The Denver Nuggets are playing the NBA's version of Survivor. The contestants are Coach George Karl and players Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson. At least one of these guys WON'T be with Denver at season's end. Guaranteed.
Tension has been building between Karl, Anthony, and Iverson for a while now. Constantly losing in the first round of the playoffs does that. It's only be a matter of time before it boils over.
The Nuggets have a team loaded with offensive weapons and are always fun to watch, but come playoff time, their defensive shortfalls become exposed and we all know that defense always wins out in the end.
Teams that rely too heavily on offense are found out in the playoffs. Just ask the Phoenix Suns.
And when it comes to losing in the playoffs, Denver is the team version of Tracy McGrady, boasting a pitiful record of five first round failures in a row.
It can't and won't happen again.
There has always been something that seemed out of place with George Karl coaching this Nuggets team, anyway. He's an old school coach preaching team fundamentals and basics first, and, above all, respect for the game.
A quick glance at the Nuggets' roster and you'll see it's all tattoos and earrings and selfish players with me-first attitudes. But that is typical of basketball—and a lot of sports—today.
Denver has only made one significant change since last season. They gave their only real defensive presence—Marcus Camby—to the LA Clippers under the pretense of a trade. It was a salary dump and nothing more. Basketball is a business, sure, but Camby deserved a little more respect.
It now leaves Denver with a gaping hole in the middle and robs them of a player who had overcome an injury-prone career to push for All-Star selection. The Nuggets will miss Camby and should have brought someone to provide support for him, rather than get rid of him because of his salary.
I suspect it will be Coach Karl who gets the chop first. It's easier to boot and blame a coach for a team's shortcomings, because a team doesn't need to find a taker for him. Iverson would most likely be next to go as he is in the final year of his contract, whereas Anthony is still owed about $65 million over four years.
Whatever happens, Denver's opening night roster will be vastly different from its roster at the final game of the season. The Nuggets will battle for that eighth playoff spot out West again and might just sneak in again. But, given their struggles in the last five years, it's probably better that they don't.