View Full Version : Frontcourt: NW Rivals Glad Camby is Gone (update)

10-01-2008, 08:53 PM
Of all the training camp articles, I thought this one looked like a good topic for its own thread. Of course we all know the 3-4-5 will have Melo, K-Mart and Nene as starters. But exactly how and with who those spaces in between will be filled out is the big unanswered question. Karl hints at some possibilities here, naming the Birdman the official backup center, and suggesting Hunter might get some action, too.

Camby gone, Nuggets working low post

The Nuggets just completed their second practice of this nascent preseason, again with a focus on defensive.

With the loss of Marcus Camby and Eduardo Najera, the Nuggets will have a new look in the low post, and today coach George Karl said two guys who played seldom last season could make an impact this season.

Karl said Chris Andersen, who played sparingly for New Orleans, is currently the team's backup center and "could have to be out there on the court for a lot of minutes."

Steven Hunter, who played little for the Nuggets, also will log a lot of preseason minutes in the low post while the team evaluates his effectiveness. Nene starts at center and Kenyon Martin plays power forward, while reserve Linas Kleiza can log minutes at the four.

"Can we play five big guys?" Karl asked. "That's yet to be determined." denverpost (http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_10610103)

TheFuture6 pointed out that Karl is indicating LK might get some significant time at the 2, which suggests to me that he's going to be our maing "swingman" in the truest sense of the word, putting in time at the 2, 3 and 4. I was happy to hear that Karl is giving serious consideration to trying Hunter out. We still really don't know what he can/can't do in terms of fitting in with this team. We actually might have a great amount of frontcourt depth and flexibility if you consider the number of guys that can play (and play more than one position). Hunter is probably our only true center, and K-Mart is probably our only true PF. Beyond that, Nene and Andersen are both 4/5s, Melo and Balkman are both 3/4s, LK's a 2-3-4... then moving into the backcourt, AI's a 1-2, J.R. might get a little time at the point as well. If Karl actually gets on the ball and gets into his role as a coach - and to his credit, he does at least appear more genuinely enthused this season than I've probably ever seen him here - we are going to be able to bring a LOT of different looks to the court.

10-01-2008, 09:33 PM
hopefully they have a different look every game depending on the team they play too, not in terms of starters, but it would be good if he had a plan for the different types of teams out there to have different roles for the bench players, idk, maybe its best to just go with the flow too, but either way we should have a big advantage because we can play so many ways

10-02-2008, 02:32 AM
Nene: Nuggets need help at center
Karl is confident athleticism, speed can prevail in post

"We need one more big man," the Nuggets center said. "We have good players in the post, but we need (to be) strong just to bump big men. That's my concern."

It's one shared by many after the Nuggets' offseason trade of 6-foot-11 Marcus Camby and the free-agent departure of 6-8

Eduardo Najera, who might not have been that big but made up for it with hustle and craftiness.

The 6-11 Nene, primarily a power forward before replacing Camby, doesn't consider himself a true center and would love some help. But the Nuggets most likely will enter the season with what they've got.

After the exits of Camby and Najera, the Nuggets did acquire 6-10 Chris Andersen and 6-8 Renaldo Balkman to back up Nene and 6-9 power forward Kenyon Martin.

But it remains to be seen how they'll match up with all the T-Rexes that roam the West.

* The Lakers, with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

* Phoenix, with Shaquille O'Neal and Amare Stoudemire.

* Portland, with Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge.

* San Antonio, with Tim Duncan and whomever the Spurs want to call their center.

* The Clippers, with Chris Kaman and old friend Camby.

"The Western Conference has gotten bigger," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "You must throw that out there."

But Karl remains confident that with quicker, more athletic post players, the Nuggets can thrive.

"We're going to miss Marcus. We're going to miss Eddie," Karl said. "That doesn't mean we can't be a better basketball team. Balkman and Chris, whoever, (Linas Kleiza, a small forward who can slide to power), Steven Hunter (the team's only 7-footer). Someone's going to have to play."

Karl has no clue who will end up logging big minutes in reserve. Primarily, he's hoping Nene and Martin will play 70 games and average 30 minutes, which could be the key to the season.

But that's a big if. During the past three seasons, Nene has missed 165 games and Martin 117.

"That's in God's hands," Nene said of whether both can remain relatively healthy.

Even if both do, the Nuggets still will have questions in the post. But at least candidates for playing time are talking good games.

* Andersen said "not at all" when asked if the Nuggets will have trouble with big teams. He added that such opponents must "keep up with us."

* Balkman said he's "hard- nosed" and "gets it done" on defense.

* Hunter, who played in only 19 games last season while battling injuries, called it a "lost year" but said he's healthy and will be "the real Steven Hunter."

One key for the Nuggets will be whether they got the real Andersen. After leaving Denver to sign with New Orleans, Andersen broke loose with averages of 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in 2004-05.

But then came his January 2006 NBA drug suspension. Andersen, 30, returned in March and made five cameo appearances for the Hornets before the Nuggets signed him.

