NBA championship teams are almost always stacked with superstars. It’s a league of star players, and it looks like that won’t change any time soon.
Years ago, it was the Celtics and Lakers squads that ran out teams full of Hall of Famers competing against each other for championships every year.
Now, it’s not much different. The Celtics assembled their Big Three and won a championship in 2008. Partially due to his inability to beat Boston while in Cleveland, LeBron James joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The Knicks did their best efforts by teaming up Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. The Thunder did it with smart drafting, and ended up with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka. The Clippers are trying to join the party with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Most recently, the Lakers acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to team with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
Sure, it’s not impossible to compete against these guys. The Mavericks won a championship, against the Heat, with Dirk Nowitzki and a very good supporting cast. The Pistons won a while ago without a true “superstar”, with Chauncey Billups as their lead guy.
But most people believe that these “super teams” will rule the league for the foreseeable future. The Denver Nuggets might have something to say about that.
That’s right, the Denver Nuggets. A team that really doesn’t have a superstar on their roster can play spoiler here. Here’s why.
Very few teams are as diverse, and very few teams run as deep as the Nuggets.
Ty Lawson is a very good point guard, and it looks like he’s only getting better. He’s not in the elite category, but he can go head-to-head with the league’s best point guards on any given night.
Kenneth Faried and Javale McGee give the team two very good shot blockers, a luxury very few teams have. Faried was only a rookie last season, and you have to believe he’ll build on his strong campaign from last year. McGee is the wild card here. The team invested a lot of money in him this offseason with the belief that he can come close to his potential. A 7 footer with the attributes that McGee has is terrifying to the rest of the league, if he can get his head on straight.
Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari give the team a ton of flexibility. You can steal minutes with both of them at power forward against smaller teams, as the Knicks did a couple of years ago before the Melo deal. They both spread the floor and are capable defenders at either small forward or power forward.
The acquisition of Andre Iguodala from Philadelphia for the Denver Nuggets was huge. He gives them someone who can do everything, and is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league to go up against the likes of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. He never was a great fit in Philly, where he had to be “they guy.” Iggy won’t have to carry the offense, which isn’t his specialty. Now, he can attack when the opportunity presents itself, defend, rebound, and run the floor. Arron Afflalo’s reputation as a defensive stopper in Denver was mostly false gold, as John Hollinger has gone into detail about. Iguodala is a legitimate defensive stud.
Andre Miller, Kosta Koufos, and Timofey Mozgov offer solid support off the bench.
The Denver Nuggets strength lays in their depth. Lawson, Faried, McGee, Chandler, Gallinari, Miller, Mozgov, and Koufos is a very solid rotation. Many of these guys do a lot of things, which is something very few teams can boast.
Who else has guys as versatile as Iggy, Chandler, and Gallinari?
How many teams have rim protectors like McGee and Faried?
Iguodala, Chandler, and Gallinari give the Denver Nuggets a strong perimeter defensive presence, and Iguodala is who you want to defend the league’s best.
Both Ty Lawson and Javale McGee have the potential to become some of the league’s best players. And if both, or even one, of them do something of the sort, this team becomes that much scarier. Don’t forget that Faried is still only a one year player, and really hasn’t yet had time to grow. Gallinari and Chandler still have a lot of potential, and many think that Gallo can become a great scorer in the league.
Point being, this is already a pretty darn good team. And most of their roster has a whole lot of potential. The chance of one or two of these guys becoming superstars is pretty good.
They might not have “the guy” on their roster, but do you really need it? If you play an efficient brand of basketball, which George Karl knows how to do, can’t you maximize a roster full of extremely multi-talented players to compete with the league’s best? Look out for the Denver Nuggets, Super Teams.
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