Are the Denver Nuggets Championship Contenders?
With fiery, emotional players like Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony and players like J.R. Smith and Chris Anderson, who have both run afoul of the NBA's conduct policy in the past, the Denver Nuggets are not necessarily the most corporate-friendly team in the league, which might be a problem, since they are also arguably the best team in the NBA.
Kenyon Martin will never die. J.R. Smith can't stop screwing up, and the team won't let him go. Chris Andersen absorbs love like a two-day old forehead sponge, has that inspirational story, and is white. But he showboats on the court, does his hair like an Insane Clown Posse dead-ender, and is up to his nose in ink. And then there's Carmelo Anthony, easily the most personable, and thus marketable, of the Class of 2003 crew. Yet Melo's always just a little too hood, or perceived as un-valiant, to get on the public's good side.
There's no doubt, from a business perspective, a Lakers-Cavs, Kobe-LeBron dream matchup in the Finals has the NBA clamoring. It's a casual fan's dream — "Hey, I've heard of these guys, maybe I'll watch!" And the Nuggets are perhaps the team that can screw it up.
- Carmelo Anthony is leading the league in scoring and is a top-five player in the league.
- Denver has big men in Martin, Anderson and Nene who are every bit as skilled as the Lakers impressive Odom/Bynum/Gasol frontcourt, and who can match up with them defensively.
- Chauncey Billups is a proven winner and a top five point guard in the league.
- Ty Lawson gives Denver a legit backup point guard, quick enough to guard fast guards like Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo, who Billups struggles against.
- Smith is a total wild card. He's a guy with the ability to score 20 points per game. He makes Denver very dangerous.
The NBA is facing a very real possibility of a Denver Nuggets championship.