"(Andersen) kind of brought it to our attention he wanted to come here rather than go back to New Orleans," Karl said. "We met a couple of times and talked about what happened the last couple years. He convinced myself and the organization there's a good chance we could find a hell of player that we get very cheap (a minimum deal).

"You get (the suspension) on the table. . . . When you make a decision, you wipe the board clean. . . . (Andersen) will learn from it, and now we might be the guy who gets the benefits of it."

Karl hopes so. The Nuggets need all the help they can get in the post.rockymountainnews (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/oct/01/nene-nuggets-need-help-at-center/)

10-02-2008, 03:07 AM
Scouting report: Camby's defense vs. Nene's defense in the post (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjkRJ6DgKro&eurl=http://www.pickaxeandroll.com/)

10-02-2008, 08:36 PM
Nene takes charge in scrimmage

The first sound of thunder on a ominous day in Denver happened around 1 p.m., when the Nuggets' Nene received a pass in the low post and pounded the ball through the hoop, all while soaring over Chris "The Birdman" Andersen.

The Nuggets' had a passionate scrimmage today, and according to coach George Karl, the marquee performance was from the center Nene.

"Nene was a huge presence, not only his performance but how he led the second unit with his decisions and good defense," Karl said. "That was probably the best part of the scrimmage."

Karl also canceled the Thursday evening practice, while complimenting his team and determining that "the one-a-days seemed to have a good rhythm, and I didn't want to mess with that." denverpost (http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_10620650)

K-Mart ready to lead

By Aaron J. Lopez

Approachable, affable, coachable.
Those are the words that best describe Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin at the team's annual media day Monday.
Unbelievable, inconceivable, laughable.
Those are the words that might describe your reaction to the words describing Martin in the opening paragraph.
As Martin's teammate Allen Iverson admitted earlier in the day, pro athletes answer all the same questions and give all the right answers before the season starts. It's what happens on the court that matters.
That being said, Martin talked a pretty good game as he vowed to put all the negativity behind him and step up as a leader for a team long on talent but often short on poise and maturity.
``You have to have somebody lead and I'm ready to do that,'' Martin said. ``I don't know if I had an epiphany or not, but it's a mindset of mine that I have now, realizing what's at stake. It's now or never, do or die, however you all might want to say it or categorize it. It's now. It's not next year. It's now. That's the way I'm approaching it.''
Martin, often injured and understandably grumpy during his first four seasons in Denver, seemed inspired by the Boston Celtics, who found the right talent, chemistry and defensive desire to win the NBA title last spring
``Can't be every time somebody mentions us, they mention Melo and A.I.,'' Martin said, referring to All-Star teammates Iverson and Carmelo Anthony. ``You look at Boston last year, even though everybody talked about the Big Three (of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce), it wasn't about them. You could tell by how they played the game, which hasn't always been the case around here. Something has always creeped in, so we can't allow that.''
To his credit, Martin said he has been the ``main culprit'' in some of the Nuggets dysfunction over the past few seasons.
He lashed out at coach George Karl during the 2006 playoffs, earning a suspension for the final three games of Denver's first-round exit against the Los Angeles Clippers.
He bristled at the coach and the organization over how former college teammates Ruben Patterson and DerMarr Johnson were used during their time with the Nuggets.
He even traded elbows with teammate Nene during their first training camp together in 2004. With Marcus Camby traded to Los Angeles this summer, Martin and Nene now will anchor the middle of the paint.
``That's in the past, man. You've got to grow up. You can't be fools your whole life,'' Martin said. ``We've both grown since then. After that happened, we put it behind us. There hasn't been one incident since, and there's not going to be (another).
``We're great teammates now. It's about us winning and playing the right way and doing things that we can to help us get a championship. There's no room for that right now. If I can swallow it, everybody should be able to.''rockymountainnews (http://blogs.rockymountainnews.com/nuggets/archives/2008/09/kmart_ready_to.html)

K-Mart: "No More Room For Talk"

Training camp is a time when just about everyone is in good spirits, and it's a time when most everyone begins jumping to conclusions as well. With Kenyon Martin, though, there was something much different as we greeted one another earlier this week and got a chance to catch up on Martin's outlook heading into the season.

"I feel good," Martin said with a smile that spanned from one ear to the other. "More than anything, I'm in good spirits. No drama, no negativity. It's about basketball, and it's about winning. My body feels good so my heart and mind can feel good."

This, or something similar, is something you might hear a lot of guys utter at the beginning of a season. However, with Martin there's just a sense of peace and calm surrounding him simply not seen before. You just get the feeling he's in a great place both on and off the court. So great in fact, Martin has voluntary taken over the roll of being the team's vocal leader. There's no shouting or cursing out teammates, just a steady and honest leader intent on holding his teammates accountable.

While you're friendly neighborhood columnist was finishing up a question about how bad the Nuggets have been defensively the last couple of seasons, Martin interjected with an affirmative head nod: "It's true. You're right."

Okay, so how can Denver change that this season?

"Well, if it doesn't change, we'll be in the same position we were in last year," Martin asserted. "It starts this week and we have to come out with the mindset that we have to be better one through 14 or 15 defensively. It has to be the common goal. We have to get better defensively as a team. We have had a few decent individual defenders, but that's not going to get it done. We all have to be on the same page and help one another."

