Tis the season for resolutions.
At the start of every new year, people set goals for themselves, mapping out plans to improve in some way, shape or form during the next 12 months. For an example of this phenomenon, visit any gym in the next couple of weeks; it’ll be teeming with people who have vowed to shed a few pounds or get into shape.
A month from now, however, most of those lofty aspirations will have gone by the wayside. According to some reports, as few as eight percent of people manage to keep their New Year’s resolution. Typically, this is the result of the goal being too grandiose; after a while, reality sets in and good intentions get vetoed in favor of reality.
Thus, when sitting down to come up with a list of resolutions for the local sports teams, making the goals attainable was part of the thought process. They can’t be too easy, as that would defeat the purpose, but they also can’t be so challenging that there’s no reasonable way of reaching them.
Each signifies an improvement, a step in a positive direction. And each is doable, within the calendar year.
Without further ado, here are 2020 resolutions for Denver’s pro sports teams:
Be willing to go all in. There’s no doubt that the Avalanche have a talent-laden roster. It’s a great mix of homegrown stars, savvy veterans and youngsters with bright futures. But Joe Sakic and Company can’t fall in love with their own roster; they have to be willing to add pieces if necessary.
Based on the team’s recent play, they aren’t quite ready to compete for a Stanley Cup. Yes, they have an impressive 23-13-4 record overall, but the Avs are just 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. They’re scuffling a bit, a sign that maybe they aren’t quite a finished product.
There’s no reason to believe that Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen can’t be centerpieces of a championship team. Offseason additions like Joonas Donskoi and Nazem Kadri will certainly help the cause. And a rising star like Cale Makar will be a part of the organization for a decade to come.
But more could be added. At the moment, the Avalanche have the lowest cap figure in the entire NHL for this season, with more than $13 million in current cap space. That’s more than enough room to make some additions.
At this season’s trade deadline, Colorado needs to be looking to upgrade. And this summer, they should be doing the same thing. The Avs are in a championship window; that’s why they need to be willing to go all in.
Keep Nolan Arenado. That sounds like a no-brainer, given that the third baseman is one of the best players in all of baseball. But this offseason has been filled with rumor after rumor about the Rockies shopping the five-time All-Star.
From a baseball standpoint, it actually makes sense to consider offers. After all, parlaying a player like Arenado is one of the best ways for a mid-market team like Colorado to build a roster for the future. Given that they’re never going to be big spenders in free agency – a game that is reserved for teams in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – loading up on prospects and hoping they blossom at the same time in the future is a prudent course of action.
There’s no doubt that Arenado would bring a haul in return. He’s the best defensive third baseman in baseball, while arguably the best hitter at his position, as well. And since the Rockies don’t appear to be anywhere near ready to compete for the World Series, forcing him to languish on a bad team seems like bad business in multiple ways.
But Arenado is different. He’s the best player in the history of the franchise. If Larry Walker doesn’t get elected to Cooperstown this year, Arenado will someday become the first Rockie to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. That makes him untradeable.
Some players are too important to be treated like everyone else. That’s why the Rockies need to keep Nolan Arenado.
Embrace Drew Lock. It’s okay to praise the young quarterback. There’s nothing wrong with declaring that he’s the team’s starter moving forward. Everyone else is already doing it. Get on board.
Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr. have had glowing reviews of Lock. They gush about him, saying how promising the future is in Denver because the team finally has a quarterback. If it’s good enough for those two all-time greats, it should be good enough for John Elway, Vic Fangio and everyone else within the organization.
The Broncos shouldn’t flirt with the idea of going with a veteran quarterback in 2020. They’ve already tried that path, multiple times, and it’s failed miserably. Joe Flacco has to go. And players like Andy Dalton or Teddy Bridgewater shouldn’t be a consideration this offseason.
It’s time to commit to a signal caller who has the potential to be behind center for the next decade. It’s time to embrace Drew Lock.
Make Michael Porter Jr. a starter. Yes, he’s only played 24 games in his NBA career, after sitting out his first year with the Nuggets as he recovered from various injuries. And without a doubt, there are still a lot of holes in the forward’s game.
At times, he gets lost on offense, hovering outside the three-point line and watching the action. And he’s still a defensive liability on occasion, still learning how to guard bigger and stronger players at the NBA level.
But as he demonstrated last week in his lone start as a pro, Porter has tantalizing ability. Against the Kings, the forward scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting. That type of efficiency is hard to ignore, as Porter has an ability to score in bunches.
The Nuggets have been plagued at times this season by an offense that bogs down. Another weapon, especially one who stands 6-foot-10 and can score from any point on the floor, would help them alleviate that issue. Porter’s presence on the court will help with spacing, making everyone more effective.
Undoubtably, there will be some growing pains. But the reality is the current version of the Nuggets aren’t good enough to win a championship. They aren’t ready to compete with star-studded teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Rockets. The only way out of their current conundrum is for Porter to develop.
Denver needs to take one step forward in order to take multiple steps forward. And there’s no time like the present, as they’re just delaying the inevitable. It’s time to go all in on the kids. It’s time to make Michael Porter Jr. a starter.
That’s it. If the big four teams in the Mile High City would do these things in the next 12 months, the franchises would be better off. And the fans would be getting what they deserve.
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