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Arron Afflalo: Nuggets are ‘a championship team under the right mindset and coaching’

Jul 17, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT

Evan Fournier, Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson Evan Fournier, Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson

The Nuggets – despite losing the Executive of the Year (Masai Ujiri), Coach of the Year (George Karl) and one of their top players (Andre Iguodala) – entered the 2013-14 season with high hopes. To Denver, an 11th straight playoff trip seemed attainable.

But amidst injuries and growing pains under first-time coach Brian Shaw, the Nuggets stumbled to a 36-46 record. It was truly a dissapointing season, even if expectations were probably too high in the first place.

On the other hand, 36-46 must seem amazing at this point to Arron Afflalo, whose Magic went 20-62 and 23-59 his two seasons in Orlando.

Certainly, Afflalo is thrilled to be back in Denver, where the playoffs – even in a stacked Western Conference – are more of an immediate goal than they were with the Magic.

He’s just going a bit overboard in his optimism.

Afflalo, via Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders:

“Being traded for me is a positive experience,” Afflalo told Basketball Insiders. “I really enjoyed my time in Orlando. Rob [Hennigan], Scott [Perry], Coach [Jacque Vaughn], the assistants and all of my teammates really helped me develop as a player and as a person over the past two seasons so I’m very thankful for my opportunity there. I’m happy to be back in Denver, I got some very familiar teammates. I believe this is a championship team under the right mindset and coaching.”

I don’t care whether Shaw does everything possible to model himself after Phil Jackson and every Denver player takes the most-extreme steps possible to duplicate Michael Jordan’s attitude.The Nuggets aren’t winning a championship next season.

For one, players’ mindsets are not as easy to change as many believe. Jordan’s killer instinct was deeply conditioned. Danilo Gallinari can’t just turn that on at Afflalo’s urging.

And Shaw is still learning the ropes as a head coach, and it’s extremely unlikely he makes a huge leap – let alone the jump to championship-caliber – in a single year. That’s OK. When he was hired, it was reasonable to expect he’d need time to develop.

I get why Afflalo, after getting stuck in Orlando, is excited. There’s nothing wrong with innate confidence, either. But he should temper that enthusiasm.

As it stands, he’s just setting up Shaw and his teammates to get blamed when they fall short of unreachable goals.

  1. csbanter - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Afflalo can’t be serious, however if JaVale McGee and Gallo come back strong ,plus they get good play from Gary Harris. They could win some games 44-50.

    • 4thquartermagic - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      Yeah the Nuggets were a 57 win team two years ago and were ousted easily by the Warriors. That squad was much more talented and had better knee ligaments then the Nuggets team of today.

      Nuggets had a window that slammed shut pretty quick. They should’ve tanked like the 76’ers last season.

      • therealhtj - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        Just goes to show what happens when you legalize weed.

      • shanelsweet - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        @ therealhth, Oh, please! We’ve come so far. Let’s not start blaming our newest legal recreational drug for causing anything but more peace and love.

    • chicagosports2014 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      Quincy Miller gott the highest ceiling on the Denver Nuggets.

  2. loubearkane - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I guess if there’s anyone that’d know

  3. themagicfanguy - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    I love how you say he was ‘stuck’ in Orlando like its a bad thing despite it being an attractive destination and it being directly responsible for Afflalo’s career taking off.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      This is an article about Afflalo insisting his new team is a championship contender.

      In the context of a player happy to be on a team that has legitimate playoff expectations, it’s absolutely fair to refer to his years on the lottery-bound Magic as being “stuck” there.

      The Magic had the 3rd worst record in the NBA last year, despite playing in the weak Eastern Conference. They were terrible.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      Also, I wouldn’t say his career “took off” in Orlando. He didn’t make a single All-Star team, and he was traded away by the Magic in exchange for just Evan Fournier, a backup guard, and the 56th overall pick in the 2014 draft.

      Not exactly the most impressive haul, suggesting there wasn’t much of a trade market for him.

    • nilla619 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Lol ya Orlando is so attractive that Shaq wanted out and same with Howard. They are the most relevant but forget all that everyone wants to go there right? Orlando is the little brother to Miami sorry to inform you. Btw Afflalo’s career started taking off in Denver the first time around not in a horrible Magic team where his stats were inflatted a bit

    • csbanter - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      Orlando has become an NBA wasteland. Orlando was hot sh it when Penny, Shaq and 3-D were there since then its been kinda like what Sacramento is today.

      • nickjackalson - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        you forgot nick anderson…

      • realfootballfan - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:17 AM

        Awful management is to blame. Even when Shaq was there, they kept Brian Hill forever and then finally fired him after Shaq left to finally get a real coach in the late great Chuck Daly. Then, Penny runs him off and leaves anyway to come to Phoenix, and they waded in the mud forever from there until the Howard years. We all know the rest of that story.

  4. undagroundnbablogspot - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    I appreciate Afflalo’s mindframe. It’s definitely more refreshing than those who believe you have to have THREE of the top 20 players in the league on your team before you can win a championship, even though there’s like 30 teams now and talent is more diluted. In my opinion just being in the NBA proves that you’re able to compete with anybody else in the league.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      nice post

  5. mp4philly - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Yes, they’re a championship team with the right mindset, coaching and an entirely new roster of players. Preferably championship level players.

  6. antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    Well, hey, if Mine That Bird can win the Kentucky Derby…

  7. 00maltliquor - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    This doesn’t mean nothing, but with all the trades and free agent moves fully updated (obviously without the rookies though) on my 2k14, the game has the Nuggets rated #2 overall. Kinda funny. They are pretty deep and got a lot of pieces.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      That is cool.

      I’m curious who is number one?

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        That was the Spurs. Shocker huh.

  8. zoomy123 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    “Under the right mindset and coaching, I’m a better basketball player than MJ.”

    -Arron Afflalo

  9. realfootballfan - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:14 AM

    I see somebody got into the hard stuff.

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