He asked me three questions and I reciprocated. Here are Atma Brother #1’s answers to my questions and the questions he asked me, but to read my answers you will have to head over to Golden State of Mind.
ND: The Warriors were going berserk from the three-point line all night long until the fourth quarter. Are they more likely to win in Denver by bombing away from the arch again in hopes of making them when they count or are they in need of a new philosophy in the Mile High?
AB1: They're more likely to win if Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony decide to take a Sunday night off. The Nuggets are just a better team with two superstars to the Warriors' one. On many nights there aren't many better players in the entire NBA than Baron Davis, but because of some front office failures Nellie has had to rely on Stephen Jackson too much. Jack has responded extremely well of course, but he's not a superstar by any stretch. Jackson is undoubtedly a solid all around offensive player and shut down defender though. If both AI and Melo are suited up and the Nuggets don't beat the Warriors, the Dubs are stealing one.
But since you asked, they're more likely to win if they get red hot from outside with penetrations to the key and dishes out to open 3 point shooters. Of course that's much easier said than done when the key Warrior players have been playing such heavy minutes.
ND: Neither team played very much defense, I think we can all agree on that, but the Warriors seemed to be fouling a nausea in hopes that the Nuggets would falter at the charity stripe. Is there anything that you foresee changing in the Dub's defensive approach or am I going to have to watch the Nuggets shoot 40 free-throws again?
AB1: Defense? Haha did you watch Friday night's game? There's no defensive approach to this game, it's about who puts up more points. When over 20,000 people were chanting "Dee-fense! Dee-fense! Dee-fense!" at the Roaracle on Friday night I was thinking it was just pointless. The Warriors simply cannot defend Allen Iverson one on one (few in the league can though) and Carmelo Anthony is a natural born Warrior killer with his size, strength, speed, and offensive repertoire. We should've been chanting "Off-fense! Off-fense! Off-fense!" because the only way the Warriors can beat the Nuggets is by getting red hot.
Still you can make a very good case that offense isn't the problem when you put up 120 points at home and still lose. My man Fantasy Junkie broke down what the Warriors need to do defensively to beat the Nuggets in RECAP: Warriors 120, Nuggets 124 - Where's the D?.
ND: The Nuggets have this guy on their team by the name of Allen Iverson. It was my understanding that he was, and still is, the fastest guy in the league with or without the ball. The Dub's Monta Ellis claims in his new And 1 commercials that he is, in fact, the fastest man in the league. Care to elaborate on such claim from such a B-list player? (no offense intended...)
AB1: AI is a well established former scoring champ and MVP as well as a perennial All-Star, while Monta is second round surprise in his 3rd season who's currently averaging 17.1ppg. This isn't even the slightest diss at Monta, but there's no comparison between the two. Iverson is one of the greatest players to play this game and Monta is a nice up and coming player with limited upside because of his average handles, lack of 3pt jumper, and mediocre passing ability.
In terms of raw foot speed I wouldn't doubt that Monta might be able to outrun Iverson in a 40 yard dash given their age difference by about a decade. But seriously who cares? Like you noted on the basketball court Iverson is the fastest guy in the league with or without the rock. He's faster than Monta with the rock simply because his handles, smarts, and savvy are infinitely better. AI also has a more dependable midrange J and long ball that Monta has a ways to go on. Iverson is faster than Monta without the rock because he knows how to use screens and tire out defenders who have to chase him for a full 41 minutes every night. Throw in the fact that AI has always had superior court vision, passing acumen, plus the ability to create for himself and others off the dribble and it's a no brainer.
There's no questioning that the Missippi Bullet is fast, but The Answer is faster where it counts. I think you'll agree- it's strange to compare a superstar nearing the end of his prime with a player of Monta's caliber.
Now here are the questions that Atma Brother wanted answered by me:
AB1: On paper the Denver Nuggets looked stacked with two superstars in Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby, a couple of nice big men with their own respective strengths in Nene Hilario, Kenyon Martin, and Eduardo Najera, plus a big time scoring threat off the bench in J.R. Smith. With the 3rd largest payroll in the league their management and ownership team seems to be committed to winning now and not tomorrow. How far can this team go this season without any roster changes? Are they capable of reaching the level of the Spurs, Suns, and Mavs? Could they beat any of these 3 teams in a playoff series this spring?
AB1: At the time of last year's blockbuster Iverson trade many critics claimed that AI and Melo couldn't play well together. How has that worked out? Are there enough shots to go around and are both players happy with their offensive roles?
AB1: Denver isn't exactly a big market team or the most diverse place in the country. Soon after the AI trade I joked "How in the name of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf did this city luck into Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson? How in the name of Kiki Vandeweghe do the only two fellas sporting cornrows and tats in this town just happen to be Melo and AI?" But seriously, how popular are Melo and Iverson in Denver? How popular is this star-loaded hoops squad in this football town? Does Denver deserve such a nice ball club? Do they even care?
Head over to Golden State of Mind for my answers.