Much has been said about Denver's loss of Marcus Camby, and Martin will be the first one to admit losing Camby will change things. However, it's also left him with a greater sense of responsibility.

"We're going to miss Marcus, but we're professionals. We have a job to do and we have to do it well. Both Nene and I have to pick up the slack. We have to average more rebounds. We have to do that and then some. (Camby's) going to be missed, but I think both Nene and I are up to the challenge. As well as Melo rebounding the ball. We have to. We have to make it a point to rebound the ball and everybody has to defend."

This all sounds good in theory. The problem is, of course, the Nuggets have talked a good defensive game for years but have very rarely backed that talk up with any sort of action. As such, why should any intellectually honest member of the basketball watching public believe any more rhetoric, Kenyon?

"I think myself, along with a couple of the other veteran guys, have to make it a point to put emphasis on defense," Martin said. "Like you said, and like I said last year: there's no more room for talk. There's no more room for talk. It's time for action. We have to."

In addition to his increasing responsibilities on the court with Camby now gone, Martin is ready to assume a greater role as a leader as well. That role started by keeping tabs on Carmelo Anthony this summer and helping to make sure he maintains his focus as this season progresses.

"Melo learned mistakes can be costly," Martin explained. "I think Melo has grown up a lot since I've been here. This is my fifth year in Denver around him. I think he's come a long way as far as how he deals with people, deals with his teammates, deals with the media. He's come a long way. He's only going to get better at it. You can't expect a guy in his early 20's to know everything. A lot of it has to be taught. So it's on myself and other veteran guys to let him know this is the right way and this is the wrong way.

"You also have to let him learn some on his own, which I think he has done. It's just letting him become a man. You have to be a man in this league and learn from your own mistakes. You have to learn from other people's mistakes, as well. I think he's done that, and I think Melo is going to be better than what people are expecting. Just him being around other guys during the Olympics, guys like Jason (Kidd) -- who the media loves -- is going to help him a lot."

After showing me some of the new tattoos he got over the summer -- portraits of his children on each biceps -- it seemed as though our conversation for the day was over. However, Martin had one more thing he wanted to add, almost as if he had to get it off his chest.

"I feel it in my heart that this is our time as a team. Not for us to prove nothing to anyone else because people are always going to have something good to say and something bad to say, but we have to prove it ourselves that we're better than what people are giving us credit for. Just going out and winning more games than we did last year and getting out of the first round. We have to go out there and prove it to ourselves. And it starts right now. We have to take each game of the regular season and treat it like it's just as important as an elimination game. I think if we learn how to win the right way in the regular season it only carries over to the postseason."

A lot has been said about the moves the Nuggets made this offseason and where the team may finish as a result. In fairness, it's too early for anyone to be sure how things will turn out. However, it's not too early to see the smile on Kenyon Martin's face and the clarity and determination in his eyes.

Martin's mindset, body language and overall attitude entering this season is a very encouraging -- albeit surprising -- sign of what might lie ahead for this year's iteration of the Denver Nuggets.hoopsworld (http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=10148)

I think the Melo-K-Mart-Nene frontcourt really could be something this season. If you think about it, really, we haven't had an honest, injury-free, no-Camby look at how it will be. I think the chemistry will be much better without Camby, to tell you the truth. And I think it could turn into a real force that nobody in the NBA sees coming right now.

10-05-2008, 10:52 AM
Nene's work thrills Karl
By Benjamin Hochman
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 10/04/2008 11:04:07 PM MDT

It was an early August evening at The Capital Grille, and George Karl was simmering like a filet mignon.

The Nuggets coach had a clear understanding that in the upcoming season, Nene's role would be paramount. He wondered if Nene understood this too.

During dinner, Karl and Nene had "a direct conversation with a little anger," said the coach, who let his starting center know he needed to start centering his days on basketball preparation.

"Since that day, I think he averaged four to five days in the gym, which he had never done for us," Karl said.

And in the first week of preseason camp, well, "he's been tremendous," Karl said.

There have been glimpses of greatness, said the coach, and many have come during Denver's scrimmages, in which Nene has dominated the low post, occasionally showing off his off-hand finishes at the rim, a nifty weapon for a big man.

Nene, of course, missed the majority of last season while recovering from testicular cancer, as well as suffering numerous other injuries. With center Marcus Camby traded to the Clippers, Nene has been anointed the starting center, while Denver fans have their fingers crossed that the injury-prone player will be prone only to double- doubles.

Karl said he expects Nene to go from seemingly "overpaid" to "underpaid," but it will be a process that spills into the season.

"When you miss a whole season, there are little steps to regain confidence, condition and involvement with the team," Karl said. He added: "I would say the two guys if we lose, we couldn't replace, would be Nene and Carmelo (Anthony)."denverpost (http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_10640046)

10-05-2008, 11:01 PM
imagine how strong this Nuggets team would be if Nene and KMart was healthy the whole season

10-05-2008, 11:18 PM
we will be feared, nene is a little bigger than camby, and kmart is just a good defender

10-07-2008, 09:00 AM
Martin's flame still burning
The Nuggets hope the veteran will use his intensity positively.

