Arron Afflalo or J.R. Smith...Simply put, I'm afraid we made the wrong choice. Try and prove me wrong, I dare you fellow stiffs! Granted I have a penchant for all things J.R. and while he was a pain in our neck I will always feel like J.R. was the kid trying to show he belonged when George would never give him a chance.
There is no question that AAA is a integral piece to the Nuggets future. He is a tenacious defender, he has a proclivity for on-ball defense, and he relishes the challenge of taking on the opposing teams top scorer. Much like Dahntay Jones did in our much-heralded season, he takes on the role of the hard nosed guard willing to chase, scrape, and contest his way to victory. However there is a black hole in his game, a gaping void of consistent scoring that he has NEVER proven he can muster when the going gets tough (save for one Mavericks game when C.A. fouled out a play earlier).
The point I wish to make is that AAA's game is strictly complimentary. Considering the money we paid him and the minutes we plan to give him when he is healthy/productive (30-35 a game) I feel we made a poor decision. Strictly speaking we need a scorer on the court. Or at the very least an efficient scorer on the wing who doesn't shoot much. Bottom line...(and I'm tired of excuses, my own included) Arron Afflalo has not and I believe CANNOT live up to his perceived expectations.
Listen I've sat here in the down-trodden city of Portland and watched Wesley Matthews be flaunted as the answer to B. Roy or the future 2 of the Blazers and frankly I can't help but seeing the similarities between AAA and Wes. Both are expected to shoot efficiently, defend well, and score, despite the fact that each of their offensive skill sets is boiled down to corner threes and uncontested jump shots. Frankly, they have both been found lacking.
This brings up good old J.R. (Our most hated-favorite Nugget possibly ever). Let's compare career stats shall we considering MPG has been roughly the same throughout both of their stints in the NBA. AAA, in 22.9 MPG averages 7.6 points @ 46%, 41% from deep, 2.5 rebs, 1.5 ass. Now J.R, in 23.9 MPG averages 12.5 points @ 43%, 39% from deep, 2.8 rebs, 2 ass. J.R. My point...It is my opinion that we need a scorer who can create his own shot when we need it. We do not need an 8 millions plus player camping in the corner and looking like Julius Hodge every time he tries to drive to the hole. I recognize that Gallo could very well become this person but for now I pine for the days when J.R. could come in and take over games off the bench.
Hindsight being 20-20 let's imagine if he would have been allowed to start in his tenure. How much more confidence would he have had? How much less would he have felt he had to prove coming off the bench each game? Could he have been better? (Not such a knucklehead at times). It is fun to muse about the prospect of J.R. integrated into the great team we have here. Much like Melo I think he gets a bad rap as a ball hog-stopper and a me first guy but I always saw the potential in him. Not to mention it was hard not to see George's reins affixed firmly about his neck every time he came out onto the floor.
I didn't write this to rile anyone up. I wrote it for two reasons. One, I feel we need a scorer who can create his own shot (if he can close, it's a bonus). Two, AAA is simply not close to living up to our expectations and is looking like more of a compliment to our roster than a starter.
For all of those fanposts and opinions which espouse the virtues of team play. I'm sorry but any cursory glance at past NBA seasons will tell you you need a cut-throat scorer to take you through the finals. Yes, despite what Karl thinks about this young, talented team we need a star. Let's hope that Gallo can step it up. Who knows maybe Masai has something in his back pocket before the trade deadline. Let's not let this talent go to waste Nuggets nation! Complete the puzzle! Bring home the Larry O' Brien before we all wither and die damnit!!! Go Nuggets!
P.S. I just want to say that AAA is one of my favorite Nuggets. I've simply been at a loss though when watching him on the court recently. I don't mean want to start a get rid of AAA campaign.