So ... basketball is back. There was much rejoicing (yeah).
While all of us on here are pumped to have the Nuggets back on, I think the lockout did some serious harm. Particularly because there are still owners who are paying outrageous money for not outrageous players (see Jordan, DeAndre). However, since we are back, I thought I'd put some thoughts on the interwebs on how I think the Nuggets stack up against the perceived best of the West ... the Clippers, Thunder, and Mavericks.
I'd rank Lawson third-ish here. He has the potential to be better than Westbrook; only because Westbrook is a headcase. Clearly the Clippers win this one because CP3 is one of the best in the game right now. Barring any injury, the Clippers get the nod here. CP3, Westbrook, Ty, JKidd.
I had to look up who was going to start for the Mavs because they had so much roster turnover. I'd say that the SG position in the West on the contenders is probably the weakest. It's close between SG and Center. From the looks of it, I'd give a slight nod to the AAAssasin. Overall, if AAA's game improves the way it has been, he should edge out James Harden for this. I know Thabo Sefolosha starts a lot for them, but I think Harden is the better player here. AAA, Harden, Billups, West.
Wow, this position is loaded. I remember when Butler was coming out of UConn, I really wanted the Nuggets to draft him. Freaking Skita. Anyways, clearly, KD is the best player at the SF position of the group. I think Caron will surprise some people this year along with Gallo. Odom has got to be playing with a chip on his shoulder. I'd love to see some scandal with him and Kim K. Then we wouldn't have to worry about the Mavs any longer. KD, Gallo, Butler, Odom.
I'd give Dirk the slight edge here because he just seems to be getting stronger as his career goes on. I'm not going to front here, I love Dirk's game. Blake is going to have a great year with CP3 and CB1 on the floor with him. But Dallas gets the edge here with Nene only slightly above the SERGEing Ibaka. Again, a pretty solid position. Dirk, Griffin, Nene, Ibaka.
Gross. What has happened to the center position? I'll start with the worst: Haywood ... he's big and grumpy. If things start going south, he'll check out. They are really going to miss Tyson Chandler. Perkins and Mozgov are a toss up in my mind because I just don't know what Moz will bring to the defense. I remember he played well against the US when he played for Russia. Begrudingly, I'd give DeAndre the best at a very weak position. I take back what I said about the SG position. This is bad. DJ, Perkins, Moz, Haywood.
Rather than listing the players out, I'll just say that the Nuggets have the most depth and talent coming off the bench. Especially if Wilson Chandler comes back. We'd have almost a starting five in Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez, Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington, Kosta Koufos, and Chris Andersen. Those guys might not win many games on their own, but it's doable and really nice to have that depth along with Kenneth Faried and Corey Brewer. Second goes to the Thunder, then Mavs, and finally Clips.
Rick Carlisle has won championships (as a player in 1986 and coach in 2011), Scott Brooks and George Karl I think are on par with each other. And Vinny the Black (Vinny Del Negro) may very well coach the Clippers out of a deep playoff run. Dallas, Thunder, Nuggets, Clippers.
My tally: #1 at a position = 4 points. #2 = 3 points. #3 = 2 points. #4 = 1 point.
Nuggets - 19 points
Clippers - 17 points
Thunder - 20 points
Mavs - 14 points
You can't really discount the Mavs because they are the reigning champs. The Lakers are a mess this year. The Western Conference is fairly wide open. I'm posting this on a Nuggets website, so I'm probably overvaluing them slightly, but I do believe they can be a player in the West this year. Injuries, shortened season, and other freaky things can happen this year. The Eastern Conference may just beat up on one another enough that the winner of the West could push the Heat, Pacers, or Celtics and win it all.
Either way, to quote a really terrible movie, that I never actually saw, BRING IT ON.