Recently, NBA legend Charles Barkley, during NBA broadcasts on TNT, has been proclaiming that the Nuggets are the best team in the NBA. Other analysts have touted the Nuggets as the only Western Conference team that could beat the Lakers. With the long-term memory problems suffered by most sports analysts, who simply often parrot whatever it is they hear, sending whatever superficial facade of the original comment is left down to those naive enough to take such commentary seriously, no one should be surprised.
In the spirit of the renewed popularity of the exclusively logical Vulcan people, whom inspired this article's title, if one takes an intelligent, logical look at this match-up, the matter of last year's sweep of the Nuggets, by the Lakers, comes up and must be discussed, when it comes to this year's contest. The main difference between that matchup and this one is that Allen Iverson has been replaced, on the Nuggets' side, by Chauncey Billups. Billups, undoubtedly, is a brainier, more selfless point guard than Allen is, can run an offense better, and, because of his ability to impact a game in so many different ways, is more of an impact player, as opposed to a stats machine, though he can fill it up, too.
There are other changes to what the Nuggets look like, right now, but those are nominal: Birdman and Nene are candidates for being the pieces necessary for the Nuggets to get to the next level, but that is mitigated by the fact that the Nuggets had other competent players, Marcus Camby, for example, in their place, when they were swept by Los Angeles, last season. The Nuggets have acquired Anderson, which people are truly overrating, mainly, in my opinion, because of the novelty, and attention-grabbing nature, of his appearance (we all know how common it is for people to put appearances above substance).
The Nuggets' leader, Carmelo Anthony, is much improved, as far as his ability to rise to the occasion in the playoffs, in clutch situations, is concerned. However, when taken into consideration with the Lakers' sweep of the Nuggets last year, one that has seemingly been forgotten by the mainstream media, and his tradition of vanishing in the playoffs, can he be relied upon to rise to the challenge the Lakers, not the fading Mavs or the one-dimensional Hornets, will pose? One would hope so, but it makes sense to hold off on any assertions that Carmelo will take down the formidable Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant and his second-in-command, Pau Gasol, a player who dismantled the Nuggets' front-line, in last year's playoffs, until he shows us that his inability to elevate his game for the playoffs is truly a thing of the past and that his exceptional play of late is to be a motif, in his career, from now on.