The Nuggets have an incredible offense. Proof of that was their 168-point effort in the rout over the Sonics the other night. The problem is that they don't play any defense. And I mean, not at all. It wasn't too long ago that they were playing decent defense, good enough at least for their prolific offense.
Tonight against the Pistons, quite simply, their defense was laughable. I couldn't believe what I was watching, it was as if they were playing in the all-star game. I've seen guys at the Y play harder defense. This is what Nuggets head coach George Karl said after the game,
“We have a defensive personality that is a little scary right now—we’re giving up a lot of points to everyone,” Karl said. “If you had told me we’d shoot 60 percent and score 120 against the Detroit Pistons, I would have been happy, but we need to find some pride on defense.”
Here are some low-lights of the porous Nuggets defense from the first half (when I had to turn it off or risk losing my sanity),
As you can tell, it really bugs me to see really bad defense. It shows a real lack of team effort. I can always tell teams that work hard in practice, they come out and show it on the defensive end. It didn't matter what the Nuggets tried all night, M2M, zone, they simply weren't hustling. There was no pressure on the ball, no rebounding, no transition defense. Here are some numbers to chew on. Pistons shoot 55-for-91 (60%), 12-for-20 from 3pt (60%), total rebounds 40-22 for Detroit (14 offensive rebounds). Just scary numbers.
This screenshot pretty much sums it all for me. All 5 Nuggets basically just stand there and wait for Rip Hamilton to shoot a wide open 3. Not 1 defender even gestured to make a play on him,
With the playoffs drawing nearer and 2 games behind Golden State, the Nuggets will not go anywhere unless they pick up defensively. To me, there really is no excuse to not show up defensively, especially as a professional. Imagine being paid for only doing half of your job responsibilities.
There is a brand new defensive video out, Larry Shyatt's DVD on Developing a Defensive Mindset. Coach Shyatt is an assistant to Billy Donovan at the University of Florida. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.