The first thing we are all going to notice is Kenyon Martin back in the line-up. He is listed as the probable starting power forward and has had such a long and rocky road to travel to the get back to this point in his career it’s hard not to root for him. I predicted Kenyon to win the Comeback Player of the Year in my NBA Blog Preview, and although it’s only game numero uno, I think he is going turn things around this year after having to be away from the game for so long. He’ll be wearing his old number “4” to get back to his college roots too, so hopefully we will be seeing a lot of blue light specials out of one they call K-Mart.
From there you can take your pick of many old familiar favorites off of this Nuggets roster.
Carmelo is definitely going to put on a scoring exhibition. Kobe Bryant opened up the season with 45 points last night and I’m sure that ‘Melo is aware of it. Look for Carmelo to get things going early down in the blocks before opening up that jumper with the jab step.
Marcus Camby is capable of going for 20 rebounds any night. He also will be circling the bucket like a vulture all night swatting shots, hitting jumpers from the top of the key, and leading a couple of fast breaks without doubt. Look for Marcus to set the tone defensively for the Nuggets and take notice of how this team follows suit. Defensive toughness was stressed all training camp and tonight we really get our first glimpse of whether or not the concept was absorbed.
AI is also going to do his thing regardless of what position he ends up playing. It doesn’t really matter if he plays point or shooting guard because I think we would all agree that the ball is going to be in AI’s hands a good share of the time. And keep an eye on his assist total because it will be interesting to keep track of the win/loss record in games that AI does and doesn’t reach double figures in dimes all season long. If there turns out to be a direct correlation in Nuggets wins maybe he does need to adjust his game and become the full-time point guard after all. And while we’re in the backcourt, I’m also interested in seeing who steps up at the other guard position. The Nuggets have J.R. Smith trying to stay in good graces although he is supsended for tonight's game, Von Wafer looking to break through, the strong preseason finish of Bobby Jones, and Linas Kleiza all ready and available.
And the last major thing to keep in mind is an old Doug Moeism that says the first team to a hundred wins. The Nuggets should be able to get up and down the floor putting up points in bunches and should easily score at least a hundred points tonight against the Sonics. My prediction for tonight is Nuggets by eight.
Who’s with me?