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Stephen A. Smith: Nice guy. Knows nothing about the NBA...

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At last night's game, I ran into two lifelong friends of mine before tipoff and they regaled me with a classic story. Apparently, they were in Las Vegas on December 6th for the Manny Pacquiao/Oscar De La Hoya fight at the MGM Grand. After the fight, they found themselves in the press room with none other than then (and now former) ESPN NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith. Given that the Nuggets had already exhibited that they were a team to be reckoned with at the point in the season, my friends couldn't resist asking Stephen A. what his forecast for the Nuggets was the rest of the way. According to my friends, Stephen A. couldn't have been a nicer guy but emphatically (as only Stephen A. can) said that the Nuggets were losers, had no chance of doing anything and were, at best, the ninth best team in the Western Conference. Ninth!!

When asked who the eight teams are that could be considered better than the Nuggets, according to my friends Stephen A. went down the list of the usuals such as the Lakers, Rockets, Spurs, Hornets, Jazz, Trailblazers, Suns and Mavericks. It's hardly a sign of disrespect when someone as clueless as Stephen A. says that your team is a dog, but it just shows you that even after the Nuggets hot start to the season and even with the addition of Chauncey Billups, the so called "experts" hadn't yet awoken to what the Nuggets were all about.

Now if the Nuggets could just beat the Lakers in LA on Wednesday and wrap up the series Friday in Denver, maybe ESPN won't renew the contracts of all their "experts" who have been so blatantly wrong about our Nuggets all season long.