Tag:Nene
Posted on: April 15, 2011 3:02 pm
 

Thunder-Nuggets Preview: There will be blood

Posted by Royce Young



I. Intro:  No. 5 seed Denver Nuggets (50-32) vs. No. 4 seed Oklahoma City Thunder (55-27)

It's already being looked at as the "fun series" to watch. The young, athletic Thunder versus the young, athletic Nuggets. Some seem to be torn on the outcome which says one thing -- it should be a fun series.

Both teams underwent pretty serious transformations near the trade deadline. One was shipping out its star and replacing him with a gaggle of above average players. The other was shipping off one of its young pieces and replacing him with a championship tested big man.

At the time, it looked like the two franchises were headed in opposite directions. It looked like the Thunder were setting up to contend in the now, while the Nuggets were attempting to restructure for the future.

Except Denver kept winner and actually probably became a better team. In the end, we settled in on a unexpected series pitting division rivals against one another. Already the two teams are talking a little smack and already they've tussled. I get the feeling they don't like each other one bit. Did I say it should be fun?

II. What Happened: A look at the season series

Throw out the first two meetings because they don't count at all (Denver and OKC split 1-1 anyway). The teams that faced off in those first two games aren't the ones you see now. A lot changed.

And more than really any other series, we got the best taste of what to expect over the last couple weeks with this one. Not only did the Thunder and Nuggets play each other -- home and home, too -- but the games were important at the time. The Northwest Division title was still on the line.

OKC took the game in Denver 101-94, handing the Nuggets their first loss at home since the Melo trade and snapping a seven-game win streak. Then back in Oklahoma City a week later, the Thunder dropped the Nuggets 104-89 with a relentless defensive effort.

III. The Easy Stuff: Denver has no one to guard Kevin Durant

In the two recent games, Durant averaged 30.0 points per game on 45 percent shooting and really didn't get much of a challenge from Denver defenders. Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari shared the assignment, but the Nuggets tried switching on every screen Durant ran off of.

What result was a bunch of mismatches with Durant catching Nene or Kenyon Martin one-on-one. That wouldn't be a problem, except Durant is taller than both and can shoot over anyone on top of driving past them.

OKC is 22-1 this season when Durant shoots better than 50 percent from the floor. Read that last sentence again. Really, without Ron Artest last year holding Durant down against the Lakers, that series might've been very different. The Nuggets have to find a way to check Durant, otherwise they'll have a hard time checking the Thunder.

IV. Secret of the Series: The three P's: Pace, Perk and perimeter defense

The Nuggets play at the second fastest pace in the league (95.6). They want to run. They want to get Ty Lawson, Chandler, Martin and everyone else out in the open floor.

Oklahoma City isn't opposed to running by any means, but the Thunder definitely want to keep the Nuggets off the highway. In the last game in OKC, the game was played at a pace of just 90.0, something that definitely favored the Thunder. In the halfcourt, the Nuggets struggled scoring against OKC's man-to-man defense.

To go with that, inside Kendrick Perkins gives OKC the ability to leave single coverage on Nene. That means the Thunder's perimeter defenders can hang on Denver's list of good shooters. The Nuggets want you collapsing and rotating everywhere so they can find a marksman open on the outside. OKC didn't afford Denver that, holding the Nuggets to just 10-30 from 3 in the last two games.

V. The Dinosaur Narrative : "He who scores most will win"

Why is everyone acting like this will be a high scoring, up and down series? The two games these teams played in the last couple weeks were won by the Thunder by an average score of 102.5 to 91.5. Oklahoma City plays some serious defense now. Since Perkins joined the starting lineup, the Thunder are only second to Chicago in defensive efficiency.

Obviously the Nuggets like to run and the Thunder aren't shy about it, but if these games are 120-117 like everyone is acting, Scott Brooks might throw up. Kendrick Perkins most definitely will. (You know, from the running.)

This series will be more about stops and rebounding than anything else. Denver struggled in the halfcourt against the Thunder the last two games and OKC excelled, especially late. It's not about outscoring or outgunning each other. It's about out-stopping each other.

