Hyperbole: Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
How often have we heard the claim "you need an all-star to win the championship"? How often have we been fed this spoonful of non-researched garbage from the media? We always hear from pundits who haven't watched a damn game of the Denver Nuggets, unless it was against the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks.
The pundits invoke the idea that you need someone who is one of the top-5 players in the league on your team in order to even have a shot of winning it all. The Patriots would have never won one Super Bowl without a dominant offensive line, but no one is going to talk about them, but they will speak of Tom Brady because the media loves to build up heroes, it is what sells. They never look at the Chicago Bulls defense of the 1990's as an utterly dominant force with Dennis Rodman being a key defensive cog along with Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan eating guards alive who dared to try and penetrate their defense.
When people think of Jordan they instantly think of his dunking ability and dramatic cross-over jump shots, but hardly anyone thinks of him as a shutdown defender. There have been plenty of players who can be equal to Jordan in terms of what he brought on offense. But rarely do today's players utterly lock down their defensive assignment as much as M.J. did. You could even make the same comparison to the current Chicago Bulls. People will look at the winning record and just utter "Derrick Rose", but no one, save for the educated Chicago faithful, will know that the reason the team wins is defense, as they have the best defense in the league.
What about the Denver Nuggets? Some Nets fans have recycled over-and-over that you need "star power" to be a top 5 contender in the NBA. As Will Ferrell's character in the film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby once quoted, "If you ain't first, you're last!".
Since Carmelo Anthony came to our team, his supporting cast was utterly superior to LeBron James' supporting cast in Cleveland, but no one was going to talk about that. Denver's supporting cast consisted of players coming and going in Kenyon Martin, a top defensive player when he was healthy, Nene whom was a great big man coming off the bench for a lanky stat-hog in Marcus Camby. Even though Camby was a very talented big man in his own right, as one of the top 10 weak-side defenders of the past decade. Then you had a young stud of a point guard in Andre Miller and you had a team that if subtracted by one Carmelo Anthony would have still been a solid team on its own. But no one would of gave them a chance of winning without their "star power" in Melo.
I wouldn't care what these uneducated NBA pundits say about our team if it didn't have any effect on our teams psyche, but since our team is young and their mentality might be fragile -- I'd like to expel some of what these "experts" are saying.
There were nights when Melo could match Michael Jordan on the offensive end, but he has never had a game where he matched even 75% of Jordan on the defensive end.
What you need is someone who puts as much effort in defending as he does on the offense, enter Danilo Gallinari. In every game this year, he has played defense that makes my appreciation for defense shed tears of joy. Andrew, our Denver Stiffs pundit, had every right to claim Gallo as a defensive putz before he was traded here, which wasn't his fault, but the fault of his then coach Mike D'Antoni. Need an idea of what I speak of? Well Look at the video below, and notice how Gallo and his defense was horrid on Anthony, giving Melo a lot of room to work with against Gallo, and Gallo's footwork was dreadful to say the least.
Watch him defend Melo, you don't need to be an expert to see him struggling. Against the Knicks two days ago it was like night and day. He was active, his foot work is something I've not seen in a defender for the Nuggets in a long time. He has been stopping top quality offensive players like LeBron and Andre Iguodala all season long and he makes it really tough for opposing players to get a step on him. He might even be the best defender on this team, but AAA and other players guard the opposing top scoring guard-forward so Gallo does not exert himself on defense, but when the game is on the line, Gallo is there defending the team's top scoring shooting guard or forward.
Some say his offense is miles behind from Dirk Nowitzski, but his defensive ability has surpassed Dirk. I don't know how it happened, but I have to attribute his defense this year to George Karl. This man gets too much criticism as a coach but whatever guidance he gave Gallo has clearly been shown on the court and the rumor of Mike D'Antoni coming to coach the Nuggets after Karl retires gets me worried he will screw up whatever Gallo has working for him this year. I will stand in the doorway of the Pepsi Center with a broom stick if he ever got the gig and I'd shoo him away like a neighbors cat on my doorstep.
To think that he is only 23 years old and can play this kind of lock down defense astounds me, where in the world did this COME FROM? Another thing about him is he makes an effort to play right even if he doesn't always succeed because of his youth. He also seem like a decent person and is unlikely to let you down in the public relations department. Dare I say they might bring back a little of that Nugget community pride? I could say that about every Nuggets player though, all of our guys just seem like the type you'd want with you going down a dark alley at night.
Offensively this kid is a stud, but do I really need to tell you that? Instead of forcing the game, he has the uncanny ability to have the game come to him, which is why some nights he will only score 3-7-10 points but the stat sheet is always full across the stat line as he is our leading stealer, third in rebounding, fifth in blocking, and our leader in free throw percentage. He is going to give a full effort in every facet of the game, and he has the tools to be an offensive threat as his 17.4 points a game is a career high, but his efficiency as a scorer is a lot higher than some of the "top" scorers in the NBA such as Kevin Love, Melo and even Kobe Bryant.
There is something about this kid that you didn't see last year. His confidence is rising, his ability to make the game come to him is rising and everything about this kid just screams ALL-STAR, he just needs to go out and grab it. He never forces it though, which might be the best thing for him right now. He is a patient player and his time will come ladies and gentleman. For him to walk right into Madison Square Garden and put up a career high was the turning point for him, and you are going to see him get better as this year keeps going.
I'd also like to thank Steve Hess and our fitness team and whoever has been training his body because compared to last year, he looks like a fuller, grown man.
I guess the Red Rocks steps never fail eh? His arms are bigger, stronger and his lateral quickness is unparalleled to last year.
Another thing I'd like to point out to people that say Gallo will not be a 20 PPG type of player. He could easily score 20 points a game if he took 5 more shots a game. The Nuggets offense is so much more fluid this year though. Nuggets fans have been watching players like Iverson, Melo and even J.R Smith play cute with the ball and we were so used to watched contested long two pointers for so long (worst kind of offense) that we forgot what a fluid offense with passing and scoring and shooting high percentage shots (we lead the league in scoring the basket in the paint at 44% of our shots coming from the paint, the average for most teams is 32%) that we have to go back to the 80's to find an actual Nuggets team that scored efficiently.
So he is more efficient on offense than Melo, fills out every part of the stat sheet unlike Melo, is a much better on the man and off the man defender than Melo and Melo gets the nod as the better player because he chucks shots at the rim by a much larger margin than Gallo? This shouldn't even be a debate on who is the better player. Gallo is an All-star. No debate.