Kenyon Martin's boom of echoing expletives interrupted the intrasquad scrimmage.

Seems Martin and Allen Iverson disagreed about a call, so Martin expressed his displeasure. Here we go. Iverson, who puts the A.I. in passion, roared back with his own thoughts, the two verbally sparring for an excruciatingly uncomfortable minute.

When Saturday's scrimmage reconvened, a fuming Martin played defense as if he were given a do-over against the Lakers, who swept Denver in the first playoff round last spring. When it ended, Martin told Iverson he "had no choice but to play hard" after the squabble.

A volatile veteran, the 30-year-old Martin feeds off his own intensity. At its best, it makes him a smothering defender. At its worst, it makes him vulnerable to counterproductive outbursts. Harnessing his fervor will be key for Martin and the Nuggets this season.

"Kenyon has an intensity that can create positive energy but also can create negative energy," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "And I think he understands that this year more than ever before, and I think he's trying to keep the pendulum on the positive side."

A week into training camp, numerous Nuggets staffers have made reference to the power forward's positive energy at training camp.

"It seems like he's focused more than he has been in the past few seasons," forward Carmelo Anthony said. "He's taken a more vocal leadership role. And, as a team, we're listening, trying to get him on the same page as us."

Said Martin: "It's a mind-set of mine, realizing what's at stake. It's now or never. It's not next year, it's not wait and see. It's now."

Last season, Martin returned to the lineup after a second microfracture surgery, this one on his right knee. At 6-feet-9 and weighing about 240 pounds, he often guarded an opponent's best low-post player. He averaged 12.4 points per game and 6.5 rebounds in 30.5 minutes.

In Denver, Martin hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with Karl, and he hasn't always been healthy. But entering this season, all is good.

"I'm healthy, I have no worries, I put all the negativity and everything behind me," Martin said. "I'm just trying to do things the right way and not come into the season worried if I can play and about minutes. I wipe the slate clean and do everything I can to try to be a leader on this team which I think we need."

Last season, Karl occasionally said that his best low-post tandem was Martin and Nene, but they rarely played at the same time, due more to Nene's absences than Martin's. For years, it seems, one was always hurt. Could this season be different? Without center Marcus Camby as insurance, it had better be if the Nuggets hope to make the playoffs and get past the first round.

"Nene and I are kind of the same type of player with our mentality two tough-minded guys, two guys that don't take stuff from nobody," Martin said. "We coexist well, I think. We play hard no matter what.

"(Strategically), he can take the block or I can take the block. He can go on the elbow (of the lane), I can go on the elbow. He's worked a lot harder in the summer than he has in the past, and I have as well. Now is the time. We both realize what's at stake."

This fall, Martin has slimmed down about 12 pounds to 228, in part to help his knees. But don't think slimmer means softer. Martin is still a voracious defender.

"Defense is determination," he said. "I don't like being embarrassed. Even though it's the NBA and everybody can score and you're not always going to stop somebody from scoring, that's the way I approach it. If you have the ball, I want to stop you or take the ball.

"And not everybody wants to. I want to. And if we get the rest of the guys to feed into it, we'll be all right."

There was a fleeting moment after practice last week that sums up the best of Martin a teammate, a leader, a determined player with positive energy.

The Nuggets had just finished a lengthy workout, yet sprints remained. While the rest of the team lined up on the baseline, Ruben Patterson, one of Martin's close friends, took a seat on the floor for a quick breather. Martin looked down at his exhausted buddy, disregarded sympathy and said, "Hey, man, get up."

"Top to bottom, everyone's got to be in line, a straight line like a Riverdance," Martin said, smiling proudly about his random cultural reference to Irish step dancing. "You've seen Riverdance somebody's out of line, it messes everything up."


$14.4 million Martin's salary this season. The 30-year-old is signed through the 2010-11 season.

71 Games played last season, his most in four seasons with the Nuggets.

1.2 Blocked shots per game last season, 30th in the NBA. denverpost (http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_10654686)

...and Kiz steps on my blog (http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/blog.php?b=17) :p

mark kiszla
Camby shackled team
By Mark Kiszla
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 10/07/2008 12:24:31 AM MDT

For all the crying around Denver when center Marcus Camby was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for a bag of In-N-Out burgers, you would have thought the Nuggets had committed a historic basketball blunder.

Something as dumb as using the No. 3 pick in the 1998 NBA draft to take Raef LaFrentz ahead of Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki or Paul Pierce?

Or as stupid as allowing Dikembe Mutombo to leave town and take the soul of the Nuggets with him?

No way.

Well, now that we all have a little perspective, here's a news flash for you:

The Nuggets can win 50 games without Camby and if George Karl deserves to be coach of this team, they will.

Denver can be a nastier, more rugged defensive team without Camby, who collected blocks as if they were art treasures but had little interest in doing any real down-and-dirty work in the paint, whether it required leaning on Shaquille O'Neal or chasing Pau Gasol.