VI. The Line-Item Veto: Who wins each match-up?

PG: This will be fun. Speed on speed. I'm not sure anyone is faster than Russell Westbrook end-to-end with the ball in his hands. Except Ty Lawson (and maybe Derrick Rose). Westbrook is bigger and stronger though, which gives him the edge. But Lawson is the most important part to the Denver offense. He scored a then career-high 28 points against OKC in Denver two weeks ago.

SG: Assuming Arron Afflalo is healthy, this is a big edge for the Nuggets. Thabo Sefolosha doesn't add much on the offensive side and his defensive skills aren't needed that much on Afflalo. But OKC does use James Harden off the bench much in the same way Dallas uses Jason Terry. Then again, Denver has J.R. Smith who is maybe this series' overall X-Factor...

SF: I already went over it, but Denver just doesn't have a good defender for Durant. Both Gallinari and Chandler will have their chances, as well as Afflalo, but we're talking about maybe the most gifted offensive player in the game.

PF: Really this is a push because both Kenyon Martin and Serge Ibaka, while good players, aren't going to do a ton more than block, rebound and score occasionally on put-backs.

C: Other than the point guard matchup, all eyes will be here. Perkins and Nene already tussled once and there's no doubt that they'll likely go at each other again. Perkins did a really good job on Nene in the first meeting holding him to just 3-10 shooting, but Nene came back with a solid 6-9 effort in the last meeting.

Bench: Both teams have very strong benches. As mentioned, Harden is more of a bench starter for OKC. Eric Maynor is a terrific backup point guard. Daequan Cook a nice specialist. Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed good veteran big men. Denver has excellent weapons too with Raymond Felton, Chander, Smith and Chris Andersen. The benches will be big and both are very good.

Coaches: George Karl and Scott Brooks know each other well. Brooks was an assistant under Karl for three years. Karl is the more experienced one and has been both the favorite and the underdog before. This is Brooks first rodeo as a playoff favorite. But this series is more about the players than the coaches, so I don't really think this matchup matters a whole lot.

VII. Conclusion

This will be a terrific series, no matter the number of games it takes. Some are feeling the Nuggets in an upset as that's what a lot of the numbers suggest. But I don't see it. I think everyone agrees that the Nuggets may have actually become a better team trading Melo, but against the Thunder, it hurt them. Kevin Durant gets an easier job, the Nuggets don't have a good halfcourt option late in games and OKC actually matches up really well with Denver now.

The Nuggets are dangerous, especially when a couple guys get hot. But that's what it'll take. They'll have to have big games from J.R. Smith (good luck relying on him), Gallinari, Lawson and Chandler to move on past OKC. The Thunder know what they're getting from Durant and Westbrook. They know they can play defense. I like this Nuggets team a lot. Just not against Oklahoma City. Prediction: Thunder in five.

Posted on: April 3, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2011 6:37 pm
 

So wait, how far can these Nuggets actually go?

Posted by Royce Young



Nobody expected to be asking this question. I don't think even in his heart of hearts George Karl thought the Nuggets would be in the position for someone to ask it. More than a month after trading away the apparent franchise player, the Nuggets didn't dip. In fact, they did the complete opposite.

They rose.

You've heard the number a ton already, but I'll say it again: Since trading Anthony, Denver is an astonishing 15-4 and winners of seven straight, most recently with a terrific road win against the red hot Lakers. Again, I don't even the most optimistic people saw this streak coming. The feeling was the Nuggets made 50 cents on the dollar with the trade, getting quality pieces back but nothing comparable to Anthony. That's sort of the situation you face when trading a star. No matter the return, it's not as good as what you're sending out.

But the Nuggets clearly found something. They found a unit that works together, understands a philosophy entirely and has settled into roles and bought into a culture. There isn't a crunch time star to run things through. But there are a number of really solid players that are flourishing under Karl.

Not only are the Nuggets winning, but they've played every game well. They haven't really had a bad night. Their four losses were by a combined 15 points. And they came against the Magic, Heat, Blazers and Clippers. Yeah they Clipper loss isn't great, but it was at Staples where the Clips are 22-18 and have beat a lot of good teams. Not really a bad loss.

So the Nuggets have already accomplished the first goal, the one that appeared to be a longshot when general manager Masai Ujiri decided to finally cut ties with the Melodrama. They are going to go to the playoffs. Currently, the magic number is at one. A lone win or a Houston loss puts Denver in. And they are still in the rearview of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Northwest Division title and the four-seed in the playoffs.

