Wednesday, February 23, 2011

MELO-LESS NUGGETS SHINE

The Associated Press writer made it sound like a wake.  And one of the opening lines, "Anthony was one of the best players in Denver Nuggets history" needed the modifier "if the NBA was a one-on-one league."  Great players know when to shoot and when to pass, and Melo only mastered half of that equation.  Great players know how to involve the other four professionals on the court, bringing out the best in everyone, and Melo played a lot of back-em-down, jack-it-up while the others stood around and watched.  Great players lead their teams to championships - enough said.

I was hopeful that the short-handed Nuggets would pull it together on the day after the trade.  They played the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that they are battling for a playoff spot.  I watched and I was very pleased - they hustled, they played great defense, they ran the fast break, and most importantly, they played team ball.  On nearly every possession, there were 2,3, or 4 passes, working toward the best shot.  They shared the ball, and were up by 30 at one point in the game.  Awesome.  It will be interesting if the talent that had been in Melo's shadow will emerge as a team rather than a group of individuals.  Coach Karl has the ability to do this and no longer has to watch helplessly as an anointed one plays his own game. 

I may actually watch them now.

Newly-acquired Denver Nuggets (from left) Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov are cheered as they watch their new team defeat the Memphis Grizzlies.

Newly-acquired Denver Nuggets (from left) Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov are cheered as they watch their new team defeat the Memphis Grizzlies.

ADDED NOTE:  I submitted this as a Letter to the Editor of the Boulder Daily Camera, and they actually published it!!  http://www.dailycamera.com/letters/ci_17474829

7 comments:

Bizzy Brain said...

Good to see the Nuggets sparkle! There is talk of contracting the league to make more good players available to the remaining teams. Commissioner David Stern is highly intelligent (so they say) and it will be interesting to see how he handles the trend to just a few super teams. If Isiah re-enters the picture, Carmello will never be on one in NY.

Dr S said...

Last night, the Nuggets came through again against the Celtics. It was not particularly pretty, and Boston had only 9 suited because of their last minute trades, but nevertheless, it was a good win. I noted that Carmelo's debut in NY was labeled a great success, but looking closely he shot his typical 9 for 27 or some such. On my team, that would earn you a spot on the bench for the next game.

Nostradumbass said...

In Patrick Ewing's later years with the Knicks, I seem to remember the W-L record being better when Patrick wasn't healthy enough to play than when he did play. With him in the game it was all about him, and rather than team play, players stood around waiting to see what Patrick was going to do. I predict the Nuggets will end up better without Carmello.

Dr S said...

NostraDA - you are exactly right about Ewing's latter days, and I believe that there are quite a few similar examples in the NBA. And, I am most hopeful that your prediction re the Nuggets future is accurate - they now certainly have depth and perchance Karl can continue to demand team ball, defensive pressure, up-tempo and sharing the limelight.

Anonymous said...

IXLR82 comments: They beat the Celtics last night too! I hope this isn't just the honeymoon period, but the team played like no one cared how many "touches" they got....they just wanted to win. Melo is a great scorer, but he also holds the ball too long, and doesn't play defense. The Knicks now basically have two Melo's on the court, who are going to battle for points and ESPN highlights. Unless they learn to play defense, you'll have a team in NY that is fun to watch, puts up tons of points, and loses in the first round of the playoffs each year.

Anonymous said...

From Johnny Sunshine: I'm enjoying the enormously modest, enormously talented (MVP co-front runner, with LeBron) Derrick Rose on my Bulls, and a number of unselfish players around him. The Round Mound of Rebound is touting them as legit title contenders this year, even though their best and arguably second best players are 22 and 23.

But there's one thing that I've been reading lately that really encourages me, especially for Denver. You know yesterday's forced trades by Utah and Denver that saw small market franchises essentially forced to trade top 20 players to bigger market teams, because the players wanted to live somewhere else? Carmelo and Deron Williams? And of course Cleveland last summer....

Apparently the league wants to put a franchise tag, like in football, into the new players agreement that will be negotiated over the summer, so small market (and pale market) teams like Denver and Utah and Minnesota and Toronto can compete with the big boys, like in football, rather than make it a league of big market teams and chumps like in baseball.

Fear of that very thing is one of the two reasons Carmelo allowed himself to be traded now, rather than joining a Knick team over the summer that wouldn't have been forced to lose several promising parts, like Gallinari, leaving him joining a weaker team. He didn't want to be franchise-tagged and forced to stay here. (So good riddance.) Plus he gets a bigger payday from a team resigning its own players than he could from a jump.

Anonymous said...

From SwitzTrial

Mr. Swartzendruber, I totally agree. As Gene Heckman's character in Hoosiers says: "Team, team, team. Winning is about playing as a team. No one player is any more important than any of the others." Perhaps, if the NBA would get back to that idea, as well as the other pro sports teams (and unfortunately, more and more college, and even high school teams), the game might be more enjoyable to watch. I still remember watching the 1980 winter Olympic miracle on ice, when a very young relatively inexperienced hockey team beat a semi professional Soviet team, and beat them because they played as a team. In my opinion pro sports pushing for the high profile highly paid prima-donas has wrecked most of pro sports.