Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets
6:00 p.m. PST
December 19, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Randy Foye, breaking hearts everywhere.
1. The Nuggets have had streaks in either direction. Which team are they in actuality?
David Walker, Roundball Mining, (@JDavidwalker): The Nuggets are a little bit of both, they’re neither real threats in the West or bottom feeders. They’re deep enough to challenge anybody on the right night, especially if they’re at home, but they’re not nearly consistent enough for them to be competitive regularly.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Closer to the bottom than the top. Denver isn’t necessarily on the Lakers’ or Wolves’ level, but it does seriously lack an identity and, mostly importantly, talent.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): They’re not a playoff team, that much is clear. In previous years, they’ve been able to offset road mediocrity with the help of a notorious home-court advantage (elevation, hosting many teams on road back-to-backs), but this year, they’re only 6-6 at Pepsi Center. I think the clearest picture of them is the one we got here.
2. Should Wilson Chandler be the Clippers’ No. 1 target on the trade market?
Walker: Given Chandler’s reasonable contract, that also happens to be non-guaranteed for next year , I’d say he’s likely to be the target of any competitive teams in need of a wing. Chandler has always been a somewhat frustrating player given all the various skills he possesses on offense. But this season, the threes are going down, his post game is reliable and he has a good enough handle to beat larger forwards off the dribble. He’s a tad shaky on defense but athletic enough to be useful in a good system.
Katz: Yes. Chandler hasn’t often been used to his strengths on the offensive end, considering he’s consistently been on underwhelming teams throughout his career. Imagine him in the Matt Barnes role: nailing threes from the corner (he’s consistently well over 40 percent on corner threes), occasionally handling the ball and creating secondary options off plays for J.J. Redick. On top of that, he’d become the best wing defender on the team upon his arrival.
James: He’s the most obvious fit: a strong small forward who can defend and shoot (dude has an effective field goal percentage of 73 on open shots!). If the Clippers can do this while keeping Matt Barnes (say, parting with Jamal Crawford and Reggie Bullock), they’d suddenly have two solid wing defenders. And “make Barnes beat you” would no longer be a viable strategy for opponents.
3. What’s the key matchup in this one?
Walker: Likely CP3 versus Ty Lawson. Lawson has logged a ridiculous amount of minutes, playing nearly forty minutes in five of Denver’s last six games. The offense is almost completely ineffective with Lawson off the court, but the minutes he has been logging of late are starting to add up late in games. A worn-down Lawson set to face off with Chris Paul doesn’t spell good things for Denver.
Katz: Randy Foye vs. the Clippers. How many game-winning, buzzer-beater threes can Foye hit?
James: Blake Griffin against the Nuggets logjam of big guys. Kenneth Faried is day-to-day, and JaVale McGee is out, but the Nuggets still have Mozgov and Arthur to throw at Griffin. Technically, they also have J.J. Hickson, who’s a bad defender, but often gets animated against L.A. It could be fun, ugly, or both.