By: Keith Richards
It’s been a long time. I apologize. I shouldn’t have left you without a dope Mile High Review to vibe to, but we are back now. Suffice it to say, I’m not in the best of moods in relation to some of the sports teams here in Colorado, which we’ll get into here in just a moment. This week we delve into the woes of being a Rockies fan, the inability of the Broncos coaches, and give a player profile of one of my favorite NBA players as the season approaches.
Any fan of the Colorado Rockies has seen this film many times before. It has one of two versions. Version one sees the Rockies start the season on fire. It gives all of us praying for the #QuestForRocktober on the edge of our seats. Then, the wheels come off at the end of the season and everything falls apart. We all profess our love for the team still, but we lament what could have been. Version two is the reverse of that. The season starts off terribly and all hope is lost early on, but then the Rockies go on a run. We get excited only to be let down again. Essentially, we end up in the same position: Lamenting what could have been. This season has been a little different, but the end result is likely to be the same.
This year, our Rockies gave us healthy portions of versions one and two of the team. There were equal parts of peak joy and endless despair that got us to where we are today. As of this morning, the Rockies are currently a game and a half back of the Dodgers in the NL West and a half game back of the Cardinals for the 2nd wild card. The Rockies schedule is very favorable as well. They have six games remaining, which are against the Phillies and the Nationals. If they win out, no doubt they will make the playoffs; however, they’ll likely need help and help is available.
The Cardinals have five games remaining against the Brewers and the Cubs. Anyone who knows baseball will tell you that the NL Central is not too far removed from being arguably the best division in baseball. It’s actually given the NL West a run for its money this season. Speaking of the NL West, the Dodgers have a much better go of it with their remaining games against the Diamondbacks and Giants. So, the Rockies are at the mercy of the Cardinals and their much more difficult remaining schedule. As marijuana is legal here in the great state of Colorado, the dispensaries will either be busy with happy customers looking to celebrate or depressed customers looking to forget what could have been. Only time will tell.
This week marked one of the unofficial beginnings of the NBA season with Media Day. So, if you don’t follow me on Twitter (@5280Keith) or listen to my podcast (#CrossingTheLine on #NBSRadio with @NutsAndBoltsSP) then you would be unaware of my 2nd biggest NBA man-crush. First and foremost, LeBron James is my boo. Then comes my sidechick: Nikola Jokic. I will readily admit that there is plenty of bias here, but just because there is bias it doesn’t make me wrong. This kid is special.
Coming into his fourth year, this 23-year-old out of Serbia is the engine that powered the sixth best offense in the NBA last season. In his first three years, Jokic has steadily increased his scoring from 10 PPG to 16.7 PPG to 18.5 PPG. Fouling him is not a great idea as he shoots from the charity stripe at 83.5% for his career. Nikola has also averaged 9.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game for his career thus far. Last year, he had 10 triple doubles and 38 double-doubles.
Jokic is a stat stuffer, team player, and a natural leader. If Millsap can stay healthy, the Nuggets have a great chance to make a serious run in the playoffs this season. The addition of Porter Jr. should only help; in addition to a healthy, MVP like Isaiah Thomas. The future is bright for #MileHighBasketball fans.
It’s three weeks into the NFL season and #BroncosCountryis in full panic mode. In other words, we’re right on schedule. After its first loss to the Ravens on Sunday, the Broncos are right where they left off last season, which is to say they are completely lost. There have been improvements over last season. The ungodly terrible run offense from last season currently ranks 3rd in the NFL at 144.7 yards per game. A lot of this has to do with the combo attack of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. There has been improvement in the pass game but that still only ranks 16th in the league. There are two real issues with the Broncos and it’s as clear as day: coaching and management.
Let’s start with management. Specifically, let’s start with John Elway. When John Elway first came back to Denver, he was a savior. He acquired DeMarcus Ware and Peyton Manningto kickstart the offense, then he set the foundations for the No Fly Zone when signing TJ Ward and Aqib “Don’t Shoot” Talib. Since then, it’s all gone south. Elway failed to keep Wade Phillips, he didn’t properly pursue (or even consider) Kyle Shannon, and his draft choices have been questionable at best (see my previous gripes about Paxton Lynch). Most importantly, and directly correlating to the coaching issue, Elway has failed to fill much-needed holes in the defense. Now, let’s talk about the coaching.
As alluded to above, Elway has done the coaching staff no favors in the draft. If I’m being honest, I was never a fan of the coaching choices, but I digress. At the end of the day, though, the job of a coach is to work with what they’re given. Vance Joseph has failed miserably at this aspect of his job. While he does not have the exact tools he needs, he still has plenty of tools that he could repurpose. The play calling is a disaster. The defense has holes that VJ seems completely inept at trying to cover. Most importantly, he has one of the most talented secondaries in the league and they are being torched. John Elway should know how impatient Denver sports fans are and I’m officially putting Mr. Elway on the hot seat.
That’s all for this week. Be sure to check back next week as I will continue to profile Nuggets players, and hopefully I will be in a good mood concerning the Rockies. Don’t forget to check out me out on Twitter at @5280Keith and check out the amazing content of Nuts and Bolts Sports at the locations below:
Random Colorado Fact:
John Henry “Doc” Holliday’s brief and tumultuous existence led him to Glenwood Springs where he succumbed to tuberculosis and died at the Hotel Glenwood on November 8, 1887. (www.50states.com)