Because that's where things have advanced to -- playoffs. No longer is it just about getting there, but now it's a new mission and a new question: Can the Nuggets actually make some noise?

It almost seems like we've all dismissed that as an option because of the lack of starpower. It's like people are saying, "Yeah the way they've played the last month is cute, but they aren't built for the postseason." But here's what wins in the playoffs: good basketball. And what do the Nuggets play? Good basketball.

On both ends, they've become a fundamentally sound unit that defends, moves the ball, cuts, runs and finishes. They are still scoring but instead if 60 percent coming from two players, it's now evenly distributed out among a number of guys. I think the toughest type of team to defend is one that have five, not one, players on the floor at a time capable of scoring. And not scoring as in making a bucket here or there. I mean capable of putting up double-digits consistently. George Karl deserves Coach of the Year consideration just for getting J.R. Smith to buy in to playing well with others. That honestly says it all.

Is this a team just built to contend for the Western Conference Finals? I mean, really? Well look at it this way: Most everyone the Nuggets play talk about how good they're playing and how scary they are. Put this group in a series where they need four wins and I don't think many teams would want to play them. They match up just about everywhere, have shooters, have two good point guards, have a big man that can rebound and score, have a really good bench and have an enforcer in the middle that adds toughness. They're built for anything.

One thing that makes a team more dangerous than anything is confidence. A belief in self, along with the 11 other guys on your team and the system you play in makes a team scary. It's how you see runs like what Butler has put together two straight years in the NCAA tournament. They believe in one another. They trust each other. And they just feel unbeatable, no matter what. Establishing that mentally was the top priority for Karl once the trade went through and he's absolutely succeeded.

The concern for them heading into the postseason is how they perform on the road where they're just 17-22. But Sunday's win in Los Angeles is a pretty good example of how they might be able to get over that. The Nuggets absolutely grinded one out versus the Lakers, playing hard nosed defense, by grabbing a couple key offensive rebounds and by moving the ball for good looks in crunch time. The Western Conference was already very aware of this Nugget team, but Sunday's win against the defending champs certainly raised a few more eyebrows.

But let's not get too carried away though. Winning in the playoffs isn't easy, no matter who you are or how well you're playing. You've got to beat a good team four times. That's tough, no matter how good you feel. And it will likely start versus the Thunder, a team that features a two-headed monster in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook plus ample size and toughness inside. Certainly, it will be a fun, but very difficult series.

The Nuggets are definitely capable of moving on though, but it's not like they're a favorite. It's not like most will give them much of a shot. Which means they'll be flying exactly where they want to be -- under the radar.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 9:54 am
 

Nuggets now trying to ink Nene to extension

Posted by Royce Young

Now that the Carmelo Anthony situation has been resolved, it's time for the Nuggets and Masai Ujiri to move on with the roster. There's been a downgrade for sure, but the challenge now for Denver is figuring out what to do with the current team.

Whatever the decisions may be, there's an easy one to make already: Keep Nene long term.

As Ken Berger reported a month ago, the Nuggets could be faced with another Melo situation in regard to their Brazlian big man. Nene has an opt-out option this summer and he's probably looking hard at using it. His value is high and with centers being at a premium, he's looking for a new paycheck. And to this point, it hasn't looked like Nene was all that interested in signing.

So the Nuggets have reportedly shopped Nene some since they are faced with basically the same problem they just tried to fix. Either deal Nene or have nothing to show for it when he leaves.

But ESPN.com reports the Nuggets are pushing hard for a contract extension for Nene.

"But teams that have been calling for Nene -- and I’m told that more than half the league has rung Denver in recent weeks to register interest in the Brazilian big man -- are gradually being informed that a key element of the Nuggets’ post-Melo plan is trying to convince Nene to stay."

The Nuggets have a big man that can be built around, so obviously losing Nene would be a massive setback to go with losing Melo. In keeping Nene, Denver would be making the statement that its trying to stay competitive in the West, at least for now. Moving him would signal a complete blow-up.

Will Nene sign an extension with Denver? Hard to say. He's got that opt-out option and you have to wonder if losing Melo will affect his thinking.

