Where Credit’s Due

This is what I’m talking about, basketall every night. Not just regular basketball either, playoff basketball. Conference Finals basketball.  There’s no looking in the TV guide to see who’s playing, no hoping it’s a good game and not some sub .500 scrub teams just playing for pride. I’m talking high quality, competitive, scrappy defense, timely 3 pointer, kick, scratch and bite basketball.

Don’t you love it?

I know I haven’t said much about Denver up to this point, but I’ve been trying not to jinx them. Well, that’s not 100% true. I actually didn’t want to go out on a limb and be wrong. See, I really didn’t know if I could trust Denver. A friend of mine tells me that I pick teams with my heart and not my head. He claims that I give teams too much credit because I like the players but I’m not really looking at the entire team. I thought about that when people were asking me about Denver. Instead of my usual answer  “Denver is going to kill New Orleans” or “Dallas has no chance against Denver”, I was a little more reserve, more cautious. “Denver has a good team and if they keep their heads in it and play hard, they will be very hard to beat”. Every now and then I would say something like “if Melo gets hot, somebody is going to be in trouble”. A safe answer that no one can really  debate. I couldn’t just come out and say “Denver is going to make it to the Western Conference Finals” because I wasn’t sure that they were going to show up. Now that I think about it, I should have known, they have Billups now.

Mr.Big Shot & Melo is showing up to play every night
Mr.Big Shot & Melo is showing up to play every night

Having Billups does not mean that Denver is going to automatically make it to the Conference Finals, although after 7 consecutive trips it is beginning to look that way, but it gives Denver a better idea of what they are doing and where they need to be. In the Iverson era, Denver did a lot of watching and standing around while Iverson and Melo played one on one. In Denver’s defense though, what should they do? Where should they be and why should they be there? It’s not like anyone is going to pass the ball to them or anything. Also by bringing in Chauncey to play the point, it allows Denver to bring Anthony Carter off of the bench as backup PG and start Dantay Jones. This is one of the most underrated moves of the entire season. Why? #1. It gives Denver more size in it’s stating unit and a legitimate PG for it’s second unit. and #2. It allows Denver to start another defensive minded player. They have enough scoring on their roster for two teams, but as we’ve learned from “The Phoenix Experiment” you have to be able stop the other teams in order to ensure wins in the post-season. Before the Iverson trade, Kenyon Martin was the only Denver starter that was praised or even mentioned as a good defender. They still have Martin but now they’ve added Chauncey, who we all know can play defense from his Detroit days, and Dontay Jones. In addition to those three you add Carmelo, who after watching him guard Kobe I’ve realized he is a pretty decent defender. I’m not going to go overboard and say he’s an amazing defender, but with his size and activity, he is extremely difficult to score on. The same with Nene and Bird Man coming off of the bench. The one thing that I kept hearing people say is that Denver will be good if they played defense. Well, now they’re playing good defense and they are in the Conference Finals.

The acquisition of Chauncey balanced out the entire team.



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