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Ask A-Lo Mailbag: Thanksgiving Edition

Denver Nuggets beat writer answers your questions

Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

As the country prepares to enjoy the spoils of Thanksgiving and engage in hand-to-hand combat on Black Friday, I wanted to take some time to answer some questions from Nuggets Nation.

Before I get to this edition of the Ask A-Lo Mailbag, I wanted to share some Nuggets-related things for which I’m thankful:

Andre Miller’s court vision and pinpoint lob passes. I have no doubt that Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee and all the Denver big men feel the same.

The Manimal’s relentless energy. After a sluggish start, Faried has resembled the high-flying, high-motor player that Nuggets fans fell in lovewith during his rookie season. He is averaging 16.2 points and 12.4 rebounds in the past nine games.

Danilo Gallinari’s short memory. Forget the early season numbers. Nobody on the Nuggets has a sweeter perimeter shot than Gallinari, who hit a game-winning three-pointer against Golden State on Nov. 10 and added a clinching dagger against Memphis on Nov. 19.

McGee’s seemingly unlimited reach. Whenever I see McGee start 15 feet from the rim and throw down a dunk, it brings back memories of watching Plastic Man on Saturday mornings in the 80s. Running the floor and pounding the offensive glass, he is shooting .609 over the past nine games.

A chance to see consecutive games at Pepsi Center. After playing nine of their first 12 games on the road, the Nuggets actually get to unpack for a few days. They face Golden State on Black Friday and New Orleans on Sunday before heading out on another three-game trip to close November.

Now on to the mailbag:

Hey Aaron,

The Nuggets are currently 19th in the NBA in FT attempts. Last year they were first. Has the change to the dribble-drive offense taken away our ability to run and score in transition? We have fewer fast breaks this year.

- Cody, Australia

Cody:

Great to hear from a fan in the Southern Hemisphere! Your observation about the decreased number of foul shots prompted me to look up how it compared to years past. I knew the Nuggets were always near the top of the league in attempts but didn’t realize that they have been No. 1 for five straight years.

The early season dropoff has not gone unnoticed by Nuggets coach George Karl and his staff. The dribble-drive offense goes hand-in-hand with Denver’s attack-first philosophy, but interior defenders are being allowed some freedom early in the season. The Nuggets, in turn, have to adapt to the style of play.

When they do get to the foul line, the Nuggets need to capitalize. Through 11 games, they were shooting 66 percent. I don’t expect that to continue for 82 games and suspect they will finish somewhere between 70 and 73 percent.

A-Lo:

Who would win a Nuggets 100 meter dash? Long jump? Javelin? And why weren't you in the Gangnam style video?

-Taylor, Broomfield

Taylor:

Thanks for the creative e-mail. I’m not going to bet against Ty Lawson in a 100-meter dash, though Corey Brewer claims he is faster. I would give Brewer the upper hand in the long jump because of his long strides and lithe build.

As for the javelin … that’s a tough one. I could see Kosta Koufos flinging it pretty good, but I’d give the nod to Andre Miller because of his background as a former MVP quarterback in high school.

As for the video, nobody wants to see me dance. Take me at my word on that one.

Aaron,

Longtime Nuggets fan from Cali. In your opinion, what is making the Nuggets slump early in the season?

- Kelvin, West Covina, CA

Kelvin:

Whether you’re playing the defending NBA champs or sub-.500 team, winning on the road in the NBA is difficult. That’s the biggest challenge Denver has faced in November.

From an X’s and O’s standpoint, there are a few areas of concern. The Nuggets need to do a better job defending the 3-point line, and, as mentioned earlier, they need to improve their free-throw shooting.

Though deep and talented, it’s important to remember that Denver is the third-youngest team in the NBA with an average age of 24.9 years. Confidence plays a big role with young players, and winning breeds confidence.

The Nuggets lead the league in rebounding, which tells me that effort is not an issue. I think a few more home games will help Denver find a comfort zone after spending most of the month in survival mode.

The Houston Rockets went through a similar situation last year. They played seven of their first 10 games on the road – and nine of those games were against teams that advanced to the postseason. Needless to say, Houston started 3-7 before winning 18 of the next 25 games.

I believe the Nuggets can follow a similar path by showing improvement at the defensive end. If they can force more turnovers, it will lead to easier baskets and take some pressure off the perimeter shooters.

With that, I want to say thanks to everyone who visits Nuggets.com. Keep those e-mails and tweets coming.

And most of all, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.