While the Nuggets want to extend Nene and keep him, if it becomes apparent by Thursday that's not happening, it wouldn't be shocking if Denver turns on its face and trades Nene anyway. They want to keep him just like they wanted to keep Melo, but sometimes business just gets in the way of what you want.
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 19, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Trade Deadline Rumor Round-Up: Non-Melo Edition

Trade rumors abound about people other than Carmelo Anthony, including Anthony Parker, Ramon Sessions, and Nene. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Believe it or not, there are trade deadline rumors that don't involve Carmelo Anthony. I know, we're amazed, too. Here's a round-up of what's going on outside of the... ugh... I'm sorry. I can't call it Melodrama anymore. I just can't do it without getting physically ill. Anyway, trade rumors!

Celtics, Bulls vying for Anthony Parker

ESPN reports that both the Celtics and Bulls are vying for Anthony Parker, the wingman for the Cavs. Parker's not having a great season (I know, a Cavalier having a bad season, who would have thought?), but he is shooting 40% from the arc. The best thing about Parker currently is that he's a bargain deal. The Bulls or Celtics can reportedly get him for either a young big man or a draft pick. The Celtics have Semih Erden and the Bulls have Omar Asik. With the playoffs coming up, rotations are shortened and Erden and Asik are unlikely to get time (provided Joakim Noah and/or the Celtics twin O'Neals stay healthy), so they're expendable. Parker provides help where both teams need it. 

The Bulls need a longer perimeter wing to go behind Luol Deng while the Celtics are struggling with Marquis Daniels out for several weeks. Parker is a fit in both places as an athletic veteran. This is the kind of bargain deal that good teams pursue while other teams are knocking themselves out chasing after big names. 

Everybody loves Ramon

Earlier this week Ken Berger reported that the Hawks were interested in Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions. That interest is spreading like a disease, now, with Portland and the Knicks also reportedly having interest

But the Akron Beacon Journal reports that the interest is one-sided, with the Cavs not showing particular enthusiasm for moving him.  Because the one thing you know is that when you lose 25 games in a row, you don't want to switch things up. 

We've already argued that the Cavs need a total and complete firesale, and Sessions shouldn't be exempted. If they can get someone to take on another deal with him, so be it. Yes, he's a young talent, and yes, he's arguably their best player. But the Cavs' problems are so severe as to warrant whatever changes they can make without taking on long-term money. Portland is an attractive situation with veterans on expiring contracts and younger players, while the Knicks? Well, the Knicksdon't need Eddy Curry if the Melo deal falls through so they can afford to take some of the Cavs' flotsam in order to take on Sessions. But the Cavs have to reach that level first. 

Speights to the Party

Speaking of the Blazers, Berger said they'd be active, and they're in just about every rumor we've got. Including this one, which has them interested in sending young Dante Cunningham to Philadelphia for Marreese Speights. Speights is just 23, and his per-minute numbers continue to climb even as he gets fewer minutes and a smaller role in the offense now that Elton Brand has put in a better season. Perhaps most important, Speights' rebounding figures are starting to catch up with his scoring ability, while he's gotten his FG% over 50%. 

Cunningham by comparison has done a lot for the Blazers as their lone remaining healthy center (knock on wood, you knock on wood right now).  But he doesn't have the versatility Speights has and Speights' upside is still formidable. He's got a solid mid-range J, crazy athleticism, and has never had resources devoted to his development. 

But it looks like Philly is doing the most aggrivating thing teams can do, keeping a talented young player buried while also not listening to trade offers. 

Nene not looking to relocate, regardless of Melo

There's been talk of Nene possibly looking to get out of Denver should Melo walk. But Yahoo! Sports reports that family issues may keep Nene there long-term. His wife's pregnant and from Colorado. Often overlooked in players' desire to win or chase big markets or money is the impact of family. Nene may wind up being the building block the Nuggets will need him to be going forward regardless of how the Melo situation works out after all. 

Diaw the Fix-It-All (Okay, not really, but it rhymed, kind of)

Boris Diaw has an expring contract, an oversized midsection, and a versatile game, still. Yahoo! also reports that the Bobcats are looking to move Diaw (to "change their team a bit").  Diaw is undersized as a five and a four, oversized as a three, has good handle, can shoot, attack off the drive, play the post and work as a passer in the pinch-post. He just can't do any of those things exceptionally well. With a $9 million expiring, he'll be a target for teams. 
Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Warriors inquiring about Nene?

