Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
Last season marked a turnaround for the Denver Nuggets franchise as they went from a perennial playoff team to a legitimate title contender for the foreseeable future.
When the Denver Nuggets made a trade involving four-time scoring champion Allen Iverson teams sent to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for hometown boy Chauncey Billups, there was a lot of speculation on whether or not it is a good move. Both of these players on the tail end of their NBA careers as they are not getting any younger, but at the time the trade was made both of them were arguably amongst the best players in the league at the positions.
Few years before this trade, many people believed the Denver Nuggets would be one of the best teams in the league like they are now with Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony playing alongside each other. The two dynamic scorers were deadly one-two punch for the Denver Nuggets, but the defense suffered and was ultimately their undoing as they could light up the scoreboard but couldn’t stop anybody.
This posed serious problem for the Denver Nuggets as they got a little tired the first round exits in the playoffs which prompted them to make a deal for Chauncey Billups in order to get more of a floor general or legitimate point guard to lead the Denver Nuggets offense player also lead the defense.
As a result, the Denver Nuggets saw success very quickly as they went from just another playoff team in the Western Conference to legitimate title contender were able to get all the way to the Western Conference finals against the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Ultimately, Carmelo Anthony and company lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals, but they did not go down without a fight as they took the series to six games and could quite possibly have been on the way to their first NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic.
The one difference was the experience Lakers had compared to lack thereof of the Nuggets. This season the Nuggets have been working on doing anything they can to be able to make it to the NBA Finals when they get the opportunity by gaining as much experience possible here on out.
As of right now, the Denver Nuggets are the three seed in the Western Conference and are looking pretty good with Carmelo Anthony having arguably one of his best seasons of his NBA career and Chauncey Billups doing same.
Unfortunately, head coach George Karl can’t say the same as he has been stricken with cancer, but has neglected to leave the game because of it and will do all he can to be placed team side every step of the way.
Despite George Karl not wanting to leave the game, which is admirable, he does have to go through treatment in order to conquer this which in turn will result in a missing time and leading his team in the hands of assistant head coach Adrian Dantley.
Without George Karl patrolling the sidelines for the Denver Nuggets, the team could go in one of two directions. They could use it as motivation to win in honor of their future Hall of fame head coach or they could ultimately fall apart due to lack of guidance from sideline.
Even though it could quite possibly go either way, I believe the Denver Nuggets were using as motivation and will be extremely dangerous team when the playoffs come around.
It is yet to be seen whether or not they can beat the Los Angeles Lakers a seven-game series, but the chances are much better than they were last year and they could give them a run for their money.