(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Imag
Remember last year?
The Nuggets were killed by the Lakers in the first round, not even a chance. Marcus Camby was gone, the divide between Carmelo, A.I., and George Karl was huge. No one thought Denver had a shot at the playoffs. George Karl was as good as gone.
Then, Chauncey Billups was traded to the Nuggets for Allen Iverson. A match made in heaven. Now the Nuggets are sitting pretty in second in the West (though that position still isn't secured) and it is all thanks to Chauncey.
His numbers are not by any means eye-popping, even though he is faring better in nearly every major statistical category this year, than his carrer averages. But they don't need to be—he has leadership and experience.
He has brought a mental toughness that A.I. never had. He has a team-first, me-second attitude—just what Denver needed. I expect them at least in the second round, but it definitely wont be easy. At least they have a world champion running the back court.
Plus, the Nuggets aren't the most tattooed team in the NBA any more.
Team's Record '08-09: 54-27
Team's Record '07-08: 50-32
Conference Seeding: Between second and fourth