Nuggets: Wrong guard, fellas

Published: January 2, 2014, 5:59 pm, by Paul Klee

Unless the coach deserves it, it’s not a good thing when a player shouts at a coach.

So Andre Miller got a two-game suspension.

But if Andre Miller is your problem, you don’t have many problems. Judging by the ugliest stretch of Nuggets basketball since the 2002-03 season, they do.

So Miller isn’t one of their biggest problems. He’s a 15-year veteran who must be doing something right to stick around that long and, so we don’t forget, is the reason the Nuggets didn’t lose in five games to the Warriors, instead of six.

Meanwhile, Nate Robinson is on his fifth team in four seasons. He dances with mascots and tosses a football during basketball practice.  Which do you want in your backcourt — the guy who ranks among the NBA’s top 10 in career assists, or the guy who frolics with Rocky the Super Mascot?

Cute? Sure. Smart, before playing the Heat? You be the judge.

The Nuggets are not in a position where they must choose between Miller and Robinson, of course. It’s not one or the other. Prior to the team’s recent freefall, the Nuggets’ bench was a pleasant surprise. It didn’t make any sense, but a bench with Miller, Robinson and Jordan Hamilton actually was better on defense than the starters.

But the Nuggets are in the process of reshaping their philosophy. It will be a long process. Part of the process is building a tough-minded culture as suitable for the playoffs as it is in the regular season. Coach Brian Shaw talks about creating a culture fairly often. He owns championship rings and knows the importance of a winning culture. 

I tend to think gyrating with the mascot, minutes before tipoff against the world champ, smack in the middle of an extended losing streak, isn’t part of a winning culture. Maybe that’s just me.

To be fair, this isn’t the first time Miller was bummed about playing time. He told me last season, in this column, he wanted more minutes.

But if building a winning culture is a top priority for the Nuggets, is the veteran really the problem? Not as much as another guard, who seemed to think the sold-out crowd at Pepsi Center on Monday was there to see him, not LeBron James.

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette