It's difficult to remember that this was the No. 3 seed a season ago. It seems much longer. But it's also worth remembering that the Nuggets exited the playoffs in the first round for the eighth time in nine seasons. Shaw waited a long time to get his head coaching start and he walked into a delicate situation that also included a roster shakeup and key injuries. This week's news that Gallinari will miss the entire season after needing a second surgery to repair his right knee is a significant blow to a hopeful playoff charge. Denver has alternated between hot and cold streaks, including a winning streak of seven games followed by an eight-game losing streak. With a league-high eight losses after leading after three quarters, perhaps the eventual return of McGee can solidify the defense and help Denver hold on for a few more wins.
-- Jeff Caplan