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How Ever Will the Nuggets Replace Camby's Amazing Defense?

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The next great myth surrounding this trade that must be debunked is that the Nuggets are now going to be giving up 150 points a game next season without the defensive force that is Marcus Camby.

 

We have gone into extensive detail analyzing Camby’s numerous defensive deficiencies.  I do not understand how anyone can watch the Nuggets closely game after game and come to the conclusion that Camby was anywhere near a defensive stopper.  He did win the defensive player of the year award although it was for much the same reason that John McCain and Barak Obama are the presidential candidates this year.  There simply was not a better alternative.

 

82games.com is an amazing site that does a great job of tying what happens on the floor to statistical measurements.  By looking at the data they have compiled Camby was far from a defensive force for the Nuggets.  When Camby was on the floor the Nuggets gave up 106.9 points per 100 possessions.  That is not very good, but it is not horrible.  With Camby on the bench the Nuggets only surrendered an additional 1.1 points per 100 possessions. 

 

That is not a meaningless total, but it is far from what you expect from a defensive stopper.  To put Camby’s defensive presence in perspective Emeka Okafor matched Camby at reducing Charlotte's points per 100 possessions by 1.1.  Kendrick Perkins made an impact of 2.5 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court.  Andris Biedrins reduced the number of points Golden State’s opponents scored per 100 possessions by 2.6.  Those guys are completely outclassed by Alonzo Morning who had an impact of 8.9 points per 100 possessions in his limited playing time. 

 

The points per 100 possessions differential is not a perfect stat.  The major flaw in that statistic is it tells as much about the replacement player as it does about the player you are analyzing.  If a player is replaced by a good defensive player, his differential will be smaller than if he is replaced by a poor defensive player.  However, even then it speaks well about the Nuggets ability to replace Camby on defense.  Whoever replaced Camby was a reasonable facsimile of his defensive talents.

 

In fact, if you look at the Nuggets defensive efficiency differential with Nene on and off the floor they are 1.7 points per game better per 100 possessions with Nene in the game than on the bench. 

 

Hmmm, so let me get this straight.  Nene appears to be a bigger defensive presence than Camby?  How can that be?  I thought Camby was the beginning and end of the Nuggets defense.

 

Somehow, I think the Nuggets will survive the loss of the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year.  Of course, it will help if Nene can actually stay on the floor this season, but even if he doesn't, do not expect the Nuggets to start suddenly giving up 150 points a game.