Los Angeles Clippers (50-26) vs. Denver Nuggets (28-47)
6:00 p.m. PST
April 4, 2015
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Shake it off… Nuggets style.
1. Has Melvin Hunt done enough to get the full-time coaching gig next year in Denver?
Charlie Yao, Roundball Mining, (@skitalicious): Short answer: yes. Hunt took over an awful situation and proved he has a handle on a roster seemingly splintered beyond repair. Gallo and Faried look like different players under Hunt and the Nuggets have been able to forge somewhat of an identity late in a lost season. Hunt has progressed to a point where he’s ready to be a head coach, but there must be questions about whether he’s too safe a pick. He may be too familiar of a voice, one that will pick up the pieces of a Karl-centric roster only to push them squarely into the middle. Hunt is a solid candidate but might be too in between a full-on system coach and an old-school motivator.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): My heart says yes, but my head says no. Hunt has had a steadying influence on a team embroiled in tumult — but there’s the rub. This organization has been so topsy turvy the past two years, that I just have no idea what to expect from it. So the question of whether Hunt has earned a full-time gig (and he most likely has) is kind of immaterial when you’re dealing with a team that leaves basketball’s brightest minds wondering, “What happened?“
Roscoe Whalan, (@RoscoeWhalan7): Well, record-wise Melvin Hunt has managed to get this fractured roster playing .500 basketball since he took over the reigns, which says something to his ability. He’s definitely a breath of fresh air following Brian Shaw’s departure but that probably could’ve been achieved by just not suggesting that the players were trying to lose. He’s a long-time Nuggets man and would be a solid appointment but is the franchise interested in taking a safe hit to first or trying for a home-run?
2. What’s the offseason priority for the Nuggets, in terms of their roster?
Yao: The Nuggets need to properly assess where they are before deciding where they’re going. This is something Tim Connelly has spectacularly failed to do since getting the job in 2013. He’s made checkers-style moves — perfectly fine trades and signings in a vacuum — while the rest of the league plays chess and looks on in bewilderment. It’s extremely unclear what the Nuggets are doing — Connelly’s been adamant that the Nuggets are buyers and ready to win since he arrived in Denver. This season it seems he’s turned into a seller and started a rebuild. How much he is willing to follow through with that is a total mystery.
James: For Denver, this offseason is less about filling a particular hole and more about agreeing on a shared vision. This isn’t a team that’s one piece away from where it wants to go — because it has no clue where it’s going. I just hope they find a compass.
Whalan: The Nuggets have an odd mix of veterans and rookies. However, the team has acquired some nice picks in trades during the season. The Nuggets probably needs to cast-off some of its middle-of-the-run veterans and position itself for a complete rebuild.
3. Buy or Sell: The Clippers make the top four in the West by regular season’s end.
Yao: Buy. The Clippers should win 5 of their 6 remaining games, good for 55 wins which I’m predicting will land them in fourth. Blake Griffin is back and the Clippers have been pretty automatic against sub .500 teams. Memphis is their only remaining opponent still playing for something, and the Clippers have pretty good odds of winning out.
James: I also think the Clippers have a great shot at winning 5 of their next 6 games. The problem is the teams in front of them keep winning as well. There’s a potential silver lining to that cloud, though: wouldn’t you rather play the Blazers in a 4-5 matchup than face the Spurs in a 3-6, regardless of who has home-court advantage in either case?
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