Is Renaldo Balkman the key to the Denver Nuggets having playoff success in 2009?
He just might be. Over at Sports on My Mind (SOMM), they’re raising some important points about why some “sexy” teams could stumble in the postseason. Check it out. I’m a huge fan of Kenyon Martin but he has been injured frequently enough that the Nuggets may need to look in another direction.
Balkman’s Style Can Make You Lose Your Cool
Denver would be better off playing Balkman more minutes. They have more than enough offense on that team. His presence on the court would allow them to focus their touches on the two players most capable of scoring — and he would open the floor for them.
PER is as flawed as any other statistic, but it seems perfectly suited to quantify the work that Balkman does. Relatively speaking, his rating (16.9 and fifth on the team behind Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Nene and Chris Andersen) confirms (or at least suggests) that the Nuggets would be better served by getting him on the floor. Balkman is 10th on the team in minutes played. Moreover, the NBA also has this stat cruncher that pulls the +/- ratings of combinations of players. The best combinations for the Nuggets include a healthy Kenyon Martin, but with his status — Balkman has proven to be the next best thing.
Every team needs a guy like that. Denver has one – but seemingly don’t want to go there. In games where he plays about 18 minutes or more, the Nuggets are 19-3. In the other games, they’re 18-11.