This year, the Denver Nuggets were outstanding. They defeated playoff teams in easy fashion, on many occasions.
Matter of fact, even in the absence of Carmelo Anthony, their leader and first scoring option, they defeated the Lakers easily behind Chauncey Billups' terrific play. However, in the playoffs, where names are made, the Nuggets got handed an early exit ticket.
As much as I can tell you about what went right this year, there is that many things that went wrong as well. The Nuggets lack of defense on a very offensive minded Jazz team contributed to the loss. What I expect next season is a motivated K-Mart who is going to get this team energized defensively.
K-Mart needs to step up and be the team's vocal leader and keep everybody on track; that way the defense rolls smoothly and teams will have a tougher time scoring. Not to mention, this summer the defensive fundamentals need to be re-surface.
I can't tell you how many times I witnessed a Nugget getting beat off the dribble for an easy lay up, or lose a guy on defense and let them score easily. One thing is evident; the lack of defense can kill any team regardless of the talent level. And many witnessed that with the Nuggets this season.
The expectations for the Nuggets to be successful are always going to be high because of the talent present on their roster.
They could play Affalo at his designated position. Usually with the Nuggets, they like to place Arron Affalo on the opposing team's best player. I have no problem with that, except for the fact that some other player has to guard out of his position.
For example, if they were to play LeBron James on whatever team he signs for this summer, I would rather him stay at the shooting guard position and have Carmelo Anthony guard LeBron James; same for any other situation.
I understand the fact that he is versatile and can defend many positions, but the Nuggets on the perimeter are not really defensively sound for that kind of movement.
In conclusion, the Nuggets are a great team on offense but defensively they're one of the worst in the league. They need to tighten up on the defensive side of the ball and you're looking at one of the best teams in the league.
One thing George Karl needs to stress is defense. Once he gets the Nuggets to consistently play on both ends of the floor, he'll have a great squad that can compete with the Celtics, Lakers, Magic, or Cavaliers.
No different from any historic sayings, winning starts with defense, and defense wins championships. The Nuggets can win games with their offense, but the true glory will start when they start playing defense.
(Originally uploaded on Nuggets on the G.O . on 5/26/10)