The Denver Nuggets posted an impressive 54-28 record on the season, ending the year as the current No. 2 seed for the playoffs.
One question that keeps popping up in my head is, are the Denver Nuggets really that good?
The Billups Impact
Chauncey Billups was traded to the Nuggets during the start of the '08-'09 NBA season for Allen Iverson. At first, I did not think much about the trade, since both players game style was pretty much equivalent.
I then realized that the Billups trade was the main reason why the Denver Nuggets finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference.
On the season, Billups averaged 17.9 ppg, 6.4 apg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 spg, 42% FG, 41% from 3-point land, and 91% FT.
Billups came onto his hometown team with one goal in mind: to win another championship.
He quickly became a role model for the Nuggets squad and improved the entire team's overall game play with just his presence on the court.
Melo, Nene, and J.R.
Carmelo Anthony did not have as great a year as one would expect this season, averaging just 22.8 ppg (fewest since the '04-'05 season), 6.8 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.1 SPG, and 34.5 MPG (fewest in his entire career).
Regardless of his down year, Melo has the capability of posting superstar numbers with the best of the best in the league.
The Nuggets will need Anthony to play his ultimate best throughout the playoffs this season.
Nene enjoyed a stellar breakout season this year, averaging a career high with 14.6 ppg, 7.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.3 BPG. He shot an outstanding 60.4 percent from the field and a career-high 72.3 percent from the charity stripe.
Nene proved durable playing 77 games on the season, the most since his sophomore '03-'04 season.
Standing 6'11", Nene is expected to match up against the biggest and baddest players in the Western Conference this playoffs season. He is another key part to the Nuggets success.
J.R. Smith can flat-out shoot the ball, there is no denying it.
He put up career highs in ppg (15.2), rpg (3.7), apg (2.8), and SPG (1.0) this season. Smith put up the fifth most 3-pointers made in the entire NBA with 180 on the season.
Smith is the type of player to come off the bench and make an immediate impact on the court. He has the ability to shoot from practically anywhere on the floor and is not afraid to take the ball to the rack.
The Nuggets need Smiths intensity throughout the entire playoffs, as he is the player that ignites the fire for the Nuggets team.
Birdman, Carter, and K-Mart
Chris Anderson is another player similar to J.R. Smith. He comes off the bench and does what he is told to do, block shots. On the season, Birdman averaged a career-high 2.5 BPG in only 20.6 MPG.
Anthony Carter is a great veteran with an outstanding eye on the court. He knows his role and plays it to perfection. He posted eight or more assists in 11 games and had two or more steals 32 times this season.
K-Mart had a down year this season, playing in just 66 games. Regardless, he still averaged 11.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.5 SPG, and 1.1 BPG. Martin is another big man that contributes a great amount on the defensive end for the Nuggets.
So are the Denver Nuggets really that good?
I definitely believe so.
They have a great playoff team.
A clutch experienced point guard.
A true scorer who could take over any game.
A big man that can grab rebounds and play defense.
An outstanding head coach.
And great role players.
The total package.