Without Camby, whose idea of offense was to launch 18-foot jumpers, the Nuggets might actually develop a post game that can provide Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson with a legitimate reason to throw a pass inside.

"It is my time," Nene told me recently.

Nene is a tougher straight-up defender than Camby, quicker on the fast break and a stronger scorer than the veteran he is being asked to replace at center.

But we all know Nene's career has been a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an Ace bandage. At age 26, Nene finally needs to prove he can stay healthy for 35 minutes every game.

With Camby, this team was far too passive-aggressive on defense, with a strategy that seemed based on the big center swooping in at the last second to save the Nuggets from disaster. Now, defenders have no choice but to man up and get in the face of scorers. "We're going to be more aggressive and disruptive," Karl said Monday.

While the general managing partnership of Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, adviser Bret Bearup, basketball operations veep Mark Warkentien and player personnel chief Rex Chapman has sometimes reached decisions with all the efficiency of a hung jury, I also must acknowledge the tough choice to unload Camby in the face of certain criticism made good economic and basketball sense.

Just because he was a good neighbor did not make Camby worth $10 million per year as a basketball player.

While the NBA West remains as wild and a dangerously competitive place as anywhere on the American pro sports landscape, the gunslingers are graying. San Antonio played last season with four starters beyond age 30. In Steve Nash (34) and O'Neal (36), the Phoenix retirement community is destined to grow quicker than the Suns would like. All his grimaces from watching the choking Mavericks, whose top six players now average 32 years per man, should prep Mark Cuban well for what to expect if he buys baseball's Cubs.

The Nuggets dumped Camby because in the years ahead they must run with the young guns from New Orleans and Portland to be a contender in the Western Conference.

Denver still could use a pass-first point guard, and the only thing of substance revealed by those otherwise ridiculous rumors regarding Indiana Pacers bad boy Jamal Tinsley is that the team is definitely in the market for an unselfish backcourt mate to be the wing man alongside Iverson or J.R. Smith.

But do not count on a blockbuster deal anytime soon. Denver has been looking for a point guard with plenty of smarts, a reasonable NBA
Share Your Analysis

Post sports columnist Mark Kiszla fields your feedback. Look for it in Kickin' It With Kiz every Saturday.
salary and no ego ever since letting Steve Blake get away.

The big move that can reshape the Nuggets will almost certainly not be made until 2009, when the expiring contract of Iverson and the salary cap exception provided by trading Camby could give Denver roughly $30 million to spend on player acquistions.

How long Karl is around to coach the next generation of Nuggets depends in no small part on the success he has in developing Nene, Smith and Linas Kleiza.

Camby was a liability on offense and a crutch on defense for a team that too often took the easy way out.

Well, the Nuggets threw away those excuses. Melo, A.I., Nene and Karl must now stand up for themselves.

It's time to stop crying and go to work. denverpost (http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_10654688)

10-07-2008, 09:20 PM
man, they are gonna kill, nuf said

10-07-2008, 11:05 PM
I cant wait to see Nene on Oden, that'll be so cool

10-08-2008, 10:42 AM
Howard fighting for a chance to redeem himself

The last time Juwan Howard wore a Denver uniform, he was the team's leading scorer. Now he's back in Denver, just trying to get a uniform.

Howard, 35, has been one of the Nuggets' "more cerebral players on the court," coach George Karl said Tuesday. There are 13 players with guaranteed contracts in camp, so Howard is competing with five other non-guaranteed players for a roster spot that, really, isn't guaranteed to any of them.

But Karl respects the former all-star's approach to the game: wise and wily.

"A lot of times, your brain and professionalism are as important as your talent," Karl said. "I don't think there's any question that as Juwan gets older, that's going to be more of his strength on a basketball team. He thinks he can still play, and we'll evaluate him. . . . How we can fit him in will all be determined in exhibition season (beginning Friday)."

Howard has a career average of 15.3 points per game, and in 2006-07, he still averaged 9.7 points for Houston. But in 2007-08, he was buried on the bench in Dallas, averaging just 1.1.

"Am I salivating and excited about trying to redeem myself and prove I've got something left in the tank? You're darn right," Howard said. "I look forward to that challenge.

"They really need a big guy who can come in and give them some solid minutes when Kenyon (Martin) and Nene go to the bench. More important, they need a guy who knows how to play the game, and I feel that I'm that guy."

Howard had the dubious distinction of being the leading scorer on the 2002-03 Nuggets team, averaging more points (18.4) than his team won games (17). denverpost (http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_10662904)

10-08-2008, 02:14 PM
since 2k9 came out yesterday i switched up the nuggets roster a little on association...might as well post it here

10-11-2008, 08:42 AM
'Birdman' likes coop with Nuggets

This bird once flew south. But now he's back.

Chris "Birdman" Andersen, who left Denver in 2004 for New Orleans and later served a two-year NBA drug suspension, returned to the Pepsi Center on Friday night wearing a Nuggets uniform.

It was a nest he found most comfortable.

