If you’re a Denver Nuggets fan, it’s been an exciting week.

That’s not a phrase that could be applied to the Nuggets many times over the past two years, but a 2-2 stretch, including competitive losses to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs and the vying to be this year’s champs Houston Rockets featured some of the most entertaining basketball the Nuggets have played in, heck, a few years.


Not everyone thinks that’s a good thing. There was a reason the Nuggets bombed hard in the playoffs all those years, and that now departed head coach Brian Shaw was hired to change the way the Nuggets generated offense and move away from the run-and-gun style that defined the Karl years. It didn’t work out under Shaw, but the execution (or personnel), not the idea, may have been the bigger problem.

But it’s easy, for now, to forget all about that, at least for a moment. Because the Nuggets are fun to watch again, whether or not they win or lose.

Ty Lawson, with an assist from spark-plug Will Barton, is pushing the pace after every opposition miss. It’s been like watching a sports car finally pop into fifth gear. Gone are the painful Kenneth Faried post ups – instead, he’s doing stuff like this:

The fact that the Nuggets look radically different could be considered an indictment of Shaw, or of the effort/attitude, or the locker room. There’s enough blame to go around for everybody, but under interim head coach Melvin Hunt, the team seems to have relaxed, and is playing together again. The toxic atmosphere that existed around the team looks like it’s cleared, at least for the time being. And, most importantly, the Nuggets are moving again.

“We’re going to build upon some of the things we already started, but we’re going to be creative. We’re going to do whatever we need to do to win games,” said Hunt in his opening press conference last week. “We’re going to run with a purpose. We’re going to always try to run. We’ve got these great mountains out here, and we’re going to try to utilize that atmosphere. We’re going to try to use that to our advantage.”

Giving the fans what they want is obviously high on team president Josh Kroenke’s priority list. If the Nuggets would have been best served long-term by losing as many games as possible and climbing up the tank rankings, firing Shaw and installing Hunt wasn’t the way to go. Best bet is that the three-quarters empty Pepsi Center and disgruntled fan base accelerated the move. Tanking is clearly not on the Nuggets agenda, and Hunt has the team playing hard again and trying to win.

“We’re all in this together. It comes down to us having a synergy, a single-minded focus going in one direction. It’s not about pointing fingers,” said Hunt. “It’s about going out and giving these fans what they want, and I think we’ll be able to do that.”

Winning a few games isn’t such a bad thing either. It’s just as important to the health of the franchise long-term to show the rest of the NBA that Lawson and Faried are still effective contributors when employed properly – either for Denver to build around or as possible trade candidates this off-season – and so far Hunt has been able to do that.

Of course, all of these good vibes could end if the Nuggets start getting blown out every night again. But right now, even in losses, the Nuggets are finally have fun.


And it’s finally a good time to watch them again.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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