Taking the ‘ugg’ out of Melo

20 05 2008

What do you get if you lose the ‘ugg’ in ‘Nuggets’?

“…this crap about getting rid of Melo is so tired. If it was not for Melo Denver would not have even been in the playoffs for 5 straight season… Melo ressurected this franchise and to blame him is crap and lazy way to say the Nuggs have too much talent to lose in the first round all the time…”

“No I dont think Melo is gonna implode, but if he does it wont matter where he plays. I believe you can not get equal value in a Melo trade… Instead of seeing if the assclowns who dislike Melo can run him out, everyone should be concerned why they cant get a better system to run.”

“Yes, I would take Melo over everyone but LBJ. But thats just me. I like him and he is young.”

(a variety of commenters on When is Enough, Enough? – a piece arguing that Denver should dump Melo)

Apparently, I wasn’t so far off base when I suggested that Denver should explore what they can get for Carmelo Anthony…
The rumor circulating the NBA-world at the moment is that the New Jersey Nets are looking at a blockbuster trade that would send ‘Melo & Camby to New Jersey in a trade that brings a package to Denver that includes Richard Jefferson, Marcus Williams, Keith Van Horn’s contract and the Nets’ lottery pick in the upcoming draft.
It will make the lottery all that more important for the Nets, who have to be hoping that they can land a top 10 pick – which would make a trade all that more enticing for the Nuggs.

Whilst this trade may not eventuate, the very fact that the rumor-mill’s churning this stuff out about Anthony, and that the Nuggets aren’t making any comment on it is enough.

And they are right to be doing so. Simply put, the culture of lackadaisical effort begins with Anthony, and moving him might just send a message that is actually heard.

Interesting times ahead, and the only thing that’s certain is that change is imminent in Colorado.


When is Enough, Enough?

8 05 2008

You really have to feel for the Denver Nuggets franchise. Despite putting up the third largest combined salary in the NBA, they were the only team swept out of the first round.
Denver owner E. Stanley Kroenke has never shied from spending his cash to make improvements on the roster… but either he’s getting some very bad information on those roster decisions, or he’s guilty of pulling the trigger precipitously on personnel choices all by his lonesome.

Given the velocity of which the Nuggets departed the playoffs, it’s clear that the assembled players aren’t working out – despite the plenitude of talent there. Clearly, there are problems that require resolution before this roster goes any where.
And what’s the problem?

When the most mature senior guy on your roster is Allen Iverson, your club has issues. The 2003 drafting of Carmelo Anthony was a good move, but he needed to be surrounded by a group of players that were going to set a good example for him, both on and off the court, so that he could develop into the player that his potential prescribed.
There’s no doubting that ‘Melo has become a fearsome scorer… but on defense he’s a liability, and off the court he’s a veritable man-child, the focus being on the latter part of that oft-used expression.
Carmelo Anthony is the Peter Pan of the NBA, the ‘Boy Who Would Not Grow Up’.

Now he’s the much-maligned face of a much-maligned franchise. Cited for marijuana possession, not once but twice. Numerous traffic violations. The infamous “Stop Snitchin’” video. Then the April 14th DUI this year. And most recently, on Saturday 3rd of May – ‘Melo was arrested for speeding. Add this to his cheap-shot on Mardy Collins in the infamous Knicks-Nuggets brawl on Dec 16th 2006… and too many clashes with coaches to mention (“Don’t just sit there!“).
Quite simply, Carmelo Anthony doesn’t get it.
At least not in the way that LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and numerous others of the 2003 draft do. If James is the poster-boy for what’s right with the NBA, then Anthony is his polar opposite – a lesson in what’s wrong with the NBA.

Who have his guardians been? His paradigms supplied by his club? Allen Iverson and Kenyon Martin. Nice choices there.
Iverson is a singularly amazing talent, but his off-court behavior isn’t always have you jumping up and down proclaiming what a fine example he sets. K-Mart has been a player of All-Star caliber, but of recent times he’s been far more talk than walk. Both have cultured a such a ‘bad-boy’ rep that whether or not it’s intentional is irrelevant.
It’s simply is.

