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers.
While No. 3 remains a possibility, I think the 4 seed is more realistic. That would mean home-court advantage in the first round and a likely matchup against Memphis, Golden State, Utah or Houston. I like their chances against any of those teams.
As Nuggets fans are well aware, things get dicey whenever you have to start on the road, so I think coach George Karl and his players are eyeing the No. 4 slot. Anything higher would be a bonus.
When do you think coach Karl will set a hierarchy in stretch time? It seems Andre Miller has issues in those key moments and is better passing than trying to score.
Thanks for the e-mail. Coach Karl has addressed the topic in his sessions with the media, admitting that he sometimes falls into a comfort zone finishing games with Miller, Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari and either Kenneth Faried or JaVale McGee. Corey Brewer and Koufos also have earned minutes at closing time, it's rare that anyone else breaks into the rotation when the roster is healthy.
Coach Karl trusts Miller because of his basketball IQ and knowledge of the team’s playbook. While Andre has been guilty of a few ill-time turnovers or missed shots, I’d say he’s played a big part in more victories than losses.
As a fan (and reporter), it's easy to second-guess the decisions when things don't go well, but in the end, I'll trust the Karl’s judgment when it comes to late-game lineups. At last count, he has 1,107 more career victories than I do.
Who should the Nuggets pick up with their draft pick?
-Austin, Norwalk, Iowa
As for your question, a lot depends on where the Nuggets will land in the draft order. Their success this season figures to put them in the mid-20s range. Considering Denver selected Faried 22nd overall in 2011, that's not necessarily a bad place to be.
The Nuggets have a lot of depth in the frontcourt, and there's always a need for a knock-down 3-point shooter to help space the floor. Maybe someone like Doug McDermott would fit the bill, though he might be more of a second-round talent.
Until we get a better idea of where Denver will pick next season, trying to project its first-round selection will be a challenging endeavor.
Thanks for the questions. If there's something you'd like to know about the Nuggets, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail. That's what I'm here for.