Ever since the Marcus Camby trade Nuggets fans have been subjected to mocking statements along the lines of, "They traded the only player on their team who played any defense. They are going to give up 120 points a game this year!" Sadly, many Nugget fans have been sharing in the hilarity.
Ha, ha, ha. Let’s all get a big laugh at the Nuggets expense by making a lazy generalization without actually considering the facts.
Well, if you have spent much time on Pickaxe and Roll, you will have noticed I found Camby’s defense pretty overrated and many of you who have watched him closely know of his many shortcomings.
Camby’s slight frame prevented him from playing adequate post defense on almost any center in the league. I have put together a little video scouting report displaying some of his defensive struggles and how the player replacing him in the lineup, Nene, is not only physically superior, he has a post defense mentality that Camby lacks.
Yes, as I mentioned in the video, Shaq is the worst case scenario because he is the biggest boy in the NBA, but Camby does not just struggle against Shaq. He was actually benched for the fourth quarter of a close game in Orlando because he was incapable of matching up with Dwight Howard (or on the perimeter against Rashard Lewis). That is right, Marcus Camby was benched because he could not get the job done defensively.
Greg Oden is in the Northwest Division and that means four matchups a season where Camby would have been completely outclassed where Nene will be able to put up a decent fight in the post. Andrew Bynum is a big boy who never leaves the paint. The Nuggets had to put Kenyon Martin on Chris Kaman because Camby could not handle the job. Yao Ming typically gives the Nuggets fits, but Nene can keep him further from the basket than Camby ever could. Heck, Darko Milicic had a 14 point, 16 rebound game and most of those stats came while matched up against Marcus Camby.
Add it all up and between Shaq, Howard, Oden, Bynum, Kaman and Yao there are 21 games on the 2008-2009 schedule where the Camby would have been a complete defensive liability in the post. Sure the Nuggets will have fewer blocked shots this season, but that is only a very small aspect of playing defense. I will take a player committed to playing good man to man defense over one playing to block a shot any day.
Keep in mind, this scouting report does not even consider the massive difference between Camby’s atrocious pick and roll defense nor his porous perimeter defense (because if he is 20 feet from the hoop his chances of blocking someone’s shot was virtually nil) and what Nene can do.
After considering the facts, do you still think the Nuggets are going to give up 120 points a game this season because they traded away the only player on the team who plays defense?
Check out other videos in the Pickaxe and Roll Film Room