And of course, I watched every minute of J.R. Smith's disastrous decision to incorporate Sonny Weems into his dunking exhibition (um, didn't he know that Chauncey Billups was there?) and Chauncey's golden sneaks in tonight's All-Star Game. Thanks to J.R., the Nuggets futility in the dunk contest continues. Maybe next time he'll have Rocky pass him the ball.
But as All-Star Weekend concludes, it's time to look to the future. Namely, this Thursday the 19th: the NBA trade deadline.
As usual, the NBA media pundits around the country are forecasting a flurry of trading activity. But given the disastrous economy we find ourselves in and numerous owners (like the Nuggets' Stan Kroenke) wanting to shed payroll and not add it, I don't see this year's deadline being as active as last year's.
The Nuggets in particular find themselves in somewhat of a curious spot in regards to the trade deadline. On the one hand, they're playing way, way better than anyone expected. Going into the season, most of us would have been happy with a playoff berth. Now, anything short of a first round victory will be a huge disappointment.
But on the other hand, the Nuggets are in that in-between phase as a franchise where as good as they're playing, they're not beating the Lakers (or the Spurs probably) to go to the Finals, and there isn't a magical trade out there that would enable them to beat the Lakers (or Spurs). At least not this season.
Therefore, I say NO DEAL and focus on getting to the conference finals with what we have. I know that sounds like the attitude of a loser fan of a loser franchise, but I have to be realistic. And yes, it's somewhat sad that the Nuggets are off to their best start in NBA franchise history and yet they still seem miles apart from the Lakers. But this incarnation of the Nuggets hasn't even won one playoff series yet and they need to do that first before making proclamations about championships (unlike last season's arrogant squad that talked a big game and did exactly nothing to back it up). Moreover, you can tell that the current Nuggets players genuinely like each other and I'd hate to see the chemistry altered with just 29 games left in the season.
I'm certain a lot of Nuggets fans disagree with standing pat and will point to a Nene or Kenyon Martin injury with no insurance plan ending any chances the Nuggets might have of making postseason noise. But doesn't fear of an injury to a key starting player apply to any team? If the Hornets lose David West or Tyson Chandler for a long stretch, they're done. If the Rockets lose Shane Battier or Ron Artest, they're done. If the Spurs lose Manu Ginobili or Roger Mason, Jr., they're done. And so on. The only reason the Lakers can withstand the Andrew Bynum injury is because they were so much more stacked than any other NBA team to begin with. And frankly, by losing Bynum it only makes it a little more fair to everyone else in the league.
Deal or no deal, I'd still love to see the Nuggets add a P.J. Brown or Kurt Thomas or Juwan Howard (wait, didn't we let him go for nothing??!) type player just to give the Nuggets a puncher's chance should one of our starting bigs go down. But other than that, I say we ride this thing out and learn how to win a few playoff series with the team as presently constructed.