Monday, July 9, 2007

Summer League with the Nug-Pups

Here is a little blurb written by a certain young bear (I guess he'll setup his account, once he has time):

I know, I know. It is early July, not the normal time to start fretting or overanalyzing the state of the local round-ball team, the Denver Nuggets. However, for this guy here, the Nuggets’ season never ends, it just evolves. After last season’s tumultuous (to say the least) roller-coaster ride, a quiet, if not boring off-season was probably exactly what George Karl, Melo, AI and company could use.

The Nuggets had no draft picks and despite rampant rumors, they did nothing on draft night to alter their line-up. So the rest of the summer becomes an open tryout for has-beens, D-leaguers, and rookie free-agents. The NBA does all of this “showboating” in the form of summer leagues. Currently the Nuggets are holed up in some swanky joint on the Las Vegas strip. While the usual suspects of Iverson, Anthony, and Nene are assuredly nowhere near Sin City’s city limits, there are a dozen or so men in powder blue and gold repping our loveable Nuggets.

Today marks the start of a series of reports on how this group of pseudo-Nugs is performing. Mainly, my reports will be a chance to see if any of these dudes warrant any shine at the Pepsi Center come November. The names might be completely unknown to the casual fan, but there is one in particular that all around the 303 are unfortunately familiar with, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, or Skita. The former 4th-pick in the draft is back trying to make a roster he started for in the first year of the Jeff Bzdelik (holla Buffs) regime.

Yesterday was game 1 and the Nuggets built a 26-point halftime lead on the LA Clippers before holding on for a 4-point, 108-104 win. Like many teams playing in July, the Nuggets have a few dudes from the “geriatric set.” These are guys a bit past their prime, but still looking to catch on with a team. LaMond Murray (CAL) and Jelani McCoy (UCLA) both were earning NBA checks in the mid-90’s, but are now both unemployed. The tandem led the Nuggets last night, with Murray, a torrid, if not streaky scorer, going for 17 on just nine shots, while the immensely talented, but egregiously underachieving McCoy added 17 and 13 boards.

Two other names who also look to be potential signings should be the aforementioned; Skita (14, 7, and 3 assists) and recent Villanova grad, big man Curtis Sumpter, who added a solid 16 and 6 in just fewer than 15 minutes of action.

The summer league games are viewable on, so if you’re bored, hoops crazed, or some combination of the two, check ‘em out.

I’ll be back through the summer with thoughts on all things Denver sports. As some of you know, I do, occasionally get paid to cover the game of basketball, so my ramblings, thoughts, comments are also available in SLAM Magazine and its website,

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