Have you ever worked at a job that you simply had because of a paycheck? It doesn't matter how old you are or how meaningless the job is. You could have worked in retail, McDonalds or even as a door-to-door salesperson trying to sell vacuums. You don't like what you're doing but you need money to go out at night when you're in college or you realize that the light bill isn't going to pay for itself and you're too old to ask mom and dad for a loan at this point of your life.
Which transitions me to the Denver Nuggets. This is a team that, while not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, has already started planning their summer trips around the world.
According to Chris Dempsey, of the Denver Post, players on the Nuggets were chanting "1-2-3… six weeks" before they broke the huddle in the fourth quarter of a 104-82 loss to the Utah Jazz Friday night. What does that mean? Well, there are approximately six weeks left for NBA teams before the regular season ends. Once that happens they're free to do whatever they want in the offseason. So, essentially their breaking a huddle with a chant that's the same as a student looking at the clock midway through class to see how much longer until they can go home.
Now, in I'm not someone who sits atop a high horse and says that players get paid lucrative contracts and, therefore, should give it their all every play or that players should never take a play off. I get that players have bad days and sometimes you don't feel up for a game in the middle of the season. Sometimes you know there won't be playoff games in the future and you lose focus. It happens.
However, you have to be better at hiding your displeasure. Cameras see every time a player jaws back and forth with an opponent and every time someone on the bench loses their minds after a third three-pointer in a row. There are even cameras in some arenas that track how many miles players run in a given game to see how well their conditioning is and what they need to work on for the next game. Everybody sees everything that you do. You can't beak the huddle with a clear statement that you want nothing more than to go home. Fans will lose their minds with that.
It stinks the most for Nuggets fans. Now that thinly veiled blissful ignorance is gone. This is the same team that made the playoffs two years ago in a competitive Western Conference with promising players like Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried. They may not have been the best team in the West, but at least they were fun to watch and looked like they enjoyed themselves.
Then, George Karl was fired after the season. Then, Andre Iguodala, left to play for the Golden State Warriors, Masai Ujiri left for Toronto and Pete D'Alessandro left for Sacramento and all of a sudden that promising future was gone.
Now, that run and gun high pace team was converted into a more traditional offense with Bryan Shaw. The personnel wasn't taking to it to well. The season after everyone left the team won only 36 games (21 games fewer than the previous year) and their points per game went from first in the NBA in 2013 to ninth last year to 18th this year. Do you see where I'm going with this?
There were rumors of arguing between the players and the coaches but those things happen every time a team struggles. We just saw it with Rajon Rondo and Rick Carlisle in Dallas and Kobe Bryant has a PhD in yelling with people he works with.
Then one report from Rachel Nichols surfaced earlier this year that Shaw was reading a book about how to relate to millennials (people born around the year 2000). He had grown impatient with the team and resorted to books about how to get through to them.
At that point you could have probably seen the Titanic iceberg ahead for this team. Now you have the holy trinity of dysfunction. The players don't want to play for their coach, the coach doesn't know how to coach the players and you have to believe the fans are going to turn on the team now. Well, at least the state of Colorado has legalized other ways for their residents to pass the time…
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