I’m going to take a gander that most of you did not pick the Denver Nuggets to make the Western Conference Finals but that came to fruition as the Nuggets beat the Mavericks in game 5 by the score of 124-110 to move on.
The Nuggets might be one of the most interesting teams in the playoffs with the cast of characters which include “Birdman” Chris Anderson, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, and big-game Chauncey Billups. The team can play at a snail’s pace if needed but they love to run the basketball right down your throat.
Considering how the Lakers have played recently, it would not surprise me if they make their first ever NBA Finals appearance. It just seems that this team’s success has almost come out of thin air. The Nuggets prior to this year were always looked upon as a first-round out and Carmelo Anthony talent was still untapped.
Specifically I would like to shine the spot-light on head coach George Karl, forward/ center Nene, and point guard Chauncey Billups.
Karl was always known as the coach that choked in big games. Karl’s Seattle and Milwaukee teams were talented but always seemed to fall short of their eventual goals. After having to deal with prostate cancer, Karl’s Denver Nuggets have slowly but surely started to become a threat in the Western Conference. When Chauncey Billups was acquired, the team came together and might have been the best team that I have seen George Karl has coached. I hope for Karl’s sake that he remove “big game choker tag” since someone with over 900 wins deserve better.
Center Nene has had a strong playoff run so far averaging 12.0ppg, 7.3rpg, and 2.7apg after coming back from a removal of a testicular tumor. Nene has made big plays in the post along with his ability in transition. He will be a force to deal with regardless of who the Nuggets play in the Western Conference Finals. Also his Wikipedia page tells us that Nene is “happily married”
However, the true story of this team is the home-coming of point-guard Chauncey Billups. I’ll be honest, I expected the Iverson-Billups trade to be a solid deal but at this point it looks incredibly one sided. Billups much like Sam Cassel did in Milwaukee and Gary Payton in Seattle for George Karl, has made big plays and come with amazing performances. Billups was what the team needed in a player who is a leader on the floor and someone willing to take the big shot if called upon. In my opinion, he is the best big-game shooter in the NBA.
The Denver Nuggets are the NBA’s version of the Arizona Cardinals where a team that always had talent has finally figured out the answer to the question. Hopefully the Nuggets run will not end before they claim the ultimate prize.