ABC logic is now mostly considered a very flawed logic in evaluating how good a team is to another, because while ice freezes water, fire melts ice, water puts out fire.. we can be certain that the same applies to the NBA and our Denver Nuggets because we match up very well against some of the top NBA teams in the Western conference, while we also on the other end, match-up poorly against other teams of the West. So, to demonstrate, I put up this article on the teams in the West we match up best against, from starting center to point guard, and estimate what our record will look like by regular seasons end, as many of the teams in the west have either improved, gotten weaker, or are still big question marks, so I'll also look at the schedule as a good evaluation as well, this will be a part by part series on my part.
1. San Antonio Spurs - Starting with the team with the best record of last year, we'll start off with the Spurs.
Still with most of the same pieces which made them such a well running machine last year, the Spurs look to win at least one more championship before Tim Duncan's final NBA contract is up. The Spurs efficiency is a lot like how the Nuggets hope to be, playing at a pace factor that was the seventh fastest last year, while still retaining a defensive efficiency rating of 100.4 a game last season, eleventh best in the league, the Nuggets can only hope to have a well rounded team game like that next season.
Tony Parker and Ty Lawsons game are very similar, as they are both quick off their feet and attack the rim often, hoping to find a way to score or dish off to one of their teammates. Tony Parker, with his experience and wider versatility in his high efficiency with his tear drop shot, has the edge at this point in their careers, but what Lawson may lack in versatility, he makes up in more raw speed, quickness and strength. Defensively, they both struggle with bigger point guards and often look to steal in the passing lanes, but Parker edges Lawson in an overall defensive player.
This one might be more debatable, considering Manu is hated by everyone who does not don a Spurs jersey, but I'll go ahead and admit to myself that Manu overall is a better player now because he has shown up for the important games, while Arron has still yet to produce in the playoffs. Arron might be a better player overall, but until he shows that he can be a positive element in the playoffs, I am still on the fence with him. However, Afflalo did just come off his best regular season to date, averaging over 15 points a game, while Manu is getting old and is often injured nowadays. Still Afflalo is the better defender between the two, so in this matchup, I'll give it to Afflalo, even though I feel like Manu is the better player. While there is a good chance Manu will come off the bench, I still see AAA being matching up most against him.
Having the start of potentially his best season ever last year, Gallo did falter into a downward spiral last season after his injury and couldn't find his shooting touch nor had the herky jerky drive that was his bread and butter at the start of the season, still Gallo is a much better forward as opposed to Leonard, who was still a strong surprise to most of the league last season, playing efficient basketball, solid defense and helped the Spurs to get the top record last season. Gallo also took many strides last season on defense, while he wasn't a shut-down defender in any sense, he was still maintained position when posted on, and was a solid blocker and the Nuggets best stealer before the injury.
Faried already showed last year he was better than Diaw, even though Tim Duncan is listed as a power forward, Faried and Duncan will never match up together simply because if the height difference, and Duncan is a center anyway. Who the Spurs put in the starting front court with Duncan is always a tricky guess, but Diaw proved to be a decent player for the Spurs after he was traded from the Bobcats last season. While Faried will be the key X factor against the Spurs next season, as the Spurs have no one to match up against Faried in one on one situations to match his athletic and energetic abilities. Diaw is a decent player, but he'll probably have a lot fewer minutes than the other starts, setting up for the Spurs very good bench.
Javale McGee 7'0 250 lbs - Center - Tim Duncan 7'0 255 lbs
Tim Duncan still showed from last year that he is one of the best centers in the league, where he does not make up for big time stats, he makes up for in incredible efficiency, coach pop has done a masterful job of squeezing every bit of juice left in the orange that is Tim Duncan. Still McGee is young, full of potential and Duncan has always had trouble with lanky defenders. McGee might be headed for a breakout season, and if that happens, look out! McGee should be able to hold his own against Tim.
Nuggets - Bench - Spurs
Both benches a full of talent, on the Nuggets side, we have WIlson Chandler, who's best statistical season was even better statistically than Gallo's best season. We have Al Harrington, a very good offensive player when his minutes are limited, veteran leadership and talent in Andre Miller, and the list goes on. Spurs however, still have one of, if not the best backup center in the league in Tiago Splitter, Stephen Jackson, Patrick Mills, the 3 point threat that is Matt Bonner and so on, and so forth. to me, they are both equal, it is hard to pick which bench is better since they both bring a strong dynamic to their teams.
Nuggets - Stats - Spurs
While the Nuggets did score the most points per game, they were ranked 8 in rebounding, and 1st in assists per game, all which are better than the Spurs, however, the Nuggets held the very ugly position of ranking 29th in points allowed to the Spurs 16th. While the Nuggets might have the best firepower in the league, they still need to hold off the other team from scoring as well, otherwise we won't ever be a true contender, like the Spurs with their balanced offense and defense.
Nuggets - Coaching - Spurs
Coach pop has shown to be a much better coach than Karl, this cannot be questioned, however Karl does have his moments of brilliance, including his perfect gameplan against the Spurs when the Nuggets walked into San Antonio and won what was perhaps one of the best regular season games for the Nuggets last season.
November 17th @ San Antonio - The Spurs schedule before this game will be relatively cake walk to the Nuggets, who will have to play 3games in 4 days from the 9th to the 12th of November, before getting three days rest to play Miami, then must travel to San Antonio in two days.. The Spurs will be playing a pretty fluffy schedule before this game, so I expect a Spurs win.
December 18th @ Pepsi center - having to come into Denver after playing in Oklahoma the day prior, I see the Nuggets taking a golden opportunity to run out the Spurs in good ole Nuggets fashion. Nuggets win.
March 27th @ San Antonio - Spurs will be on three days rest before taking on Denver in their own arena, while the Nuggets will be on two days rest, this should be the most contested game on the 4 game matchup. depending on how good you feel this Nuggets team is, and since I'm on the optimistic train, I'll say the Nuggets scratch out a win here. Nuggets win.
April 10th @ Denver - both teams will be on 4 days rest on this game, although this might end up as a mere exhibition game in both teams already have secured a lock in the playoffs. I feel that our energy players will be key in winning out this game, but it could go either way, still.. Nuggets win.
Overall, I feel the Nuggets match up very well with the Spurs, since I believe that this will finally be the year the Spurs show their age.. not that I feel the Spurs will stop being a contender, I just feel they will end up as a 48-52 win team. With Faried having a whole off-season and finally a proper training camp coming up, I feel that he will be the one who will help us mismatch against the Spurs.
So I believe Nuggets will win 3-1 in the season series, next time I'll look at Oklahoma