The main argument always made about them is that they don’t have a “true superstar” to take over games. After a recent game against the Celtics, even future Hall of Fame star Kevin Garnett wondered how this team doesn’t have an All-Star. There are three players on the roster who have a solid claim at being considered a superstar:
- Kenneth Faried is a stand out player. Recently winning MVP at All-Star weekend and could have been Rookie of the Year had he been starting from day one. His fantastic play while Nené was hurt, allowed the Nuggets to shed the big man’s contract and put Faried in as a starter. His style of play and energy is infectious and I have yet to meet someone who does not love to watch him play. Additionally, he seems to be a good guy off the court. His affiliation with the group Athlete Ally shows the depth of character and quality of the type of person that should be promoted in this league.
|Iguodala scoring in the paint;|
a regular thing in Denver
There’s also the emerging talent of Danilo Gallinari, who I believe can be as good as Dirk Nowitzki. He has a great inside, outside game. He handles the ball and attacks the basket better than Dirk, but hasn’t developed the go-to move yet. Within the next three seasons, I am predicting Gallinari develops into a top level talent in this league.
The Nuggets seem to be the only team in the playoff picture that deals with the “no superstar” analysis. I have to ask you, who are the superstars in Memphis? In Milwaukee? How about Utah or Portland? I’d even argue that Denver has more on-court stars than the Brooklyn Nets. There’s hype around Deron Williams, but he’s shown little since leaving Utah. Just because Joe Johnson is paid like an elite player, it doesn’t mean he is an elite player. Denver gets more from players with comparable (and oftentimes better) skills at a much better price than most of the teams mentioned.
|Iverson and Carmelo|
Another part of the argument that piggybacks on the superstar comment is that the Nuggets don’t have anyone to take over in the fourth quarter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the question, “Who will take that crucial last shot for them?” I’ve always laughed at this concept. The fact that you have a “big name”, it doesn’t mean you have a closer for the game. Just a few short years ago, Denver had Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson and they still had this question hanging around. This may go against the prevalent superstar logic, but why not draw up a play for the hot hand? To me, it only makes sense to get the ball in the hands of a player who is shooting well.
Additionally, if the Nuggets don’t know who is going to take the final shot, how does the defense prepare for that? Last night, Denver’s final offensive possession was a post-up for Andre Miller. Earlier in the season it was in Gallo’s hands. I’ve watched Lawson take games over. I could go on and on. It’s hard to defend a team when you don’t know where the ball is going to end up.
For a team that doesn’t have a true superstar, which we all know is usually based on offensive stats, here are a few statistics to digest:
- 3rd in points per game
- 4th in FG%
- 3rd in assist per game
- 2nd in steals per game
- 4th in blocks per game
- 1st in offensive rebounds per game
- 2nd in overall rebounds per game
- 1st in fast break points per game
- 1st in points in the paint per game
There may be something to this team concept after all.
|Coach Karl teaching his young team|
Are they a title contender this season? It’s doubtful. They’re one of the five youngest teams in the league and need time to grow, but they have the talent. They have the coaching. If they get the ball to bounce their way or get the benefit of a whistle like a Kobe or Durant gets, they’re a scary team going into the next few years.
It’s time to click over and watch this team. They are an exciting and fun team to watch. Stars are emerging. Those that can’t see them must be looking up in the sky at the wrong constellations.
Questions or comments? Feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org