Denver Nuggets Need a Mile-High Attitude Adjustment as They Go Home Early Again

Matthew DowContributor IMay 1, 2010

DENVER - APRIL 19:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets takes a shot over C.J. Miles #34 of the Utah Jazz in Game Two of the NBA Western Conference Quarterfinals at the Pepsi Center on April 19, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Did the past addition of Allen Iverson ultimately dictate the "me first" attitude of the Denver Nuggets

Although Iverson is long gone, did his demeanor leave a lasting legacy of selfishness and entitlement for his young teammates? 

Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Kenyon Martin provide a powerful core for the often exciting Nuggets squad.  Chauncey Billups provides the class and killer instincts which each Western Conference contender needs, but does the leadership of one player translate into championships?

The health concerns and subsequent leave of absence by head coach George Karl left an often volatile team in a state of disarray.  The clashes with officials and opposing players provided a preview of yet another first-round exit by this talent-laden team. 

A long playoff run would have been one hell of a storyline to assist in the recovery of a future Hall of Fame coach. 

The story once again ended without a happy ending or any answers for the future.  The fans of Denver certainly deserve a winner and have the right to question the path of their organization. 

What is the next step?  Is this roster the answer in Denver?  With the summer of superstar free agents upon us, is it time to revamp and rebuild? 

Carmelo is entrenched as the team leader and the beneficiary of much of the team's salary cap, but it is time to get him some help.  This help needs to be in the form of leadership and stability. 

Denver's players need to look no further than their last opponent, the Utah Jazz.  Utah competes and wins with sound coaching and the ability to play together as a team.  

Tough-minded defense and the ability to run a team offense were on display in this first-round Western Conference battle, but unfortunately for Colorado basketball fans, it was not the Nuggets.

Trade J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, and Nene for proven league veterans or draft picks.  Get younger and lose nearly $33 million in salary per season. 

Taking this step would provide the latitude to add a first-tier free agent such as Chris Bosh or Dirk Nowitzki to an already formidable lineup.  More importantly, these options would transform a team which desperately needs an image makeover and a championship focus.

Give the great fans of Denver a reason to be proud of the organization, and subtract the excuses for losing early in the postseason.  Somewhere out there George Karl is agreeing with me, I can feel it.