"It was real special," the forward said after scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in his team's 118-95 win against Minnesota before 9,535 in the preseason opener. "(The fans) were chanting 'Birdman.' "

The showing of Andersen, who blocked two shots and shot 5-for-7 in 18 minutes, helped make up for absence of Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, out because of a hand injury. Anthony isn't expected to play in an outdoor game against Phoenix tonight in Indian Wells, Calif., and definitely out is guard Allen Iverson, whose sore left knee swelled up in the third quarter.

"I think Chris has been talking about playing this game for about two months," Nuggets coach George Karl said of Andersen. "When I first talked to him (last summer), he was anxious. He'd been sitting out for two years and he wants to re-create his career."

One way Andersen is doing it is as a three-point shooter. Andersen, 0-for-9 overall in the regular season, made the first three-pointer of his career in any game in the second half.

"I've been working hard the last couple of years during my suspension time . . . on my outside shot," Andersen said. "Hard work pays off when the coach has confidence in you. It was the first (three-pointer), but it won't be the last."

The Nuggets got a game- high 21 points from guard J.R. Smith, although he shot only 6-for-16. Most impressive was Denver's defense, which Karl has been emphasizing in training camp, and the play of several big men.

In the first game after the departures of Marcus Camby and Eduardo Najera, Kenyon Martin (13 points and five rebounds), Nene (10 points and seven rebounds) and Renaldo Balkman (eight points and four steals) all looked good in addition to Andersen.rockymountainnews (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/oct/10/melo-wont-play-nuggets-preseason-opener/)

Also from the same article:

Balkman's big October

The Nuggets can't waste time this preseason evaluating Balkman. He sure isn't wasting any time.

The Nuggets must decide by Oct. 31 whether to pick up its $2.11 million contract option next season on the forward, who was acquired in July from New York. If the option isn't picked up, Balkman will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

"I'm going to work my butt off so they can pick it up," Balkman said.

Balkman sure did Friday. In 8 minutes, he shot 4-for-4 for eight points and had four steals and three rebounds.

Karl said Balkman will play tonight. But he said Balkman's "ankle is hurting him" from a recent injury and he'll soon need some time off.

10-11-2008, 11:27 AM
dang, injury injury injury, get over it people, we need people to play, and the game i can watch AI and Melo arent even going to be in it, ugh

10-11-2008, 01:34 PM
same thing i said ^^^^^^^

10-11-2008, 03:41 PM
yes, it is quite bad, i wish i could buy league pass and suff, but its a little too much for me at the moment....

10-11-2008, 09:19 PM
you can make $50 monthly payments for league pass untill its payed off, or thats what i did last season. Luckily I'm moving back to colorado in a week so no need for that :)

10-11-2008, 09:26 PM
google is your friend, guys - I do not promote in any way doing anything that's not perfectly legal, but my powers are limited, and I can't help it if some people search for "p2p nba"...

10-11-2008, 11:58 PM
thanks, that'll be nice

10-15-2008, 04:24 AM
Balkman will bring energy to Nuggets

"Birdman" might be grounded, but Nuggets fans still have a pretty good facsimile in Balkman.

With Chris Andersen expected to miss tonight's home preseason game against Utah because of a left calf injury, a new fan favorite might get some extra cheers. Forward Renaldo Balkman is an energetic player in the "Birdman" mold.

And unlike Andersen, Balkman hasn't cut his hair recently.

"He might be like Manny Ramirez out there," Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony said of Balkman, who has long dreadlocks while Andersen has shed his flowing locks.

"Wearing the hairband with the dreads. . . . I'm pretty sure that fans will take to him as an energy player, sort of like they did with (the departed) Eddie Najera."

Balkman has wasted no time proving to be a pretty good salvage job by the Nuggets. He was acquired from New York in July for two players with nonguaranteed contracts who were waived.

In Friday's preseason opener against Minnesota, he made 4-of-4 shots for eight points and had four steals in nine minutes.

"I'm like a strong safety on the basketball court," said Balkman, who reported a sore right ankle that recently slowed him is doing better. "I get a lot of interceptions. . . . On the court, I see a lot of things."

But the Knicks didn't see much in Balkman after a new general manager (Donnie Walsh) and a new coach (Mike D'Antoni) arrived in the spring. With the Knicks seeking to shed salary, he was dispatched.

"They drafted (Italian forward Danilo Gallinari with the No. 6 pick) and D'Antoni said I had no part, no role on the team anymore," said Balkman, who averaged 4.3 points and 4.9 rebounds as a rookie in 2006-07 and 3.3 and 3.4 last season after his minutes were cut.

But Balkman said he has "no hatred" toward the Knicks and just has "another job." Meanwhile, the Nuggets are starting to like Balkman.

"Players like playing with him and the coaches like watching him," coach George Karl said.rockymountainnews (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/oct/14/nuggets-will-get-another-look-at-balkman-with/)

10-15-2008, 04:35 AM
"Players like playing with him and the coaches like watching him," coach George Karl said.

Spot the hidden message. :laugh2:

fly boy
10-15-2008, 01:47 PM
hey whats p2p nba?

Tian Tian Boy
10-15-2008, 02:13 PM
everyone should be healthy as we enter the regular season!!

birdman and balkman are great additions.. it's overwhelming, i hope they could sustain the energy, so that loosing camby will not be a factor......

