Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Rocky Time Ahead in Denver

The Denver Nuggets are playing the NBA's version of "Survivor". The contestants are Coach George Karl and players Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson. At least one of these guys WON'T be with Denver at seasons end. Guaranteed.

Tension has been building between Karl, Anthony and Iverson for a while now and it will only be a matter of time before it boils over.

The Nuggets have a team loaded with offensive weapons and are always fun to watch, but come playoff time, Denver's defensive shortfalls get exposed and we all know that defense always wins out in the end.

Teams that rely too heavily on offense get found out in the playoffs. Just ask the Phoenix Suns.

And when it comes to losing in the playoffs, Denver are the team version of Tracy McGrady, boasting a pitiful record of five first round failures in a row. It's time to shake things up in the Rockies.

There has always been something that seemed out of place with George Karl coaching this Nuggets team anyway. He's an old school coach, who preaches team fundamentals and basics first and above all, respect for the game.

A quick glance at the Nuggets roster and it's all tattoo's and earrings, selfish players with me-first attitudes, but, that is typical of what basketball and a lot of sports are today.

Denver has only made one significant change since last season....they gave their only real defensive presence - Marcus Camby - to the LA Clippers under the pretense of a trade. It was a salary dump and nothing more.

It now leaves Denver with a gaping hole in the middle and robs them of a player who had overcome an injury-prone career to push for All-Star selection. The Nuggets will miss Camby and should have brought someone to provide support for him, rather than get rid of him because of his salary.

I suspect it will be Coach Karl who gets the chop first. It's easier to boot and blame a coach for a teams shortcomings, because a team doesn't need to find a taker for him. Iverson would be next most likely to go as he is in the final year of his contract whereas Anthony is still owed about $65m over four years.

Whatever happens, Denver's opening night roster will be vastly different from its roster at the final game of the season. The Nuggets will battle for that eighth playoff spot out West again and might just sneak in again, but given their struggles in the last five years once they get there, it's probably better that they don't.

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