The Nuggets are flying high right now after downing the Utah Jazz, but no one is higher than Nene today. Both Denver papers have hey, look at how well Nene is playing stories (the Rocky version by Dave Krieger can be found here and for the Post version by Mark Kiszla click here).
Apparently no one remembers this, but Nene showed us what he could do back in 2007. From February through April he posted very similar numbers (look at his splits for those months, they are amazing). Then in the playoffs Nene battled Tim Duncan practically to a draw in the Nuggets five game dismissal at the hands of the Spurs.
Now I am not saying he is the same player today as he was in 2007. Clearly Nene is much more polished and efficient than he was then. His touch around the rim has improved greatly as has his jumper. But for people to act like his play is a revelation that came out of left field is either ignorant or they are being disingenuous to try to play up an angle.
Denver and the All-Star game
I am probably going to take some serious heat for this, I cannot vote Carmelo Anthony into the All-Star game. I think he has just been too inconsistent. His shooting percentage is comparable to his first two seasons in the NBA, which is not good, his rebounding has leveled off after last season’s increase and his assists have dropped off from where they were earlier in the season. Add in the fact he has missed a quarter of the Nuggets’ games and I just cannot put him on the team.
Who would I fill the rest of the Western Conference team with? I am glad I asked.
Center: Al Jefferson – I really want to put Nene here, but the fact is he is the third option on offense for the Nuggets and Jefferson has been carrying the Wolves since he arrived.
Forward: Dirk Nowitzki – Dirk has been amazing even while this franchise crumbles around him.
Forward: Pau Gasol – Another spot to consider Nene and Melo for, but Gasol’s offensive versatility is a huge key to the Lakers’ success.
Guard: Chauncey Billups – I have more moments cursing a decision by Chauncey than I expected to when he first arrived, but his arrival has made the Nuggets a more serious team on and off the court.
Guard: Brandon Roy – When you watch him play you swear you could do a better job guarding him than whoever Roy is abusing, but that is just because Roy makes it look so easy. He is the heart and soul of the Blazers.
Wild Card: Kevin Durant – He has been amazing (look at his splits in December and January) and if you do not want to see him play on this stage, I have to question your sanity. Plus this team is missing a swingman without Melo.
Wild Card: Tony Parker – Gosh I wanted to put Nene here, but I just couldn’t. I am even willing to risk seeing his annoying wife with her doofy puppy-dog-looking-at-a-rubber-ducky-squeeze-toy look on her face over and over again during the game.
Your Top Seeded Denver Nuggets?
George Karl has not given up on catching the Lakers. I may not agree with him, but his aim high attitude sure beats the I hope we can split these four games and as long as we win ten games this month I will be happy attitude we have heard so much of in the past.
Why the Washington Wizards Suck
This is from Ben at Blazer’s Edge (of which I become more and more convinced is the best team centric blog around) who was fortunate to watch the Wizards attention to detail, or lack thereof, before they faced off with the Blazers last week.
It’s difficult to imagine a team caring less about winning or playing the game the right way than the 2008-2009 Washington Wizards.
It started with the most lackadaisical warmup routine I’ve seen this year, starring an assistant coach who was practically begging Nick Young to focus for 5 seconds so he could hit at least 1 15 foot jump shot out of a series of 7. In the co-starring role: 7 footer Javale McGee, who, while practicing complex crossover dribble moves on the perimeter unguarded, was challenged by a teammate to make a 3 pointer for $100. He attempted to take up this bet but, before he could launch a shot, found himself running across the court to track down the ball that he had managed to dribble off of his own foot.
This scene was followed minutes later by another Wizard firmly declaring, “male sperm swim harder than female sperm.”
Later, the crowd was treated to Deshawn Stevenson, who had scratched himself from tonight’s contest due to lower back pain, shimmy-dancing in his seat (through the pain?) during multiple timeouts.
The Wizards committed 27 turnovers, most of them unforced; many were taken the other way for uncontested dunks. They scored 31 points in the first half. They demonstrated a practiced ability to hit meaningless jumpers during garbage time (from the middle of the 3rd quarter on) so that the game wouldn’t look like a complete embarrassment in the final box.
Thank God the Nuggets still have two games against these guys this season.