10-15-2008, 04:15 PM
balkman should be the best defender we had in a while.

10-19-2008, 06:16 AM
Birdman's flying colors
Chris Andersen prepared for NBA career to take second flight
By Benjamin Hochman
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 10/19/2008 12:06:32 AM MDT

The zombie lumbered into the NBA locker room, his famous effervescence drained, his skin a frightening pasty white, as if he was signaling surrender.

The team sent him home. That night, he was listed inactive because of "flu." His coach said, "He looks dead." Fourteen days later, New Orleans Hornets center Chris Andersen was kicked out of the NBA, following a positive drug test.

"I had nobody to turn to," Andersen said. "It's a lonely world when you're by yourself."

Loneliness hides amid luxury. Andersen, indeed, was a popular, multimillionaire NBA player, but his stability was a facade. Friends didn't know the meaning of the word. And his substance abuse went from recreation to a re-creation, a strong man turned weak.

"I came from nothing," he said, "and basically lost everything."

And now, Andersen has found home. Reinstated into the NBA in January, Andersen re-signed with the Nuggets this past summer, the franchise that gave him his big break in 2001. After a rocky demise he tested positive for "drugs of abuse," which could have been amphetamines, cocaine, opiates or PCP Andersen has found stability. He calls teammates "my family." He has a father figure local attorney Mark Bryant. He has a fiancee Brandy Newman. He has a best friend a Roman Cane Corso dog, which Andersen named Yogi Bear.

"I'm mentally, physically, emotionally better on and off the court than I've ever been," said Andersen, 30. "And stronger. It's just made me a better person, going through what I've been through. Life-changing experiences will make you stronger. I'm definitely more intelligent, more mature about decisions."

"Wipe the board clean"

Watch the 6-foot-10 Andersen practicing leaping for rebounds, lunging for a loose ball, cracking jokes and smiles, heaving 3-pointers like he's a foot shorter and you wonder if a grown man can have more fun playing basketball. He's carefree.

It's like Tom Hanks in "Big."

"The energy in the gym this year seems to have a sunny disposition," said Nuggets coach George Karl, who credits Andersen for the positive change.

In the months following his January 2006 suspension from the NBA, and after he grappled with his drinking problem for a month at a Malibu, Calif., rehabilitation facility, Andersen returned to Colorado, where he occasionally sat in the stands at Nuggets games. There he was last season, before his reinstatement in January, watching the Nuggets against the Hornets, a game in which he otherwise would have played.

For the displaced Texan, Denver was home, and the Nuggets were his hometown team. When reinstated, though, the Hornets retained his rights, and they took him back. But Andersen played sparingly last spring in New Orleans and became a free agent after the season. He knew he wanted to come home.

"You put (the past) on the table, you discuss it, and then you wipe the board clean and go from there," Karl said. "He's convinced us that he deserves another opportunity, respects what has happened, learned from it and we might be the guys who get the benefits from it."

Often during training camp Karl has talked about the Nuggets' "window" in the low post. Marcus Camby and Eduardo Najera are gone. The only remaining rotation players in the low post are Nene and Kenyon Martin, the starters who have been injury-prone. Basically, the window is wide open for Andersen to show what he can do. He had his best season in his last full season, 2004-05, with 7.7 points per game and 6.1 rebounds for New Orleans.

Karl said there will be natural "growing pains" for Andersen early this season. Andersen hasn't been part of an NBA rotation since January 2006, and even then, he was dealing with his suffocating substance abuse. But Karl said he believes Andersen, at his best, can provide active low-post defense, speed on the transition and the occasional high-flying, crowd-energizing dunk, which earned him the nickname "Birdman" back when times were simpler.

He probably won't score in double figures, but he can score more than in the past, having improved a jumper he developed during those endless hours in an empty gym during his suspension. He's more confident with his shot than in his first go-round with Denver.

And there he was in the preseason opener, scoring on a transition dunk followed by the flap of his arms like wings and then, on the next possession, splashing a 3-pointer en route to 12 points and 11 rebounds in 18 minutes, a delightful return for an old friend.

Of a different feather

"What's crackin'," a reporter said to Andersen, in a desperate attempt at using street slang.

"What's quackin'," Andersen replied. "I'm the Birdman, so it's what's quackin'."

The Birdman is different. While his newfound dedication to basketball is unwavering, he still has fun at work. Karl calls him "a comedian." Birdman's body is painted in tattoos, his hair spiked in a faux mohawk. His ride has Texas longhorns on the front of the hood, 68 inches long. He used to wear a mink coat with a trucker hat. He is undeniably quirky.

"With Chris, it's always a positive energy," said Chad Iske, a Nuggets assistant coach and advance scout. "Whether it's the person on the corner, the most powerful person in the town, a little kid, a grandma he's an instant friend with everybody. He doesn't discriminate."

In a way, he's Everyman a Joe the Plumber, if you will who just happens to be tall and athletic, with a gift for playing basketball.