Posted by Royce Young

A few weeks ago, Ken Berger brought news that the Nuggets may have to deal with another player leaving Denver.

Nene has an early termination option this summer and by the sounds of it, is strongly looking at exercising it. So the Nuggets might be looking to move Nene to avoid getting Meloburned by him too.

Which means a lot of teams probably have called about Nene. One reportedly being the Golden State, who I think have made inquiries about every player in the NBA at this point.

The Warriors desperately are looking for a legit low-post scorer to go with David Lee. Andris Biedrins says the group of him, Lee and Brandan Wright could get it done though, if given the opportunity.

"Collectively, I would say yes we could do it," Biedrins said. If you just give us the opportunities, we can prove we don't need it."

Wright: "You really have to ask Coach Smart why I couldn't help the team out in that (area). I guess I'm not the man for the job right now. I could easily produce. I'm in the best shape of my life. I feel good about my game."

Reportedly, Nene has three teams in mind -- Dallas, Miami and a mystery team -- and a lot of other teams interested. More than likely Nene will be in the same situation as Melo if a trade comes up. It would likely be under the condition that he signs an extension with his new team.

Nene is going to have quite the market around him because not often can you go get a reliable low-post option like him at the deadline. The Nuggets may not even be interested in moving him, but if they aren't going to re-sign him, they might just decide to blow it all apart and move him.

Posted on: January 24, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Nene eyeing three teams: Dallas, Miami and who?

Posted by Royce Young

This was a Shootaround item, but I felt the need to extrapolate a bit more on it. Ken Berger reported that Nuggets center Nene is unhappy with the protracted Carmelo Anthony situation and could be looking to move on from Denver.

Nene, like Carmelo, has an early termination option and could make himself an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Nuggets might be looking at a similar situation with Nene: they need to move him and get something back, rather just watch him walk for nothing.

Berger said Nene has three teams that he's eying and listed one as the Heat. It's probably unlikely the Heat have the pieces to put together a realistic trade for Nene that Denver would go for, but still, Nene on the Heat is a scary thought.

Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted that a second team on Nene's list is the Dallas Mavericks. He also said the third remains a mystery right now, but assured that the Rockets would be players in trying to acquire Nene.

But who could the third team be? The Mavs have some good pieces to make such a move, but why would they? Tyson Chandler is having a great year and behind them they have Brendan Haywood, who's making a lot of money to play backup. Even if the Mavs were just renting Nene for a few months, that's a pretty good logjam inside.

One team that could be a player for Nene is the Oklahoma City Thunder. They have assets in future first-round picks, a nice expiring contract in Morris Peterson and could potentially offer back a quality young player like Cole Aldrich or D.J. White. The question would be if the Thunder would be interested in re-signing Nene to an extension though, seeing as they still have to solve the Jeff Green contract situation and also extend Russell Westbrook this summer.

More than likely, Oklahoma City doesn't make that move because of the way Sam Presti approaches the future. He prefers to draft and develop, rather than trade away young players. If Nene could be had just for an expiring contract and a pick, it's a possible move for OKC. But Denver's going to want more than that.

Another potential third team on the list? the Trail Blazers. Portland has Joel Przybilla's expiring contract, and decent young assets like Luke Babbitt, Eliot Williams and Patty Mills, plus future picks. Or toss in Andre Miller, who the team wants to move. (Though Miller and Chauncey Billups together doesn't make a ton of sense. Maybe they could flip Miller again for something else.) Again, the Nuggets would probably ask for Nicolas Batum, who they've had a fascination with lately, but Portland's not budging on him.

The Blazers could certainly use Nene though, you know, because of the injuries and all. Nene would have the opportunity to remain a starter and really would become an offensive focus for Portland. He'd probably have to live in fear that his knees might spontaneously combust, but the Blazers would be a nice fit.

Lastly, two other teams I'll throw in that could be fits: Phoenix and Golden State. Nene would work well in both systems and both teams would love to have a player of his caliber. The question is whether or not either could put together a satisfactory trade for Denver.

