Monday , Nov , 03 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Denver Becomes a Contender in the West

The Denver Nuggets made a move today to not only drop a huge salary but also to take an inside track on going deep into the 2009 playoffs. They decided after a mere year and a half the I3-Melo experiment wasn’t working and pulled off a trade that should pay immediate dividends. They bring in a player in Chauncey Billups, who, while aging, is still one of the best guards in the NBA and a player who knows how to win in both the regular and post season.


Denver Becomes a Contender in the West

“/>No one doubts Iverson’s ability to score or draw crowds, and I am one of the biggest Iverson supporter in existence, but Billups is an immensely better fit for Denver. Billups is more of a true point guard who will not shoot first until he needs to and will feed the ball to Smith and Anthony enough to keep points on the board. At the end of the game, Billups will be able to make the right decisions, not turn the ball over and play solid defense. Unlike Iverson, who tends to score because of the ridiculous amount of shots he throws up, Billups will distribute the ball and play solid defense. He has a good head and a winning attitude and will build the entire team up in Denver.</p>
<p>Detroit, on the other hand, may, as Henry Abbott of True Hoop is assuming, be throwing in the towel and already planning for a huge year of free agency. Everyone knows the old addage "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it," which would seem to apply to Detroit. They have made it to at least the conference finals for the past 6 years and won the Championship in 2003-04. They did it with solid defense and grinding out low scoring games. Yes, Iverson should cause the team to score more, but at what cost? This was a team that would hold their opponent to 70-80 points a night and could have any one of 3 or 4 players putting up 20-30 points in a single game. Now, they will just be feeding the ball to Iverson and hoping to grab a rebound. The team concept goes out the window, and I would imagine players like Rasheed Wallace will be calling for the ball more, instantly causing internal problems. Iverson is clearly not a good fit in Detroit, and while he may increase ticket sales, he will decrease wins. If I thought worse of Joe Dumars, I’d say he was tanking the rest of the season and hoping to get a high draft pick as another incentive to bring in good players during next year’s free agency. </p>
<p>I was the first one to condemn Phoenix trading for Shaq and Dallas trading for Jason Kidd, and now those two teams are fading in the West and the teams they traded to, New Jersey and Miami, are looking better early in the East. Iverson may be the big name in this deal, but it is the team he is leaving that will get the better of it. Time will show the same for Marion in Miami and Harris in New Jersey as well. Denver instantly becomes not only a playoff team in the West, but a title contender as well, thanks to the leadership and experience of Billups. Detroit would have to worry about even making the playoffs if they weren’t in a still shaky Eastern Conference.</p>
<p>Denver got the better of this deal by far. I will be extremely disappointed if this was just a play from Dumars to clear up money for next summer.</p>
<p><em>[image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thanasim25/]</em><img class=