Carmelo Anthony has a had a veritable shopping list of chances, and the continual litany of “yes-I-get-it-now” & promises broken just rings on deaf ears now.
Just recently, post his DUI, Carmelo apologized to both the Denver Nuggets, the fans of the team and citizens of Denver itself. Now it’s apparent to all and sundry just how much Anthony valued that apology. Look at the picture to the right. Denver: this is who you want to be the face of your franchise?

So what to do with Anthony? A while back, on the blog ‘Fire George Karl’ (which by-the-way is still in existence, but now renamed ‘Denver Stiffs‘), a commenter mentioned that he felt that Karl wasn’t the reason behind the many failures of the team, but that the ‘face of the franchise’, Carmelo Anthony, was responsible. He suggested that someone could make a site called “Sell ‘Melo”… and that could truly be what Denver need to do before they can get back on track.

Dump the guy. Get some value for him now, before he commits a faux pas of truly Michael Vick proportions.
It’s inevitable.

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Phil Speaks, We Listen With Malice

29 04 2008

Well… Kobe Bryant is on the brink. On the brink of getting further in a playoff series than Shaquille O’Neal. Congratulations to Byron Scott – Coach of the Year… And congratulations to Hedo Turkoglu, named Most Improved player for the NBA.

But anyway, today’s games:

  • Yay. The Lakers win through to the second round of the play-offs with a 107-101 victory against the Nuggets. And the only sweep thus far in the playoffs… but to be honest, not sure if the sweep actually counts against Enver. Definitely the junior varsity team thus far in the playoffs.
    Vodpod videos no longer available.
    (Coach Philip, Kobe, George Karl, AI)
    I really felt for Karl during that interview… ok, not really.
    But it’s not his fault entirely (despite what my learned colleague at FGK thinks! Ok, that’s not entirely fair – he agrees with me that:), there’s definitely a player or five who might find themselves traded.
    Hell, one of FGK’s commenters suggested a ‘SellMelo’ site – where do I sign up?
    So now the Lakers just sit back and wait to play Utah the winner of the Utah/Houston series.
  • How the hell do Orlando play 5 games, and finish their first round before the Lakers, if only by hours?
    Amazing how this works.
    Still… in a game where the Magic beat the Raps 102-92, the Dwighternator continues to put up absolutely amazing numbers.
    Game 1 – 25 pts/22 rebounds.
    Game 2 – 29/20.
    Game 3 – (off night) 19/12.
    Game 4 – 19/16.
    Game 5 – 21/21.
    Amazing stuff. Scary amazing.
    Now they get to sit back, and watch Detroit struggle mightily against the 76ers.
  • The OMFG story of the day: Atlanta beat down on Boston, eventually winning 97-92. I don’t know if they can continue this, but it’s been one helluva ride for them thus far – what… with NO-ONE in their right mind giving them even half a chance to win a game, let alone be 2-2 with the mighty C’s… yeee-WOWsers! (I know that Rob’s having sleepless nights over this one).
    GoJoeJohnson.com anyone?
    Kinda enjoying this, you do realise who originally drafted Johnson way back in 2001, right?

Tomorrow’s games should be very, very interesting:

  1. Dallas at New Orleans – can <insert relevant team name here> stave off elimination, and live to fight another day? (seriously, I don’t see it happening)
  2. Phoenix at San Antonio – can <insert relevant team name here> stave off elimination, and live to fight another day? (nuh-uh)
  3. Utah at Houston – can <insert relevant team name here> stave off elimination, and live to fight another day? (tough one… maybe, maybe they can! I mean, if you were going to beat Utah, it’s usually them on the road)
  4. Philadelphia at Detroit – funny. It’s all bass-ackwards. Everyone thought the West would be close, and dramatic… but it’s the East that’s providing us with the most drama. West has sweeps… or damn-close-to-it series. All I’ve got to say: GO 76ers!!!

Down & Out in Enver

27 04 2008

Wow… LA goes to Denver, and toasts the Denver Nuggets in their own house 108-84. I’m not going to review the game in any depth – there are loads of places you can do that, just going to talk about the Nuggs a lil’.

