OK, now I am upset. ESPN.com has posted their season preview on the Denver Nuggets and despite the presence of some impressive writing in box number six, I cannot believe what I just read.
First of all, only one of the ten “experts” picked the Nuggets to finish higher than third in the Northwest Division and not one of them picked them to make the playoffs. Not one! In fact former Nugget first round pick Jalen Rose picked the Nuggets to finish fourth in the division! (Note: after further inspection, he picked Minnesota to finish fourth as well and Oklahoma City in fifth. Apparently Jalen does not believe anyone will finish third. Way to make that Michigan education work for you Jalen.)
I realize the Nuggets have some question marks, but the standard analysis of the Nuggets by the national media continues to be no Camby, no Najera, no one will play defense, they are going to fall further and faster than the stock market.
J.A. Adande: “It will be a 48 minute lay up line for opponents.”
Jemele Hill: “They got rid of their two best defensive players, Camby and Najera.” That was the extent of her analysis.
Is it really that tough to actually put some thought into your analysis? This is their job. They can watch film all day long if they want to, but apparently they choose not to.
I can handle someone saying, “Nene is injury prone and when he goes down they will be in trouble.” I can also accept, “They are going to deal AI to save some more money and that is why I projected them to finish behind the Clippers.” Rick Bucher’s comment that the Nuggets front office has sent a mental message of not going for it this season by letting Camby and Najera go may also have some merit although I do not buy into it. There is no Michael Jordan on this team who will foster a losing is worse than death attitude, but these guys are all pretty competitive and many have something to prove. They are not going to mail the season in because the team decided not to pay a couple of older veterans.
Chris Sheridan took a shot at Stan Kronke writing, “Money is more important than winning, especially when it's Stanley Kroenke's money and he doesn't want to spend it on luxury tax.” He then went on to say the Nuggets are, “Our choice for our annual train wreck prediction. (Last year I chose Miami.)” Kronke is still on the hook for about $6 million in luxury tax payments as the roster stands today. I get tired of the implication that he is being cheap for not wanting to pay $100 million in salary and luxury tax payments for a team that cannot get out of the first round.
Chris Broussard says, “The Nuggets have too much talent to miss the postseason, especially with J.R. and Kleiza coming into their own.” Then he predicts that they will finish ninth in the west.
It just blows me away how few people believe the Nuggets are a playoff team, but the final nail in the coffin was seeing that the aggregated final standings had the Los Angeles Clippers finishing ahead of the Nuggets. If you are looking for a team to fall apart this season how about the Clippers? They have a point guard who is famous for his horrid shot selection paired with a control freak head coach. They lost their best player in what might have been a far more incompetent negotiating process by the front office than anything the Nuggets have been guilty of and God’s Gift to Defense Marcus Camby is not going to play a single game in the preseason due to a heel injury. Oh yea, and do not forget that Chris Kaman is coming off of a season where he played only 56 games plus he put some extra wear and tear on his body by playing for Germany in the Olympics.
Look, I may be way off base and maybe I will end up being the fool over the next six months and the groupthink experts may end up being right. I just think there is so much more to the Nuggets story than what is being pushed by the national media.
I guess that is why I write a Nuggets blog.