Monday, May 18, 2009

This Is What It All Became

We've all heard the saying that, "One's man's trash is another man's treasure." Well, it seems that the Nuggets have found a leader in Billups that has provided them with calm and poise at the point guard position; and has created a masterpiece in the way that Kutiman made genius from YouTube clips. More analogy goodness after the random picture...

Now, this isn't to say that Denver's trade for AI wasn't a smart move because it was, in theory/on paper. Denver needed more of a scoring punch in the backcourt, and were willing to sacrifice Andre Miller's leadership to get it. Iverson and Melo wanted to coexist, and neither player's production really slipped while they were together; but the way The Answer plays doesn't really mesh with Melo's groove—or anyone else's, for that matter. They were still productive because they were that great. But the way Anthony plays, he needs a point guard. His throwback game is what I feel is holding him back from superstardom. He doesn't have the ferocity of Lebron, the cold ruthlessness of Kobe, or the acrobatics of Wade. His game is smooth, like the Mother of All Funk Chords. This is why of all the elite players, he scores the easiest (read: easiest, not most). Billups allows Anthony the freedom to operate in his comfort areas, and Lets Melo be Melo without concentrating on getting his teammates involved.

Denver's frontcourt is one of physical toughness that straddles the line of thuggery. Ask Dirk about the modern day mugging that reminded older Basketball heads of less ticky-tack fouls and more, "No Easy Buckets." K-Mart, Nene', and Birdman love to be on the receiving end of Billups' penetration for dunks. Since Chauncey is a willing distributor, the frontcourt loves to run the floor and hits the defensive glass with tenacity just to get the rock in the hands of their fearless leader. Their style of play is more like the "Wait For Me" Thru-You video, in which vocoder is treated today as this new trend when it's been around for awhile; yet forgotten for significantly lesser forms of musical entertainment. Physical play, or so-called "playoff fouls," are the remains of what used to be a time in which big men didn't allow players to roam the paint at will. We'll see if there's a sizable amount of intestinal fortitude inside Pau, Bynum, and Lamar; because K-Mart and the boys will certainly test it (end brieft playoff tangent). Denver's big men are perfect for George Karl and more importantly, for Billups.

This brings me to the most combustible, most head-scratching player this side of young Ron Artest: JR Smith. I believe that in JR Smith, Chauncey sees a younger version of himself. Remember, before he got to Detroit, Chauncey was a castaway from Boston, Minnesota, and Denver a first time. Billups was a spark plug off the bench, as long as he was focused on basketball. As I said last post, JR is already on his third team, and finds solace with these Nuggets. I think Billups has more of an influence on Smith than anyone has since JR's been in the Association, and can be pivotal in Smith's development. Observing Billups' current work ethic, as well as his ability to dominate without be demonstrative will hopefully rub off on JR and help him harness those flashes of devastating offensive force waiting to be fulfilled.

I know it's cliche' to say that one man has done so much for one team. But in this case, it seems to closely apply to Chauncey and his hometown Nuggets. He's brought credibility to a city still searching for the magic Dikembe had—oddly against Goerge Karl's Sonics way back when. Billups has molded Denver into a true contender for a few years to come. This is what they became.


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