One time, following the reinstatement, the Hornets had a game in Memphis, Tenn., and a Hornets staffer gushed about how much he enjoyed Rendezvous, a Memphis barbecue institution. That afternoon, the staffer heard a knock on his hotel door, and it was Andersen, holding two bags of Styrofoam boxes, stuffed with barbecue. Sure enough, the staffer had family visiting his hotel room, so Andersen stayed for 15 minutes, making new friends.

Interacting with Andersen is something of a thrill ride. Take this conversation with a reporter.

"What about this possible change to the nickname Birdman? Because your game's possibly not as high-flying as it was when you were younger, but you're still fast and strong, how about: The Ostrich?"

Birdman: "The Ostrich, it's a fast, big-(expletive) bird, but I'm more like a raptor with wings. But I probably can't say raptor, because it's Toronto."

"Um, OK, what about pterodactyl?"

Birdman: "No, that's prehistoric. I dunno, call me The Hawk."

In this era of cliche-spewing athletes, Andersen is refreshing, saying whatever comes to mind.

"What I like about him," Karl said, "is he likes who he is, he knows who he is, and so many people at his age and who had his problems don't know who they are and don't like who they are. Chris, over this process, has a very good belief in himself and is ready to show the world that he's learned from his experiences."

For all the colorful tattoos and colorful qualities of Birdman (The Peacock?), there is a hidden humility. The guy, after all, nearly lost it all. Now he speaks to underprivileged children in Denver, sharing his stories of growing up poor, becoming rich, falling to rock bottom, and climbing back to the mountaintop.

"In life, you have to go through certain things that humble you, and I think that's what Bird did," said the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony, who was humbled himself last spring when he got a DUI just before the playoffs. "He's really come around. I think he's more hungry than he's ever been."

In New Orleans, Hornets owner George Shinn once reveled in The Birdman. The suspension was heartbreaking for Shinn because he had gotten to know Andersen as a person. Two years later, it was Shinn's Hornets who took Andersen back.

"I have great respect and admiration for Chris," Shinn said, "having the resiliency and dedication to come back from his tremendous problems. It takes hard work to get back to playing basketball again at the highest level. More importantly, I'm concerned with the person more than the basketball player, and although it's great that he can play the game he loves again, it's even better that he seems happy again and has his life in order."

Chris "The Birdman" Andersen's unlikely path to the NBA:

Seasons Team
1997-98 Blinn Junior College, Brenham, Texas
1999-2000 Jiangsu Nangang, Chinese Basketball League
1999-2000 New Mexico Slam of the International Basketball League
2000-01 Fargo-Moorehead Beez in Fargo, N.D., of the IBL
2001-02 Fayetteville (N.C.) Patriots of the NBA Developmental League
2001-04 Nuggets
2004-06 New Orleans Hornets; suspended in January 2006
2008 New Orleans Hornets; reinstated in January 2008
2008-09 Nuggets denverpost (http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_10756225)

10-27-2008, 02:11 AM
Without Camby's lane presence, can anyone handle the job effectively?

In the old days, when Deron Williams drove the lane against the Nuggets, he knew somebody was lurking... Williams figures Camby's departure could help the Jazz win a third straight division crown. And Portland, which finished third last season, might now have a better opportunity to move up to second and secure the team's first playoff berth in six years... "I know they had to do it for money purposes, but (Camby) was really their only defensive presence in the middle," said Williams, who scored 22 points in 25 minutes. "He was a guy who, when I was coming into the lane, I was thinking, 'Where is Marcus Camby?' When you go in there now, it's going to be a little less reluctant. So I think it's easier to get to the basket."

"He's a big loss for them," said Trail Blazers guard Steve Blake, who played for the Nuggets in 2006-07. "You never know until the game starts how it affects them. But I think he's a big gain for the Clippers. . . . (The Nuggets) still got Kenyon (Martin) . . . and they've still got Nene. I mean, they're still strong down low. But I just think they lost an intelligent (player with his) rebounding and a guy who blocks shots."

"It's going to be different," said 6-foot-11 Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who could pose serious problems for the Nuggets when paired with the 7-foot Oden against Denver's undersized front line. "He brings a lot. Shot blocking. I think he can take the ball coast to coast, being able to pass for a big man. I think they are going to miss him."

"Marcus is a great player," said Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko, who led the NBA in blocked shots in 2004-05, before Camby took the title each of the past three seasons. "He's a huge force. I think (trading Camby) makes them probably a little less strong defensively but maybe a little more stronger offensively (with Nene starting). Only time will see how it will work."

For now, though, Northwest rivals don't seem to mind Camby having departed. Even a guy from the Pacific Division welcomed the move.

"Good for us," forward Grant Hill said of Camby leaving a team that battled his Suns last season for playoff position, with Phoenix finishing sixth and Denver eighth. "He's one of the top shot blockers out there. He's a veteran who's been around and knows a lot of secrets. . . . So, yeah, I'm glad he's gone."rocky (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/oct/26/without-cambys-lane-presence-can-anyone-handle/)

10-27-2008, 08:08 PM
haha, boy do they have something in store for them. you know, we only have stronger more physical (and bigger) players down low, nothing to worry about, lol