The Los Angeles Clippers come to town as another "star" aligned team - a product of blockbuster trade of their own. This is another example of the "star" system versus the "team" concept represented by our Denver Nuggets...
...or is it?
It's amazing what some time to reflect about the stint Chauncey Billups had his second time with the Nuggets. The new "shooting guard" for the Clippers is our erstwhile point guard and team leader. Going to be strange watching CB in another uniform, and even stranger seeing him heave up those three point shots in transition as an an off guard. Yet, my thoughts drifted from Chauncey to another subject that has to do with the formation of "super teams".
I suppose the Clippers can fall in to that category with the recent acquisition of Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets. This trade has married professionally future star (and car-hood jumper) Blake Griffin and Denver Stiffs' favorite DeAndre Jordan with one of the most dynamic floppers ... I mean, point guards in the league. Does this qualify as a "super team" yet? Don't think they are as of yet. The Clippers roster, while talented needs some seasoning, and their early schedule has been sparse (they have played the least games in the league) and filled with home dates at the Staples Center. And yet, they are only 10-6. This is definitely a work-in-progress, but you can see the potential for quite a team there.
It's a curious thing, this concept of "team". I think the National media may be doing a disservice to several players on the Nuggets because of they can't seem to bring themselves to acknowledge the potential star quality of a couple Nuggets (more on that below). As for the Clippers, this could be a game that poses some interesting challenges for the Nuggets that they haven't really faced this season other than maybe against the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season. That issue is a dynamic front court that can match the Nuggets in size and athleticism.
Both DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin are quick, athletic, and can rebound. The Jordan vs. Timofey Mozgov matchup will be an interesting one. Jordan has long arms and can dunk on just about anyone, and Moz can hold his ground and protect the paint (he has done serviceable jobs on Andrew Bynum in both Lakers matchups). Last year Jordan ate up Nene Hilario in a couple contests so it will be nice to see a different sort of take.
Griffin vs. Nene is interesting. Griffin wants to face you up and penetrate. Nene likes to get the ball on the left block and use his quickness to get to the rim. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see these two face up. Last season Nene was left guarding Chris Kaman and Jordan one on one and Kenyon Martin took the Griffin responsibilities. I am curious to see how Nene steps up to the challenge.
That's what interests me the most. I have seen several Clippers games so far this season (when was the last time someone outside of LA could say that?) and I just want to see how these teams match up. Considering the Nuggets will be facing the Clippers again in LA a couple days later, this should make for an interesting game.
Nuggets of Wisdom
Ty Lawson may be back for tonight's contest. If there was anything that was painfully clear in the Nuggets victory of the Toronto Raptors on Friday, it was the pace of the game slowed considerably when Ty was out. They seem to need and thrive on that change of pace, and as much as I've grown to like Rudy Fernandez it's best that his ball handling and passing be utilized in more of a surprise role than a consistent back-up.
If Ty is able to go tonight, it would mark the first time the Nuggets have been completely healthy in quite awhile. It's good to see a full squad out there and I have a feeling the Nuggets will be needing it against a rested Clippers team (last game they played was on Thursday). Al Harrington will need to have a better game than he did against the Raptors, and Arron Afflalo needs to continue to get better on that groin and find a way to produce at a better rate. My disappointment so far in AAA is growing by the day. He needs to reaffirm why Nuggets fans love him
As for super teams and stars, remember, we WANT to have stars on our team. There is a very good reason Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson are featured on every Nuggets billboard in town. The team believes these two can become our next stars and take the team in to the future. So while preaching the virtues of "team", maybe the media and many Nuggets fans should look at our own players and understand they can and SHOULD be "stars". For those that doubt Gallo, I invite you to remember the last five minutes of the Raptors game on Friday. A clearly frustrated and ticked off Gallo took over the game on many different levels. Penetrating the lane with fury and drawing fouls. Tightening up defensive rotations, and collecting several rebounds with authority. Those are things a "star" does right? Lets preach the virtues of team, and lets also understand that we may have a couple stars on our team right now.
Mistake Tradition: Boy, that Mark Jackson sure is a great point guard for the Clippers.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78