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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Back In The 303!
"Consider Me Sold On J.R. Smith," And Other Observations Of The Nuggets
As I've lamented numerous times on this board, I don't see many Nuggets games these days, living in NM. But I sure as hell caught tonight's game versus the Clippers, and let me tell you, I love J.R. Smith.
I love his athleticism. I also noticed that anytime he's bringing the ball up the court, he instantly finds Carmelo. That may seem like an odd point, but just look at Earl Boykins, whom I will get to later. Plus, he's easily better than Buckner, DJ, and whomever else we put out there at the 2-spot. So, it's hard to dislike his play. He may not be an All-Star, but he's an upgrade.
Now, as the ESPN guys pointed out tonight, he'll take some bad shots. And sure enough, he did just that tonight. But personally, I'm willing to live with that. And considering that Karl wants the boys in blue to be taking quick shots, getting up the floor, etc, we don't really have a choice. Bad shots will happen. But come on, did you see that rebound-dunk tonight? NASTY. Plus I just plain think he'll get better. He was one of those guys who wasn't ready to play NBA ball, but was drafted on athleticism. So his game can only grow. I think so far (in what I've seen) he's become a cool sidekick from Carmelo, which we haven't really had.
Ahh yes, Mr. Anthony. It's hard for me to say anything that hasn't been said. Everybody is fawning over him, and for good reason. Leading the league in scoring, which is great. He's shooting a decent percentage, something around 50 I think, which is good. But the really cool thing is his passing. Tonight, I saw some pretty nifty passes from him, which the team will need to take a step forward. Of course, the guys need to help him and drain their shots. In the first quarter tonight against the Clipps, I saw Melo pass out of a double team to a wide open J.R. Smith, who drained the 3-pointer. Man, if that can even come close to being a consistent thing, we're in good shape.
Onto Camby and Andre. To use a quote which will never get old, THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE! Seriously though, same guys, very solid. Camby comes to work, is our defensive glue. If he can play 70 games, it will be a miracle. As for Andre, just a good point guard. He passes well, and will occasionally hit a shot from around 10 feet.
Joe Smith is a really nice player. Actually, all of our role playing guys are. Can you really say anything bad about Najera, Evans, and Smith? I mean, besides junk-grabbing. They board and they hustle. That is what they're paid to do. It makes me curious what could happen if K-Mart or Nene ever got healthy. We're winning now, yes, but man, if we could get one of those guys to get healthy and be studs, who knows. At this point I'm leaning towards it being Nene, but either way, if got a legitimate starter at the 4 spot, who knows what could happen. But for now, I like our little rotation at PF.
Can somebody kill Earl Boykins, please? I decided tonight that I think Boykins has what is commonly referred to as "Little Man's Syndrome." I see him dribble down the court, and just hold onto the ball for no reason. Dribbles into the corner, like he's going to take somebody 1 on 1, or tries to get into the lane for a shot, only to turn it over. I truly believe that he wants to be Carmelo. He tries to do way too much, with usually bad results. I think he wants to be the man. I can appreciate the fact that it's not always size that matters, but heart, but I don't know with Boykins. He doesn't pass to Carmelo (who the offense should be run through at all times) and he just dribbles around trying to create things that aren't there. Totally brings the offense to a halt. Why is this guy still pulling in a paycheck? I mean, I know he can get hot, and I know we've seen him make big shots... But Christ, the bad totally outweighs the good. It's not even close.
Anyways, color me impressed by the boys going 8-1 over the last 9 games. Especially after that 0-3 start. I think there could be some issues with rebounding, as was seen in the 2nd quarter tonight, but the Nuggs are playing some good basketball. I don't know what the season will hold for them, and maybe Utah will be too good to pass up this year for the division. But I think the Nuggets could make some noise. It will all come down to J.R. Smith and Marcus Camby. As those two go, so will we. We know Carmelo will give us 30 a night, and if he keeps up his play, he'll be in Vegas in an All-Star uniform. But if J.R. can give us a legit second scoring threat and if Camby can stay relatively healthy and anchor our defense, we could beat some people.