http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/03/13/whats-gotten-into-the-denver-nuggets-since-firing-brian-shaw/It took four months, but the Denver Nuggets have a pulse again.
Ever since relieving Brian Shaw of his head coaching duties on March 3rd — or, mercifully firing him before any more reports of his reading habits emerge — the Nuggets have gone 4-2, punctuated with a thrashing of the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. And the final score in that game, 115-102, does not do justice to how the Nuggets held a 20-plus-point lead for much of the night.
What’s changed since interim coach Melvin Hunt took charge of the team? If you ask combo guard Randy Foye, it all starts with pace.
“We’re going,” Foye told reporters after routing the Hawks. “Ty (Lawson’s) pushing it. Kenneth (Faried) is running for alley-oops and dunks. And then you have those three-point shooters. It’s basically pick your poison, and that’s the difference. It’s more of a sense of urgency to run.”
With Shaw at the helm, the Nuggets had the league’s fifth-fastest pace, averaging 98.36 possessions per 48 minutes, according to NBA.com. But in the six-game stretch with Hunt, Denver is up to the league’s third-fastest pace, averaging 100.20 possessions per 48 minutes. It’s easy to chalk that minor difference up to small-sample-size theater, yet it bears watching as Hunt’s tenure continues to unfold. This particular Nuggets roster is built for a run-and-gun style of play, especially in the thin-air confines of the Pepsi Center, and Hunt appears eager to embrace his players’ strengths accordingly.