Bill Simmons weighs in on Nuggets' Billups and Melo
Thanks to poster 5280 for throwing this up on the Fanposts. I was debating putting this up, but there are some good talk points involved. Simmons posts an annual "NBA trade value" column where he ranks the
Top 50 now Top 40 NBA player trade values.
The basic premise ... Melo is ranked 18th and if the Nuggets were offered players 19-40 for Melo the Nuggets say, "No thanks," but if Denver is offered a player ranked 1-17 then they'd "have to think about the deal."
Anyhow ... Billups ranked #40 with this to say from Simmons:
"Remains the same "slightly past-his-prime, slightly overpaid and genuinely overrated crunch-time" guy; it's just that he got traded to one of the most selfish, me-first, rudderless playoff teams in recent memory. Now he's getting the credit for Denver's "turnaround" with nobody mentioning the other factors (Carmelo is a better all-around player, Nene has been shockingly effective, the Nuggets' bench is better, the pieces complement each other, etc.). Here's my theory: Denver was like a post-college buddy who had a horrendous girlfriend, finally broke up with her, then married the next cute girl who liked him. Does that mean he married poorly? Not necessarily. She might have been perfect. But deep down, we all knew he was so ecstatic to be away from the previous witch that he would have fallen head over heels for anyone. So that's what Chauncey turned out to be for the Nuggets -- the pleasant follow-up girlfriend to the nightmare witch. If Denver had swapped Iverson for Kidd, the same "turnaround" would have happened. I am convinced."
I believe that Simmons TRULY undervalues the professionalism Billups has brought to the Nuggets and I don't think that a "Jason Kidd" could have come in here and done what Mr. Big Shot has done. The national perception or at least Simmons' take is that Billups was just the true point-guard this team needed. I think Billups, after watching him and his influence during games and during timeouts has brought a whole lot more to the table.
Also ... saying Nene's play has been "shockingly effective" is not really accurate if you actually watched the Brazilian. We all knew it was just a matter of staying healthy ... so you accurately call Nene's health a effective surprise.
I have a good friend we shall call Rich, who emailed me this yesterday ...
You could easily replace Billups' assessment with Bill Simmons ..."Bill Simmons remains the slightly past-his-prime, slightly overpaid and genuinely overrated crunch-time guy"
I think Rich has a point!
Later on in the article we come to Simmons' assessment of Carmelo Anthony:
18. Carmelo Anthony
Melo in 2006-07: 65 games, 28.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 47.6 percent FG, 26.8 percent 3FG
Melo in 2008-09: 37 games, 21.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 44.3 percent FG, 40.0 percent 3FG
What was a better season? This season. His points dropped, but here's why ...
2007: 22.4 FGA, 8.7 FTA
2009: 17.0 FGA, 7.0 FTA
So basically, he gave up six shots a game to other guys, rebounded a little more, improved his 3-point shooting and worked harder on defense. He's better now. That's the second-biggest reason they're winning (narrowly trailing the Billups/girlfriend analogy). And if you don't think he's still the crucial Nugget, check this out:
Melo in wins: 23.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.0 apg, 47 percent FG
Melo in losses: 16.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 38 percent FG
I actually agree with Simmons' assessment here. So he goes 1 for 2, although I think most Nuggets fans would rank Melo a touch higher than #18 in the NBA.
Feel free to drop some thoughts below and once again thanks to Mr. 5280 for originally posting this over in the Fanpost section!