When the Bobcats arrive at Denver for a Wednesday night date with our Nuggets, it presents the Nuggets with yet another opportunity to claim a victory against a weakened opponent. Looking at the schedule ahead, the Nuggets have to win these games if they're to get the playoff seeding they're hoping for.
Soon after trading his team's best player - Gerald Wallace - shortly before last Thursday's NBA trade deadline, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan defended the move by saying:
"We're all right. I like where we are. We don't want to be the seventh or eighth seed."
Such rhetoric would be fine if only His Airness - who certainly knew a thing or two about winning championships as a player - had any clue about winning championships as an NBA executive. Jordan's reign over two franchises, first in Washington and then Charlotte, has been marred by series of bad draft picks, questionable coaching hires and suspect deals.
When watching Pau Gasol dominate the post position for the Lakers, just remember that it was Jordan who drafted Kwame Brown two spots ahead of Gasol in the 2001 NBA Draft. When wondering "whatever happened to Adam Morrison?", just remember that it was Jordan who drafted the Stiff from Gonzaga third overall in 2006. When seeing Joakim Noah take charge at center for the soon-to-be-Eastern Conference Champion Chicago Bulls, note that it was Jordan who drafted Brandan Wright (who?) one spot ahead of Noah (who curiously dropped to 9th overall), only to trade Wright to Golden State for Jason Richardson...only to then trade Richardson along with the productive Jared Dudley just two years later for Boris Diaw and Raja Bell. When wondering why D.J. Augustin was drafted over Brook Lopez, just remember that Jordan was talked into that stupid decision by the now departed Larry Brown. And if you happen to catch Tyson Chandler's renaissance at center for the Mavericks this season, just remember that Jordan sent Chandler away last offseason for Matt Carroll and former Nugget Eduardo Najera...another head scratcher to be sure. Oh, and I almost forgot that Jordan overpaid for Tyrus Thomas via trade and then overpaid him to stay in Charlotte. Have fun paying that guy $9.4 million five years from now when the NBA has a hard salary cap.
(And somewhere, the lone Bobcats fan who just read that paragraph is lighting himself on fire right now.)
Jordan the meddlesome owner/executive hasn't quite reached Isiah Thomas stature, but the bad moves are far out-pacing the good ones at an alarming rate. And thus, it's no wonder that the Bobcats have been an aimless franchise since (and, frankly, before) Jordan's arrival and currently find themselves on the outside looking in of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
From the Nuggets' perspective, the Wallace departure couldn't have happened at a better time. On the verge of a mid-March schedule that gets very, very tough beginning with a March 14th game at New Orleans, every game the Nuggets play before then is winnable. Sans Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets were able to take care of the back-to-back playing Hawks on Monday night, they draw the thinned-out Bobcats on Wednesday night, followed a game in Utah against the imploding Jazz on Thursday, a game against the again-struggling Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday and have just two games next week after getting four days off - at inconsistent Phoenix on Thursday and hosting the dysfunctional Pistons the following Saturday.
There are no two ways about it, these are games the Nuggets have to win.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
-Stephen Jackson: "Captain Jack" might be nuts, but the soon-to-be 33 year old can still ball and is averaging 19.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.7 apg and 1.3 spg. Although anytime Captain Jack is your de facto leader, your team is going nowhere.
-Gerald Henderson: If you've ever noticed Jordan's drafting pattern (Wright, Raymond Felton, Sean May, etc), it's as if he scouts only twice a year - when Duke and the University of North Carolina play each other. Former Blue Devil Henderson, Jordan's latest North Carolina-based draftee, at least has a shot at preventing Jordan's draft record from being a complete failure. Prior to Henderson's dud of a game against the Magic on Sunday, he had had four consecutive games with 15-plus points.
-Kwame Brown: Just like it's not Kenyon Martin's fault that he was offered one of the worst contracts in NBA history, it's not Brown's fault that Jordan drafted him first overall in 2001. The consummate Stiff, Brown is quietly having one of his better seasons, averaging 7.2 ppg and 6.8 rpg in just 23 minutes of playing time per game.
-Joel Pryzbilla: Big, white and Stiff, Pryzbilla seemed to be a thorn in the Nuggets' side every time the Nuggets and Trail Blazers hooked up. Pryzbilla is especially good at getting Nene rattled, something the Nuggets need to beware of on Wednesday night.
-Eduardo Najera: Beloved by the fans in Denver while he was here, Najera may find himself in the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame someday in the Bill Hanzlik/Ryan Bowen category for great hustle guys with little ability.
The energy inside Pepsi Center has been better since Carmelo Anthony was traded than it was at any time this season with Melo. I can't wait to watch our new-look Nuggets play yet again! And as noted above, the Nuggets players might need that energy to secure these should-be victories before hitting the road in two weeks.
Opposition's Take: Rufus on Fire