It never fails when the offseason starts in the NBA, either one or two things happen. Fans either a) overvalue their teams or b) they undervalue them.
And in the Denver Nuggets case, most fans are undervaluing their squad right now. The Nuggets were eliminated barely a month ago and during that time their fans are asking for drastic changes – some going as far as blowing up the squad. That reason right there is why the closest most of us get to owning a team is our fantasy squad.
You very rarely blow up a team that won 53 games and especially one, which is one year removed from the Western Conference Finals. However, you do tweak it and the best way to tweak it is look where you want to be – raising the trophy at the championship. While very few teams can compare to the Lakers, who have by far the best coach and best player in the League. But the Nuggets are very similar to the Celtics.
- BRYANT VS. PIERCE=ANTHONY – Carmelo Anthony is a top-10 NBA player and the best way for him to make the next step is watching Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce in this series. Bryant and Anthony are two of the top scorers in the NBA, but very rarely do they get the respect they deserve from the officials. Especially compared to players like Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. However, that is what sets these two part, when the calls don’t go Kobe’s way he comes back and plays defense. Anthony on the other hand, lets the calls go to his head and makes mental errors. Whether it is forcing a play on offense and turning the ball over or falling asleep on defense. And this is also where Anthony can learn from Pierce’s game too. Anthony and Pierce are compared to each other very often, but Pierce is a better shooter and Anthony is a better scorer. But Pierce also tries to get his teammates involved, while Anthony too often tries to go one-on-one. If Melo can see what works for Bryant and Pierce, he will quite possibly be facing both of the stars in the playoffs next year.
- TY LAWSON THE NEXT RONDO? – Okay these two young point guards have two completely different games. However, their mentality is the same. Remember back when the Celtics beat the Lakers in 2008? Remember how Rondo was an afterthought compared to the Big Three? Now Rondo is a top 10 point guard and is becoming the new face of Boston. Lawson can become that person for the Nuggets, at least when Billups retires. Lawson’s rookie year was far better than Rondo’s and Lawson has proven that he not only wants to get better -but he also wants to win. The same attributes that Rondo had three years ago.
- THE VETERAN LEADER – What Chauncey Billups is to the Nuggets is what Kevin Garnett is to the Celtics and while KG has obviously lost a step in the league, Billups is still a year away from losing his form. But where each is most valuable is in the locker room or down the stretch of a game. They both want to win and also know how to as well. They will lead their team as far as they can, but will also ask for more than their teammates at the same time.
- YOUNG D-STOPPERS – At the youthful age of 26, Kendrick Perkins is making a name for himself as a tough and physical defender in the post. He made life miserable for Dwight Howard in the Eastern Conference Finals and is doing the same against Andrew Bynum (even though he’ll most likely guard Pau Gasol in Game 2) in the NBA Finals. Well, Arron Afflalo is also developing the same image as a perimeter defender. AAA defends the opposing teams top scorers and makes them work, while also staying out of foul trouble. While it was his first year he actually got playing time, expect Afflalo to earn respect from officials as he continues to grow. One advantage Afflalo has over Perkins is he also provides a little offense, it is pulling up for a three-pointer or driving to the basket.
- ALLEN AND BIG BABY – This is where the comparisons stop between the two squads, and it isn’t exactly a bad thing -per say. Nene is an underrated defenders and is still developing offensively, Kenyon Martin is still one of the top defenders in the league and JR Smith is about as explosive of a player as they come. However, the Nuggets need a Ray Allen-type shooter. Somebody that consistently create his own outside shot and make defenders pay – CONSTANTLY. The closest thing the Nuggets have to Glen Davis is Joey Graham, but Graham isn’t always a useful threat off the bench. He is more along the line of Tony Allen, as somebody you can’t rely on all the time.
- IDEAL LINEUP – Could a lineup of—-Nene, Michael Beasley, Anthony, Afflalo, Billups, Chris Andersen, Jason Maxiell, Tayshaun Prince, Roger Mason, Ty Lawson—- compete with the Lakers? Maybe, but it would be better and deeper than this year’s squad.