Here’s what I don’t understand:  If you were to design an NBA team – a realistic composition…not Paul-Bryant-James-Howard-Duncan – what would you want?  

Maybe two premier scorers who both demand a double-team?  One, a prolific wing with good size; the other a wicked penetrator with a devastating first step who can also shoot.  Throw in a center who ranks as one of the best shot blockers and help defenders in the league – and also has a nice 17 foot set shot.  For good measure, let’s also include a brawny post defender who does admirable dirty work.  And a capable bench that includes another scorer, a pesky defender who can cover bigger guys, and a big man who can shoot from the outside.  Absent a show-stopping PG, that’s the definition of a quality NBA team.

So why is Denver in danger of missing the postseason?  Don’t say defense, because this team ranks a solid 10th in defensive efficiency.  All you have to do is look at last night’s game:  Elton Brand couldn’t get any kind of position down on the block.  On the rare instances in which he did in one-on-one coverage, there was an immediate swarm of Nuggets from the weak side.  Consequently, EB showed a good deal of hesitation on his shots – even when he had open looks.

Al Thornton is frustrated.  One of the things that’s happened over the past week is opponents are starting to guard him more diligently off the ball, and neither he or the Clipper offense has adjusted.  In large part, that’s because the focus of the offense has been reintegrating EB into the flow.  But Al needs to learn to be as instinctive away from the play as he is with the ball in his hands.

But back to Denver.  I don't have any answers as to why this team isn't a playoff lock.  It's inexplicable.