Coop-a-Loop

 —  December 28, 2004

ESPN is reporting that the Denver Nuggets have fired coach Jeff Bdzelik and given the interim job to former Laker Michael Cooper.

I’m happy for Coop, the former Pasadena City College star, who in recent years coached the Sparks of the WNBA to two league titles and has been eager for an NBA head job for a while (he was a Laker assistant under Magic Johnson and Del Harris). This could be a good one if he can turn the Nuggets around — last year they were everyone’s darlings but this season they are 13-15 and would be out of the playoffs as the 10 seed (they are 2 games back of the Lakers, three in the loss column).

Coop’s got his work cut out for him. While Denver has Nene, Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony, they have no scoring threat from the outside (an eFG% of 39.8% on jump shots, which accounts for 63% of their shots taken). Injuries have slowed them early, but that doesn’t explain why they can’t play defense — teams have an eFG% against them of 49.8%.

“This is tough, but my goal now is to get us playing a little better,” Cooper said. “We’ll concentrate on defense and just try to continue the winning ways this team ended last season and sort of started with at the beginning of the season.”

Maybe Coop can get them to play the kind of shutdown defense and outside shooting he was known for back in the day. I hope so; I’d love to see him succeed.