So, how ‘bout them Nuggets? Ye gods, to actually state post game:

“Yeah. We quit. Everybody. From the coaches to the players, we quit. And I said it.” (Carmelo Anthony)

… is that acceptable?
It’s not acceptable to quit, but post doing so I think it’s worse to acknowledge that you did so. Post a performance like that, I’d rather hear platitudes where they say the right things.
And George Karl’s copping a lot of flack?
Allen Iverson threw up (vomited up?) 16 attempts, and only 5 of them stuck. That’s less than 30%. And get this: ‘Melo was worse! Shooting 5-from-22??? Under .250? Ewww. And it’s George Karl’s fault? The face of the franchise is the veritable Peter Pan of the NBA. And I do not mean that in a good way. He just won’t grow up. Yes, he’s young. But this is his 4th year in the league. Two other super-stars that hit the NBA at the same time – LeBron James & Dwayne Wade – are having no-where near the same amount of problems off-court that ‘Melo has. And both have enjoyed greater successes on-court.
So, in the infinite ‘wisdom’ (term used loosely) of the front office in Denver added AI to the roster in 2006. Great player, but he addresses none of the issues that the Nuggets have, either on-court or off. Surely someone with a little more of an ability to take Anthony under-wing & provide some positive examples would’ve displayed a little more sagacity.

So, even if Denver can steal game 4 (and given how they’ve been playing, it would be a steal), it would only be prolonging the inevitable. No team has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit in the history of the NBA, and it might be just me but these Nuggets don’t seem like a unit poised on the brink of doing something ‘great’.
This will likely cost George Karl his job (I know one blogger who’s going to be happy about that!), even tho’ some sources in the media claim other-wise.
I just hope the front office take the brooms to the rest of the roster as thoroughly as the LA Lakers are on the verge of doing.

NBA Mouthings With Malice…

21 04 2008

Well, most went to plan within round 1 of the NBA playoffs. Most… So much for quite a few people telling me that Detroit will beat Boston in the Conference Finals. Might still happen, but but the Pistons need to focus on beating Philadelphia first.
In a wrap-up of today’s games…

  • Gasoline Pauer in LA
    Pau Gasol has never won a playoff game… but he was – quite literally – the center of a winning team today. Kobe Bryant had an off first-3-quarters, but Gasol was in fine form – scoring 36 points, along with 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocked shots.
    If it was Gasol who carried the Lakers, it was Kobe who finished the Nuggets off… #24 scored 18 of his 32 points in the last 8 minutes. Unsung in this was Lamar Odom – who almost always scores a double/double (17 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists).
    Denver decided early on they weren’t going to let Kobe beat them (and they did stop him from scoring much in the first 3 quarters), but with these Lakers that just means you’re going to die by the rest of the roster. LA’s now well-equipped to beat teams without Kobe having a big night, especially with Odom playing so well as a third option.
    From looking at Denver, they looked undisciplined – 1 flagrant, and 4 technicals (two of which shouldn’t surprise if they get upgraded to flagrants). And even tho’ Iverson & Melo scored 30 a piece, with Linas Kleiza added a handy 23 off the bench… they’ll need a lot more from their bigs if they’re going to have any chance of stopping LA.
  • Dwight Howard did everything that was expected of him in the opening match between the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors… and a lil’ bit more. 25 points, 22 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots. Godzilla’s got nothing on Howard – guy was a monster.
    Not since Shaq have Orlando looked quite this good, but unlike Shaq – no respite if you foul Howard: he went 9-11 at the charity stripe.
    Toronto got within 5 in the 4th, but never really looked like seizing the game. Jameer Nelson provided ample support to Howard with a handy 23 points.
  • No surprises that Boston were able to put away Atlanta as the roster shared the scoring duties – 6 players finished in double figures.
    Ray Allen scored 18, and Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett scored 16 a piece. Largely underrated Rajon Rondo was pretty handy with 15, and 9 assists.
    It’s a difficult situation for the Hawks, who have had a pretty long stretch without a drink at the playoff-tap… and now that they make it, they’re running into a buzzsaw named Boston.
    My pick for RoY Al Horford had a 20/10 night at the office.
  • Boston’s closest counterpart, Detroit, seemed to lack the focus they need for the playoffs. With all the talk of them playing Boston in the Conference finals, they seem to have forgotten that they have to win two series prior to even making that point. I still see them getting there, and this game will probably merely serve as a wake-up call. However… Detroit can get lackadaisical, as we saw in last year’s Conference Finals. It’s not enough to just turn up.

