D.U.I.: Denver’s Underachieving Idol

Hugh JassCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2008

Things just keep getting worse and worse for the Denver Nuggets. 

After four straight years of being eliminated in the first round, losing 4-1 each series, the Denver Nuggets were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Playoffs.

After a disappointing career encompassing five straight first-round exits and numerous off-court issues including nightclub scuffles, a charge of marijuana possession, a 15-game suspension and a DUI, Carmelo Anthony still appears to be Denver’s man. 

Soon after the trade rumors circulating Carmelo Anthony aroused, Anthony asks for Denver’s commitment and loyalty regarding his future with the Nuggets.

 "He's not going to be moved," Calvin Andrews, Anthony’s agent, said in a telephone interview. "It's not happening. We've been given assurances from the owner on down."

After deciding not to trade Anthony, the Denver Nuggets decide to get “better” by trading Marcus Camby, the 2006-07 defensive player of the year, to the Los Angeles Clippers for nothing.

Subsequent to the trade, Denver now has a front-line consisting of Nene, Linas Kleiza, and Kenyon Martin. 

While several decent forwards and centers were available at No. 20 in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets traded away their No. 20 overall pick to the Charlotte Bobcats one day prior to the draft.

Things just keep going downhill for the Nuggets, day after day.

With that in mind, I’m going to make a bold prediction for the 2008-09 NBA season:

I predict that the Denver Nuggets don’t make the playoffs in 2009.  

Even with a winning record, which I think the Nuggets can salvage next season, they won’t be able to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. 

With proven elite teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets, the Nuggets will have a hard time making it into the playoffs.  

Unlike last season, Denver won’t make it to the playoffs easy as the eighth seed.  Last season, Denver competed with Golden State, Dallas, and Phoenix for a six, seven, or eight seed in the conference.  They ended up with the eighth.  

Not only will Denver be competing with the teams mentioned above, but this season, Denver will also be competing with teams such as the Portland Trailblazers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Now, even if the Nuggets make it to the playoffs, would you expect them to win the championship?

Not with Carmelo.  He’s led them to five straight first-round exits.  

Even if he has averaged 21.1 PPG throughout his playoff career, he has only shot 38.9 percent from the field.  And let’s not forget that he has led his team to a 4-20 record throughout the playoffs in the last five years.  

So why commit to keep him now when teams like the Detroit Pistons are interested in him?

I can’t tell you the answer to that, because honestly, I have no idea.

It’s just another proof that the Denver Nuggets reached the pinnacle of the franchise's career with Carmelo Anthony when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs 4-1 in the 2007 NBA Playoffs.  

As long as Carmelo Anthony remains a Nugget, Denver will never reach the second round of the playoffs, if they reach the playoffs ever again.  

Carmelo is just another player in the NBA playing for the money.  He doesn’t believe in hard work, concentration, or a team effort.  He believes in publicity, money, and his statistics. 

And with that attitude, it’s safe to say he won’t win a championship.