Here's the next part of our ongoing series of mutual Q & A sessions with our blog buddies in the SBNation family. Nate Timmons (who thinks that Warriors Nate sounds a lot better than Nuggets Nate, and I won't argue) has graciously spent some time and thought on his answers for us from the Denver Stiffs. So here we go....
The Nuggets have had 2 4-game winning streaks, and 2 3-game losing streaks. Do you see them as a streaky team going forward?
If by streaky you mean reeling off 67 straight wins to finish 75-7 then yes! Wait ...
In the famous words of Eminem, the Nuggets are still waiting on the real Ty Lawson to please stand up. Through 15 games Lawson is averaging about the same number of shots per game as last season, but his shooting percentages are down across the board. Lawson is dealing with teams game-planning for him and the lanes haven't been as open as they used to be and there hasn't been a ton of fast-breaking Nuggets this year either.
As the team becomes more comfortable offensively, hopefully we'll see a lot more wins and not so many clumps of losses. Last season the Nuggets were 2nd in pace offensively and they rank 15th so far this year. There has been some growing pains with Andre Iguodala and his play-making style, but the Nuggets are starting to get into a better groove. Surprisingly, the defense has been pretty decent; just don't ask me about leaving shooters open on the three-point line ...
Denver is the top rebounding team in the league, yet the Warriors out-rebounded them in the last game. Is the Nugget rebounding dominance sustainable?
Kenneth Faried is obviously a rebounding freak. His style is definitely sustainable as he has been compared to a historically good rebounder in Dennis Rodman. He broke Tim Duncan's collegiate rebounding record too, so the Manimal will do his part. The Nuggets' coaches raved about Kosta Koufos' rebounding during training camp and he's been pretty good on the boards too.
A nice addition to the boards has been Danilo Gallinari who is up from 4.7 rebounds to 6.0 this season. George Karl has been playing Gallo at power forward for long stretches (especially at the end of games) and he has responded by grabbing big rebounds. Also, Iguodala has been good on the boards and cleans up a lot of the long rebounds out near the free throw line (or the Expensive Line as we're calling it in Denver with the team's league worst 66-percent foul shooting).
Overall, the Nuggets and the Warriors appear to be fairly evenly matched, statistically. Why do you think the Nuggets have done particularly well against the Warriors so far?
In the first game, the Nuggets simply out-lasted the Warriors in that crazy overtime game. Denver also made the most of their opportunities down the stretch there and showed flashes of the maturity we saw out of the team against the Lakers in the playoffs last season.
The game on Nov. 23rd in Denver, the Nuggets did a fantastic job of taking Stephen Curry completely out of the game. You'd automatically think it was because of Iguodala guarding Curry, but as Hoopsworld.com writer Travis Heath pointed out after that game, Iguodala was only on Curry for 13 possession - credit has to go to Lawson, who is a better defender than advertised.
On a similar note, only Utah and the Spurs have held Kenneth Faried to under 10 rebounds in the last 11 games. Was there something different in their schemes that allowed that?
I have erased that Spurs embarrassment from my memory; so I can't help you there! But in 27 minutes you'd expect more than 5 rebounds from Faried. The Spurs do a nice job of rebounding as a team and the Jazz have a bunch of big guys. Faried does his big damage on the offensive end and he was able to get 4 offensive rebounds against the Jazz to lead Denver. Sometimes you just can't find the ball easily.
The funny thing about that Jazz game, Utah only grabbed 18 defensive boards to the Nuggets' 13 offensive rebounds. Denver shot near 70-percent in the first half so there wasn't a lot of opportunities for offensive boards. So Faried's 4 offensive boards were actually still very good, on that particular night.
Since he came to Denver, Andre Iguodala has been _________.
As good as advertised.
Some people expected Iguodala to average over 20 points per game for the Nuggets. But he has never done that in his career and he was not going to start now at 28 years-old. But he has had a few big offensive nights and is never afraid to take the shot. He has been starting a little slower than expected on the offensive end and he even admitted he's only about 70-percent comfortable in the Nuggets' offense.
He likes to compare himself to Scottie Pippen, as a stat filler and he is just that. The only issue you could have with him is that he's averaging 2.9 turnovers per game and that's a little too high for a guy who is asked to be a play-maker by George Karl. But hopefully we'll see those numbers come down as his comfort level increases.
Defensively, Iguodala is a monster. You can ask him to guard basically anyone the opposition has and you'll see results. Denver went into Houston earlier in the year and Iguodala just shut down James Harden, held him to 15 points (his lowest total at the time). He frustrated Harden and blocked one of his three-point attempts late to squash a Rockets comeback bid.
For basketball lovers, Iguodala is a dream to watch.
Preseason, Denver was projected as a consensus top-6 team in the West. Where do you see them at the end of the season at this point?
Denver is sixth right now and the only team that isn't among the top-6 that everyone expected to be there is the Lakers. They have to get better at some point right? The Warriors are actually third, at the time of this writing, and might be sitting a little higher than some expected (not me, I picked them as the 6th Seed on Stiffs!).
The schedule doesn't break well for Denver until January, so if they can hover in the middle of the pack or a little above it (where they are now) they should be able to still grab a top-6 seed out West. Denver's first 23 games include 17 road games and next month they still only have five homes games ... just brutal!
Best of luck tonight, I'm looking forward to this game as the Warriors are one of my favorite teams to watch ... when they are not playing the Nuggets.