The reasons for my optimistic outlook are multi-faceted. First off is the report of Nene playing in full court 5-on-5 games at Pepsi Center. In a story from the Rocky Mountain News, Gillen is quoted saying, “We'll monitor him daily when he starts training camp. He's doing good.” Sounds reassuring doesn’t it?
As for the rest of my optimism. It is rooted in the first Yakhouba reference I’ve seen all off season. I think that Diawara is going to surprise some people. He is a good shooter, especially from beyond the three point line, and can really hold his own on defense. I think that J.R. Smith is also going to resurrect his young career here in Denver. Smith is a player that can only improve. Being surrounded by veterans like Marcus Camby and Joe Smith will be positive for him. While the infectious winning attitude of Carmelo Anthony should also rub off on Smith, and others, for a favorable outcome.
And the final front that has me thinking positively about this year’s chances for improvement is oddly rooted around Kenyon Martin. I’ve been very outspoken about the way I feel about Kenyon, but that doesn’t mean that if a new leaf is turned that I am not capable of forgiveness. I gauge a lot of how I feel by what the other players are saying about their teammates. In the same Rocky Mountain News article, Marcus Camby states, “Guys on this team are all for one. What happened last year is over with. He has a clean slate with everybody.” Marcus is also quoted in the Denver Post saying other positive things about the situation. Camby said, “He's been here the majority of the summer working out and getting his knee healthy. He said he feels great and is ready to return to his All-Star form.”
Can you imagine a team with this kind of potential if all that has been said can be truthful in the long run? Picture this, Carmelo Anthony is this team’s leader and franchise player. Combine him with another career effort from Marcus Camby on the defensive glass and swatting shots. Add a healthy and positive Kenyon Martin and Nene. Then squeeze a twist of Yakhouba Diawara and dollop of J.R. Smith and things are looking pretty damn good. We all know what Reggie Evans brings to the gym, and the cherry on top is the play of Earl Boykins. Earl hasn’t been making the headlines this summer, but he is still an X-factor. Putting all these guys together and having them fall into their needed roles is all Coach Karl has to figure out. It may take a couple weeks to see how players mesh, but I think that the Nuggets have all the ingredients for success