Before the Nuggets landed Al Harrington in free agency, I probably couldn't have been more against it. Having casually followed his career as a Knick, including seeing him play in person at Madison Square Garden, I was convinced his no-defense, no rebounding chuckerman persona was the wrong fit. I pretty much dismissed the idea without even thinking about it, going so far as to call out Garret and my fellow stiffs for even suggesting it.
As the front office continued their futility in the draft by getting owned in free agency, Harrington became one of the most capable free agents left and it became a possibility the Nuggets had to look closer into and consider. Once I started doing the same, I think I've picked up why Denver pulled the trigger on AL and how their investment could really pay off. Check this shit out
One of the quotes that really caught my eye after the signing was George Karl's in the Denver Post, here's what he said about adding Harrington
As a young kid (out of high school), I think he did a good job, and lately he's asserted himself into an offensive weapon off the bench. I think he's a very difficult matchup for most teams. You can play him at the three, even at the two a little bit and you can also play him up front at the four position.
Al Harrington at the two....wha??? He even mentioned Harrington as a backup three before playing him as a power forward. Clearly, the Nuggets want versatility and they could be gearing up to surprise everyone with they way they'll use Harrington in the lineup.
One of the longest running arguments at Denver Stiffs is starting JR Smith. We all know he's struggled to be consistent in a scorer's role off the bench. We've seen him frustratingly show flashes of great passing and playmaking only to return to his ways as a whiny chucker. We also know he's a hell of a talent, and trading him for a player who can make a similar impact is pretty much just a pipe dream. JR has stuck with the Nuggets as a sparkplug bench scorer because we don't have another option to play that role - and when he's on there's no one better in the NBA.
The Nuggets may have just added that other option, allowing them to change what they do with JR Smith. Is JR finally going to flourish in a new role with the Nuggets because of this signing? Maybe not, but the possibility is there - and this new dimension wouldn't have existed without Al Harrington on the team. AL is already a great sixth man, having played off the bench for the Knicks and early in his career being a 6th man of the year candidate in Indiana. Kenyon comes back healthy, Harrington would be great off the bench as his backup - their games compliment each other nicely.
Harrington could start too, perhaps he's more likely too now - but I don't see that as the only reason we made this signing. Al Harrington is not the true Center, dominant rebounder, or defensive guru we all wanted. Time after time the small market Nuggets have had to make due without being able to get what they really want. The last true Center we had was Marcus Camby, and we made due pretty well without him. Nene, for all his faults, can start and play as a 5 - and he's a damn good one too.
One thing became abundantly clear to me as we go forward with our new-look Nuggets. I was way wrong to cringe at the Al Harrington signing simply because he has a game and a reputation that is easy to hate. Pretty much everyone has always hated our Nuggets, and now they are going to hate us even more. On second thought, I kind of like it.