Two games tomorrow:

  1. Utah at Houston
  2. Washington at Cleveland

If Houston see themselves as contending this, they must win this one. Washington are the visitors at the moment, and are a little more competitive vs Cleveland, so not as desperate as Houston. If they can steal this one tho’, the Cavs are in trouble – just as Arenas said…

NBA Prattle With Malice…

18 04 2008

Last one down. Positions to be grabbed, and statements to be made. So what happened, and what was ‘said’.

Detroit run into the playoffs with a win over Cleveland by 10 points (84-74). But big deal. Was the benches that ran. Just goes to show how important the games are this time of the year in the East. Orlando thrashed the Wiz, the 76ers got beaten by the Bobcats, Boston hammered the Nets and the playoff-bound Hawks got trounced by Miami – all in other games that did not matter.

Off West, were the games mattered and teams tried. Given how close the West has been all season, even games with no impact were of import. Teams tried to assert themselves heading into the season’s climax.

  • In one of the most important games, Dallas looked to claim the 7th seed (and, as Dirk came right out and said, avoid the Lakers) and their opponent New Orleans sought to re-claim the form that saw them hold the Western crown for much of the season… until some very poor form hit them at the end, resulting in 2 losses in 3 games.
    Could the Hornets close out the season with a win?
    Dallas well & truly had their number – both Kidd & Terry taking up the gauntlet & beating New Orleans 111-98. Now they have a much-preferred match-up against… the New Orleans Hornets.
    Everyone’s stating that the preferred opponents in the West are Houston & New Orleans.
    The Hornets have to face down the Mavericks and put an end to this talk… but I smell an upset brewing.
    Or was it the garlic chicken?
  • San Antonio flew in the face of critics and thrashed Utah. Many had said that of late the Spurs looked fragile, but not at home against the Jazz (who have been a notoriously bad away team). 109-80 is no small margin at the best of times, and heading into a playoff series against a team that really, really wants to beat them in the Suns, this victory says the Spurs are ready. Phoenix beat up on the Trail Blazers, and you know what? I think the Suns get their revenge…The Jazz have floundered all season on the road – this was no different. They face the Rockets first up, in a match-up that clearly favours the Jazz.
  • Denver beat Memphis by 9 (120-111), and it looks like the Denver Nuggets are just going to sit on their hands regarding ‘Melo’s indiscretions. But their next opponent – West-winning LA – won’t be so easy. Even if Allen Iverson’s relishing the chance.

    “This is what it’s about. If you’re scared, get a dog.”

    Succinctly put.
    But talk comes cheap. LA’s actions speak louder, they win this one.

Ummm – What Was That?… Northwest Division

17 04 2008

Ye gods, does Jeff from the CelticsBlog sleep? I’m beginning to think that’s a big negatory… yet another compiled piece from NBA bloggers – this time the Northwest div.

Some bits ‘n’ pieces I stole acquired from CelticsBlog & put up here (you’ll have to actually GO THERE to read ’em in their entirety!):

  • Utah Jazz (Daily Basketball) “As far as the team goes, Deron Williams was an overwhelming All-Star snub…”
  • Seattle Supersonics (SonicsCentral) “There is hope. We haven’t given up the fight for our team, and we are positioned for a high lottery pick. And sometimes all you have is hope.”
  • Portland Trail Blazers (True Hoop) “Portland got leaps in development from Travis Outlaw, LaMarcus Aldridge, and even Brandon Roy.”
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (TWolvesBlog) “I also predicted that perhaps Foye would step up as a leader, but it really hurt (pun intended) that he missed the first 43 games of the season.”
  • Denver Nuggets (The Nugg Doctor) “Denver’s Biggest Weaknesses: I said defense and chemistry and Denver is to defense as a wet paper bag is sturdy.”

Excellent reads, head over to CelticsBlog. Do it. Now. Do it. Do it.