Who are the Nuggets? Just Ask the Doctor

Published: January 28, 2008

Before we get to tonight's game – the newest version of the Bloggers MVP and Rookie of the Year voting is up over at Pickaxe and Roll. I took part again, and CP has risen. Yay me and CP. In an odd coincidence, Pickaxe and Roll is also a blogger for the team we go against tonight. Hopefully the Hornets can pickaxe these Nuggets, and roll out of the arena with a win. With that – on to the game!

I'll admit, I'm not a huge fan of the Nuggets. Ever since Anthony smacked a restrained Jared Jeffries and ran away like a little girl during that tussle against New York, I've been anti-Carmelo. I've also despised Kenyon Martin since his days in New Jersey. Knowing my bias, I went and found someone with the opposite bias to get their take on the Nuggets, so here's four questions I asked Nick, AKA the Nugg Doctor. You can also find four questions he asked of me about Tyson Chandler as a defender, our chances in the West, Peja vs. Morris, and he also prompted a great story from me about CP3. Go take a look.

Hornets247: Carmelo and AI are on the cover of the new SLAM, and they're both smiling. That's good, but last year I noticed the Nuggets didn't run plays that involved both players very often. Their offensive sets appeared to be dumping the ball to Anthony in the post or giving Iverson a high screen from Camby and letting him create. Are they working together better this year?

The Nugg Doctor: Most definitely. The duo can boast that they are the highest combined scoring averages in the league with Allen Iverson averaging the third best clip of 27.1 ppg and Carmelo is right behind him with the fourth highest scoring average in the NBA at 25.5 ppg, respectively. I’m not too sure how much better anything else in the situation could have worked out for the Nuggets.

Hornets247: The Nuggets always seem to be struggling with injuries to their frontcourt, but whose recovery would mean more to the Nuggets: Kenyon Martin or Nene? Do you think they'll ever be reliable?

The Nugg Doctor: I think that Nene being healthy would mean more to the Nuggets overall, but his return isn’t expected until the end of March. With that being said, Kenyon Martin is going to be the man at power forward for the majority of the rest of the year and his impact is going to be felt, either positively or negatively. The Nuggets desperately need a reliable third scoring option and Kenyon could fill that role, but until he proves that he too can stay healthy, the Nuggets are going to continue having to guess as to who is going compliment AI and ‘Melo offensively.

But to answer your question of is either man ever going to be reliable I can only answer that with, 'I hope so.' Nene signed a ginormous six-year, 60 million dollar contract before the start of last year and it has been one thing after another for Big Brazil. The knee injury sidelined him for all of last year, he was injured again while playing for Team Brazil in the FIBA games, and then he tore ligaments in his thumb early this season in a game against the Celtics. After and on top of all that, Nene learns that he had a testicular tumor that test results revealed was malignant while having a random NBA drug test! The poor guy just can’t catch a break.

Then there’s Kenyon Martin. The Nuggets signed him to a massive contract after K-Mart had All-Star years in New Jersey and the guy has been nothing but an injury nightmare ever since. Two microfracture surgeries, a plethora of other problems, and a staph infection on the buttocks later and the Nuggets have still not seen value for their money. It can be frustrating at times, but Denver has to play the cards they are dealt without any excuses.

Hornets247: This is former Hornet JR Smith's fourth season in the League and he's still making headlines for the wrong reasons. Are Nuggets fans holding out for him to reach his 'potential', or are they sick of him yet?

The Nugg Doctor: J.R. is the kind of player that is seemingly unwilling to mature, but I have seen some really positive things from his this season. Granted, he is still getting hit with technical fouls for ridiculous reasons, but he is taking better shots, playing better D, and still giving fans at least a couple of reasons to hold their breath every game. I think the biggest thing for J.R. to realize is that his game needs to grow mentally tough and focused in an attempt to match his freakish athletic ability for him to really blossom as a ball player. Sure the Nuggets could get rid of him because someone else in the league is going to try and further develop him, but I think Nuggets brass is committed to seeing this young man through his trials and tribulations because they believe in what he could be capable of. And being as he has already given Denver enough reasons to pack him up and ship him out, I think it’s safe to say that J.R. isn’t going anywhere in the immediate future.

Hornets247: The Western Conference is tight at the top and for once it looks like the seeding could shake out entirely different than it has the past few years. What teams do the Nuggets match up well against and would you like to see in the playoffs? Who do you want to avoid?

The Nugg Doctor: The only three teams I do not want to see come playoff time are the San Antonio Spurs (curse you, Manu!), the Los Angeles Lakers (mainly because they have already beaten Denver three times this season), and the Phoenix Suns. I just don’t think the Nuggets match-up well with any of the aforementioned three.

As for who I would like to see the Nuggets match-up with…that’s irrelevant to me! I think the Nuggets, at full-strength minus Nene, can make a series interesting with anyone else in the Western Conference. And who knows? The Nuggets and Hornets could be as exciting of a match up as any other that I potentially see out there!

I particularly like the information about Kenyon's staph infection. Now I can call him a diseased ass, and not even be wrong!

I'll only add a couple more things for tonight's game, forgoing my usual Positional Analysis. Carmelo sat out the last game with a sprained ankle, but should be able to go tonight. I have not heard if Bobby looked good enough in yesterday's practice to play tonight. Personally, I'd rather he sit out and come back 100%. When he's fully healthy, he can play well, but it doesn't take much to throw him off his game any more.

I have a strange feeling that our team was pretty amped from their San Antonio win, and may came out flat against the Nuggets. So I'm going to refuse to predict a score, in my usual cowardly way. Not that it matters, I never get these damn things right anyways.

Oh yeah – the Hornets are now #1 in John Hollinger's statistical Power Rankings over at ESPN.com. Beautiful.

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