In the end, Denver is going to have to look long and hard concerning its future with Nene. He might be willing to re-sign, but apparently he's soured on the team a bit now and might be looking for something else. Denver's got to figure out his future, along with Carmelo, and make a decision.

It's been a fun first few months for Masai Ujiri, hasn't it?
Posted on: August 25, 2010 12:01 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 9:14 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: What teams might take a tumble?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

  What teams are set for a drop in success?

Maintaining excellence for an extended period of time in professional sports isn't easy. Even the big spending, big market clubs have to make the right moves, retain players and keep putting a product on the field or floor that can win.

There are ebbs and flows with teams every season and in the NBA this year, we might begin to see a little shuffling with some of the familiar successful faces moving down the line in the standings while others move up.

So who could be moving down? Who might be dropping off a bit in 2010-11? Here are four candidates:

Phoenix Suns
It seems like every year, we're all waiting for this to happen. But every year Steve Nash defies the laws of aging, has a terrific season and keeps the Suns moving. But there was a constant variable in all of those seasons the Suns saw success - Amar'e Stoudemire. For the first time in eight years the Suns will be without Stoudemire, a player that worked perfectly in Phoenix's up-tempo style and Nash's pick-and-roll ability. Now in 2005 the Suns were without Stoudemire who underwent microfracture surgery, but that was with Nash still in his prime and with a ton more depth.

This time, the Suns replace Stoudemire with Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick, two capable players but obviously not to the caliber of Amar'e. If Phoenix intends to stay in the top tier of the West, a player with have to elevate his game. Maybe that's youngster Earl Clark. Maybe Robin Lopez continues his improvement. Maybe Warrick becomes the new Amar'e playing alongside Nash. Hedo Turkoglu is a new addition, but judging by his play in Toronto last year, he might not be a big help.

Phoenix will still be a good team and a likely playoff team, but with Nash's age and the downgrade in talent on the roster, the Suns might be looking at the beginning of the end.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Didn't they lose someone? Oh right, Delonte West and Shaquille O'Neal. Talk about starting over, you guys. Oh yeah, and that other guy too.

The Cavs are at an impasse they didn't see coming. Others might have seen the writing on the wall with LeBron, but The King's departure was a brick in the face to Cleveland fans everywhere. Any time you lose the face of your team, the face of the league and the best player on the planet, you're rebuilding by default.

The Cavs do have some quality players still, because instead of laying dynamite around the roster, the Cavs have decided to try and strive for mediocrity. And in the East, most of the time average is enough to get to the postseason. But this is a team that had won 60 games the last two seasons. The Cavs lost their star, their coach and their general manager. It's a time to start over for the Cavs and Anthony Parker and Joey Graham probably aren't going be the pieces that maintain the regular season excellence in Cleveland.

Toronto Raptors
Bryan Colangelo tried. He tried to shuffle things around and put together a respectable roster after the loss of Chris Bosh that could possibly stay where they were. But let's face it: Even with Bosh, the Raptors weren't exactly in the upper echelon of the East. With a failed trade for Tyson Chandler that would've moved Jose Calderon and a mishap in trying to sign Matt Barnes left the Raptors with a young roster that will struggle to win games.

Colangelo did do himself a favor by moving Turkoglu's contract, but he also gave Amir Johnson too much money and trading Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright doesn't do much for anyone. Toronto may be in the basement in the East and while it's not like they're falling from the top of the East, the Raptors are likely headed for a drop.

Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets aren't actually on this list... yet. But they will be, if (or when) they lose Carmelo Anthony. Reality is, any time you trade a superstar, you never get an equal return. I mean, how could you? Who's going to give back a top 5-8 player in the league or three players that equal Anthony's ability?

If Denver hangs on to Anthony for the season, it'll be business as usual for the Nuggets. They'll be good, they'll make the playoffs and will have a chance to advance a few rounds. But if they lose 'Melo, then it'll likely be a trip into mediocrity for Denver. The team hasn't enough talent in Nene, Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin to stay afloat, but in the West where it's win 50 or stay home the last two weeks of April, it would be tough for the Nuggets to do that. And of course reports are that J.R. Smith might be moving out as well. The Nuggets are facing a potential restructure, and while the roster is in tip-top shape now, it likely won't be come November.

 
 
 
 
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