Colorado State Professional Sports Teams in 2015 – The Denver Post


Denver Post reporters take a look at the team they cover and how close they are to winning a championship.

Colorado Rockies

Save: 21-26 Last appearance in the playoffs: 2009

Championships won: Nothing

Tendency : On the spot. The Rockies have averaged 69 wins over the past four seasons. They are on track for 72 wins this year.

Talent level: The Rockies have a top-five roster when everyone is healthy and hitting, which hasn’t happened often this season. The Rockies struggle over the mound – again. Their enclosure, significantly improved from last season, still ranks near the bottom of the league in ERA and WHIP. And their starting rotation is a mix of newcomers and oversized veterans.

Ownership: No other team owner in Denver is criticized more than Dick Monfort. His famous “If the product and the experience are so bad, don’t come! The email sent to a fan last year may finally take hold. Attendance is down this year and fans seem to have almost given up.

In the best case, how far to win everything? Suppose the Rockies add two starting pitchers at the top of the rotation and two flamethrower relievers before next season. Also, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are back in great shape. And the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres aren’t spending the Rockies off the map. The Rockies could qualify for the playoffs in 2016, and once you hit the playoffs anything can happen. Is it realistic? No, but the Kansas City Royals used a stellar reliever box and creative, athletic attack to make it to the World Series last year as American League champions. The Rockies had a World Series run in 2007 with a competent reliever box and an incredible winning streak late in the season. It is therefore possible. But your glasses have too much of a purple tint if you think the Rockies are going to be in a fight anytime soon. Nick Groke, The Denver Post


Denver Broncos

Save: 12-4 in 2014

Last appearance in the playoffs: 2014

Championships won: Two Super Bowl titles, 1997 and 1998 seasons

Tendency : Down. Because they employ a 39-year-old quarterback and new coaching staff with an unproven offensive line, the Broncos have lost their place among the AFC’s elite teams. For now, the Patriots and Colts are ahead of them.

Talent level: The Pro Bowlers grace the roster on both sides of the ball. Peyton Manning remains among the top quarterback. He falls out of bed and wins 11 games. The defense has a potential MVP candidate in edge pass rusher Von Miller and one of the NFL’s top tandems at cornerback Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. The success of the team might depend on answering questions about the defensive and offensive lines.

Ownership: Ownership of the team has remained in trust since Pat Bowlen publicly revealed he has Alzheimer’s disease. Bowlen’s motto has long been “be good at everything”. The focus has not changed with team president Joe Ellis, who heads day-to-day operations.

In the best case, how farto win everything? The Broncos have things in common with championship teams. Ownership is everything. Denver has a bold GM in John Elway, who is just as determined to win the Super Bowl as an executive as he was as a Hall of Fame quarterback. Manning is receiving the benefit of the doubt – as it should – given his Hall of Fame resume, maniacal work ethic, and attention to detail. But the Broncos’ questions on the offensive line make it impossible to claim they’re better than they were in Manning’s previous two seasons. The window isn’t closed on this group of Broncos, but only bursts of light escape. Troy E. Renck, The Denver Post


Denver Nuggets

Save: 30-52 in 2014-15

Last appearance in the playoffs: 2013

Championships won: Nothing

Tendency : Down. After winning 57 games and finishing third in the NBA Western Conference standings in 2012-13, the Nuggets have struggled, having won just 66 games in the past two seasons. They fired Brian Shaw in March after a season and a half with him as a coach and are looking for a new coach.

Talent level: A look at ESPN player efficiency ratings says it all. The highest-rated nugget is point guard Ty Lawson, who registers at No.60 in the NBA. Kenneth Faried, a forward, occupies two places after that in 62nd place. Lawson and Faried have proven to be good players, and Faried is only scratching the surface of the player he can be. But the overall talent of the team needs to be improved. Denver holds the No.7 pick in the June 25 NBA Draft.

Ownership: Stan Kroenke owns the Nuggets and his son Josh leads the team. Basketball is in their blood and they have a strong desire to win. They have shelled out a lot of money for players in the past.

At best, how far away from winning it all? In a perfect world, the Nuggets would get LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love in free agency, add them to the player they drafted seventh overall, and be on the fast track to becoming a rival team. But that will not happen. The Nuggets have a few hurdles ahead of them. First, they play in the Western Conference, which is always ultra-difficult. But they have the added challenge of finding the right person at the trainer, redoing the list, and making all of those new pieces work and grow together. A return to the playoffs could be at least two seasons away, let alone any sort of championship race. Christopher Dempsey, The Denver Post


Colorado Avalanche

Save: 39-31-12 in 2014-15

Last appearance in the playoffs: 2014 (eliminated in Game 7, first round)

Championships won: Two Stanley Cup titles, 1996 and 2001

Tendency : Next to. The Avs were a surprise team in the playoffs a year ago and a disappointment last season when they failed to return. They have around $ 10 million to spend on free will or in exchange by not re-signing unrestricted free defenders Jan Hejda and Ryan Wilson and forward Daniel Brière. Those players aren’t expected to return, and Colorado will sign at least one high-priced defenseman.

Talent level: The Avs were the only team in the NHL with six 50-point scorers, but none reached 60 points. It’s hard to see why the power play was rather mediocre despite a plethora of excellent offensive players. Colorado needs to improve defensively, mainly by moving the puck out of Zone D and onto the ice.

Ownership: Josh Kroenke is spending – the Avs had one of the top five rosters at times last season. Star forwards Gabe Landeskog and Matt Duchene and goalkeeper Semyon Varlamov are stranded long term. The Avs will likely be among the biggest spenders in the league again; Kroenke appears determined to form a team in the playoffs.

At best, how far away from winning it all? The Avs must consistently win the shots for, shots against battle before they can qualify for the second round of the playoffs. They spend too much time defending and not enough time in the offensive zone. The difference from the 2013-14 playoff season and last season was a drop in goaltending and power-play percentage and a record number of injuries. These things will sort themselves out, but the blue line needs to improve for Avs to truly be a title contender. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post


Colorado Rapids

Save: 2-3-7 Saturday entry

Last appearance in the playoffs: 2013 (eliminated in the first game)

Championships won: One, in 2010

Tendency : One way to go, and let’s go. Things will get better as the Rapids have played better than their results suggest and have just brought in two new forwards from abroad with solid pedigrees.

Talent level: The Rapids created plenty of scoring chances. The problem has been to “finish”, which means to take advantage of these chances. If new forwards Kevin Doyle and Luis Solignac can score a few goals, this team could become competitive. The back line and the goalie were good; the midfielder is solid.

Ownership: MLS created the salary exemption for “designated players” in 2007 so that Los Angeles could recruit England superstar David Beckham and other teams could bring in other high-priced international talent. It took six years for the Rapids to sign their first DP, but they’ve signed two since February (Doyle and Juan Ramirez).

Team president Tim Hinchey said the Rapids had “dramatically increased” ticket and sponsorship revenue in recent years. It helped convince owners to spend more on gamers. “Josh (Kroenke) has been more involved in the past six months than he’s been in my four years (here),” Hinchey said.

In the best case, how far From win everything? Soccer is a fun game. A team can control a game for 89 minutes and lose. A team can warm up at the end of a season, make it into the playoffs and win a title, like Colorado did in 2010. If Doyle and Solignac are the real deal, that team could be dangerous. Otherwise, he could continue to sputter in the doldrums. John Meyer, The Denver Post


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Sara R. Cicero