Fizer's Take: Denver Nuggets
The team that no one saw coming. That's what I describe the Denver Nuggets last season. With all the commotions about the Spurs, Mavericks and Hornets to battle the top of the West, all eyes were left out for the Nuggets team who many said, they aren't getting past the first round again. Especially when they gave away shot-blocking expert, Marcus Camby for a bunch of peanuts. Camby was the only defensive presence the team had. Ever since the team "luckily" drafted Carmelo Anthony back in 2003, they had made a playoff appearance but couldn't ever get past the quarterfinals. The turning point happened so early last season when the Denver Nuggets decided to give up Allen Iverson for hometown hero Chauncey Billups, who makes his second stint with the Nuggets. The move proved to be critical of the direction on where the organization is going to as they started to win their games one by one by one. Thanks to Billups' leadership and defensive aura, all of the players' game went up. Carmelo has improved his defense, JR is starting to take good shots, Nene and K-Mart are back in their healthy form, Chris Andersen provided so much energy off the bench by his defense and rebounding, all these things gave the Denver Nuggets an extra push towards the playoffs, a 54-win season and a #2 seeding heading into the playoffs. In the first round, they met the under-achieving New Orleans Hornets who many expected to win more games than they should have especially when Chris Paul was having an MVP season last 2007-08. The Nuggets easily beat the Hornets with the use of their defense INCLUDING the game 4 in which they held the New Orleans to 64 points, yeah, that's right 64. Chris Paul was held to his worst game of his young career. The Nuggets proved that they are serious contenders by dominating their opponents at home. The Dallas Mavericks were no threat to them at all. They dispatched their foes in 5 games leaving Mark Cuban calling cheapshot names to some Nuggets players. But the team would move on a date with Kobe and the Lakers. In their tough match-up with the Lakers, which included cheapshots from Dahntay Jones and physical plays from JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers proved to be too tough for them as they were eliminated in 6 games. Still, nobody complained. Not after Chauncey Billups and Melo help this team as far as they could. Nobody expected them to be fighting for contention but they did. This makes the Nuggets a dangerous team come 2009-10. The Nuggets have been trading their draft picks lately and I guess the reason was to save money and prefer to add a veteran player rather than a rook. Though in this year's draft, the Nuggets made a draft day deal with the Minnesota T'Wolves and acquired 5'11 UNC point guard Ty Lawson which I think was a terrific idea for the team. His blinding speed and terrific handling can help spell Chauncey and Anthony Carter when they need to rest. The Nuggets didn't do much this offseason except resigning Carter and acquiring solid players like Arron Afflalo and Malik Allen.Chris Andersen also proved to be a valuable commodity for them and prove to the fans that they don't need Marcus Camby on the team that's why he was re-signed, too. The biggest lost they had was obviously Linas Kleiza who opted to go to Europe for a bigger earning. Kleiza will definitely be missed especially his scoring, he proved to be worthy of an NBA roster spot ahving scored 40 or more in 3 games of his career. This means that other guys from the team has to step like JR Smith who has to show a better mature game rather than hit those questonable shots though he did show some skills worthy to be called mature. Can Denver continue their momentum through the 2009-10 season? Will K-Mart and Nene remain consistently healthy? Can Carmelo improve more of his game? Denver Nuggets will make a name for themselves in a tough conference but it's easier said than done.
NBA Draft Grade: A-
NBA Offseason Grade: C+
Predicted W-L: 55-27
That's just a writer's opinion. Anyone care to comment, I am open for it^^
credit their turnaround to the acquistion of billups. without him, they maybe wouldve been out the first round.
the nuggets better hope he doesnt put he's new riches up his nose
I dunno about the Nuggets, they're one of those teams that just didn't improve this off-season and with top teams like LA, Boston, Orlando, Cleveland, San Antonio, Portland and Dallas all getting visibly better on paper I don't see them gaining any ground on the rest of the league.
iv got to agree with dwight howard with the lakers blazers and spurs in the west i cant see the nuggets getting anything above a 4 seed next season
lol the birdman pic was my avatar once.i really thinkthere will be a dropoff from last because losing Klieza hurts but Jones hurts badly too becaust he was the player to guard the Kobes and Broys and now who is that for them? they were a defensive team and their defense will be a little weaker this year. i see them as a 4-5 seed.
They will still be a playoff team, but with every other team out west making improvements, i would be shocked if the Nuggets were as good as they were last year. They still might get past the first round but thats it. I mean the lakers, Spurs, Trailblazers all got better, and as much as i hate the Mavericks they got a lot better too. Denver needs for Melo to continue to stpe up, and they really need JR Smith to turn into the player everyone thinks he can be if they want to duplicate last seasons success. All things considered, I don't think they will be that great next year