We are now a good two months removed from one of the bigger trades in recent NBA history, and clearly this trade has favored the Denver Nuggets. In this trade, the Nuggets acquired Chauncey Billups and gave up Allen Iverson.
This was a trade of two All Star guards, two very well established NBA players. This was also a trade of Billups, who put the Detroit Pistons back on the map with five straight conference finals and an NBA Championship.
On the other end of this trade, Iverson has been a league scoring champ on multiple occasions, has won a league MVP, and brought the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals way back in 2000 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Iverson has been one of the best scoring guards, not just of our era but of all time.
However, the best day in Nuggets history was on Nov. 3, 2008 when the disgruntled superstar was traded to Detroit for the homegrown kid, Billups. As great of a player as Iverson was, he is now past his prime, when he was averaging over 30 points per game.
The Denver team and franchise is all about Carmelo Anthony. AI was simply brought in to be the No. 2 option and a mentor to young players like ‘Melo, JR Smith, Linas Kleiza, and others. That was the case for a while as when AI first got there the Nuggets had some swagger. After a while, the old AI came back.
This trade has a lot more positives than negatives. For example, AI may be the same height as a point guard, but he is a shooting guard who is vertically challenged. Billups is a true point guard who knows how to run a team and can hit any big shot on command, it seems.
One of the first things Billups did when he got here was to make sure Nene got his share of shots. He is the lone relatively good big man Denver has and Chauncey wanted to establish the inside presence. AI wanted nothing to do with Nene. Nene was a distant third, maybe fourth option.
Billups has put himself before the team, and because of that Denver has gone an insane 24-10 and is one of the top teams, not just in the Western Conference but in the entire NBA. One of those 24 victories includes a road victory over the NBA champs, the Boston Celtics. The Nuggets have also beaten the Spurs (in San Antonio), the Rockets, and the New Orleans Hornets.
If the Nuggets still had AI, they would probably be a few games over .500. They would be a team that should be a lot better than their record shows but stink because of awful team chemistry. Getting rid of AI and bringing in a character guy like Billups really did wonders.
The lone negative here is the fact that AI was very popular with his teammates. He was seen as someone who helped mature Melo and JR Smith said AI helped him with many things.
Going back to the positives, now that Anthony is out three to four weeks with a fractured hand, this will really show what the Nuggets are made of. I believe that with Billups, this team will be fine. He has been in every possible situation and knows exactly what to do. He might need to step up his scoring, but at the same time players like Smith and Kleiza will develop.
I feel as though under AI, everyone not named Carmelo Anthony was just sitting around and gazing because they knew AI wasn’t going to give them the ball.
Now with Chauncey, everyone is involved and everyone gets treated as if they are the franchise player. Billups is back home, where he is loved and has turned this team that was full of stars into a team with a superstar, a star, and a bunch of quality players that very well can win the West.
Watch out, NBA. Denver is poised to go deep and this is all because of Chauncey BU-BU-BU-BU BILLUPS.