After watching Kobe Bryant torch the Denver Nuggets in the second half of Game One of their first round matchup, I realized Kenyon Martin on Kobe just ain't cuttin it.
When Ron Artest was asked about possibly being traded up North to the Mile High city, he replied,
"It has nice scenery."
“(If) God put me in Denver, it’s no question they would be a better team,’’
Of course the trade fell through because of the regret to part with Linas Kleiza. As a result, Denver has been lackluster this season, especially after the All Star break.
What has Ron Artest been up to since the All-Star break?
Artest’s points per game, rebounding, field goal percentage, steals, and free throw percentage all have been on the rise. Ron has shot an incredible 60.4% (FG) since the All-Star break and over 42% from behind the arc; talk about re-establishing your game.
Ron has had an All-Star worthy year; 20.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 2.33 SPG. Also, Artest has held Kobe under 30 points in 3 out of the 4 games between Sacramento and L.A.
Not many can say that.
Artest holding Bryant to under 30, and Ron’s 20+ per game, is a 50 point swing, which would’ve been the difference in Game One at the Staples Center.
Can you imagine this lineup?
Allen Iverson 26.4 PPG, 7.1 APG, 3 RPG
Ron Artest 20.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.5 APG
Carmelo Anthony 25.7 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.4 APG
Kenyon Martin 12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG
Marcus Camby 9.1 PPG, 13.1 RPG 3.6 BPG
Three 20+ scorers in a starting lineup; no team could boast this - not even the Boston Celtics Paul Pierce 19.6PPG, Kevin Garnett 18.8, and Ray Allen 17.4 PPG.
If the Nuggets would’ve had this lineup, they would’ve surely taken the Northwest Division from the Jazz, and around the 4-5th seed. Also the automatic favorites of the West and the modern day Bad Boys of the league.
Another fact he would've been a big help, on Sundays he plays his best basketball of the season, averaging 21 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 2.6 SPG.
Artest would have to learn his new role in becoming the team’s third scoring option, but when there’s the NBA Finals to talk about, trust me, he wouldn’t mind. After the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl which suspended him for a year, his short-lived rap career, and allegations of domestic abuse in Sacramento, Ron is attempting to turn over a new leaf in the eyes of the public, going from a laughingstock to a fan favorite.
Bottom line, Ron Artest is still a Top five defender in the NBA; lets not forget he was the NBA 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, a good scorer, but can be tempermental at times. Believe me, George Karl and Stan Kroenke: Ron Artest would have been worth it!