The Denver Nuggets Don't Really Run Plays

The Denver Nuggets don't exactly have a reputation of being a well-organized team. This much is obvious. But little did we know that their actual strategy is to be, in interim coach Adrian Dantley's words, "random." In other words, they prefer not to run elaborate plays. I guess it works for them, because they finished third in the league in offensive efficiency, but it's not exactly a ringing endorsement of coaching in this league.

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This is especially true when the Nuggets have a play that works and refuse to run it much because they don't want to get away from being "random." As Kevin Arnovitz of True Hoop writes:

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According to Synergy Sports, the Nuggets have choreographed a pick-and-roll -- then hit the roll man -- 17 times in this series. The results? Nine made baskets, six trips to the free throw line, two missed shot attempts

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That's an 88.2 percent success rate.     

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[...]

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Whatever the scenario, the Nuggets score on 15 of the 17 opportunities, which leaves you with one question:  Why are the Nuggets running this action only four times per game?     

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It's a good question. Mr. Dantley, what say you?

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"That's the way we play," Dantley said. "We've had more success right now with the pick-and-roll, more than 'random,' but our basketball team is known as a 'random' basketball team."

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[...]

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"I'm agreeing with you," Dantley said. "Statistically, we've had success on pick-on-rolls. We've told them that. We want them to do that tomorrow. Hopefully they do it. But, the last five years, we do more 'random' than we do pick-and-roll."     

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In other words, he's saying, "I could tell them to do what works, but they won't listen to me anyway." And you wonder why Denver is probably going to lose a series against a team that has two injured starters. 

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