Apr 23, 2008

Enver Nuggets -- a Statistical Nightmare

After watching the Lakers-Nuggets game tonight, I decided the Nuggets must have the worst chemistry of any team in the NBA. How else do you explain all of these statistical studs' failure to coexist on a single basketball court?

They have two of the top four scorers in the league. They have the league's top shot blocker (and 2nd best rebounder). They have a solid bench (namely Smith & Kleiza). They even have arguably one of the better coaches in the game (look at Karl's resume). Yet, they barely squeezed into the playoffs and will probably get swept in the first round.

Obviously, their number one problem is there just aren't enough shots to go around. Carmelo & AI are undoubtedly two of the best scorers in the game. In fact, there are only a few players in the league I would rather have taking the final shot with the game in the balance. As we've seen, having two scorers of this caliber can be both a blessing and a curse. Who takes the big shot? In games I've watched, AI has taken the majority of these shots (seniority, I guess). However, there have been a number of occassions where the play seems to be designed for nobody in particular -- whichever big gun has the ball in his hands as time expires takes the shot. What a nightmare.

Is A.I. #1, #1a, or #2?

As for the defense, or lack thereof... "But Marcus Camby won defensive player of the year last year!" "AI has been amongst the league leaders in steals for, forever!" "How can two of the league's best defenders be part of the league's worst defense?" Wow, what a misconception. Sure, these two put up gaudy defensive stats (in the form of blocks, steals, and rebounds), but that doesn't mean they play great -- or even good -- individual defense. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure Camby gave up 36 points to Gasol in Game One. Camby is a terrifically gifted shot blocker, but it certainly helps that he gets countless opportunities against 6-foot-nothing guards that have been blowing past the Nuggets' hapless perimeter defenders with ease.

To keep things short and sweet, here's my conclusion: the Enver (thanks Charles) Nuggets are a fantasy owner's dream and a reality owners' nightmare.

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