Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Five Final Thoughts on the Trade
(Boulder-CO) I think that if you read the all the comments, the articles, and all the rest of the reactions around the Internet concerning yesterday's Allen Iverson-Chauncey Billups trade you might be just a little bit overwhelmed by all that has been said. So, I've decided to boil down the entire trade to just the five most important aspects the Nuggets Nation should keep in mind.
1. The trade not only gives Denver the point guard it has been longing for since trading Andre Miller back in the 2006-07 season, but it also allows Coach George Karl the ability to start the best five on this roster. With Chauncey at the point, J.R. Smith should now be a starter. His size, scoring ability, in addition to the help of Chauncey's leadership should all lead to great things for the Nuggets. That gives Denver Mr. Big Shot and The Prodigy in the backcourt and 'Melo, K-Mart, and Big Brazil as their presumed starting unit. And in doing so puts Anthony Carter back in his more familiar role of back-up PG, Dahntay Jones at SG, LK at reserve SF (where we all know he is more suited to play than SG), and Balkman, Andersen, and Hunter (if he's ever healthy enough to play) to hold down the backcourt.
2. This move took a considerable amount of money off of the books. AI was making the second highest salary in the league this season and was accounting for more than 25% of the Nuggets overall payroll. The tax level for the 2008-09 season has been set at $71.150 million. Any team whose team salary exceeds that figure will pay a $1 tax for each $1 by which it exceeds $71.150 million. With AI now a Piston, Denver's total payroll is now $70.17 and Stan Kroenke can breathe a little bit easier.
3. When AI came to Denver back in the 2006-07 season there was a lot of pressure for him to help the Nuggets get out of the first round. Denver never did so, and now the pressure is on Billups to accomplish the same feat; only I believe Billups will go about doing so in a much different way. With Iverson, the Nuggets became more flashy and less controlled. With Billups, I see Denver slowing down, having fewer turnovers, and playing better defense. All of those aspects of the game were areas where AI didn't substantially help the Nuggets and in doing so was actually hindering Denver from making the jump from playoff pretender to playoff contender. Now with Billups, I see Denver making a natural and beneficial transition to being a more well balanced team with fewer unforced miscues.
4. With the game on the line in the final moments I believe the Nuggets will have a calmer and more precise execution. AI was a jitterbug who was most likely going to create an opportunity for himself first before looking to set-up the best option at that critical juncture of the game. And while he did create and deliver often, his late game decisions were questionable from time to time. With Billups, Coach George Karl call in the play from the sidelines or draw up the play in a timeout and have faith that Billups will not only run the set accordingly, but also make any split-second adjustments he might see as the final moments tick away. Chauncey is just that heady of a floor general and that's just what the Nuggets have been lacking.
5. Last season, there was not a single player or coach on the Denver bench that could wear a NBA Championship ring. It may not seem like a big deal, but trust me when I say that kind of accomplishment is something that really does mean something when a team's leader is trying to get his brethren to cooperate. Chauncey brings that experience and I believe that it will pay off huge for the development of unity within this team and especially 'Melo and J.R. Smith.
Now there's just 79 games to go out and win before we can look back and truly reflect on whether or not this was the trade that pushed the Denver Nuggets up and over the hill they have been struggling to climb. I don't know about anybody else, but I think this trade is spectacular and I can't wait to see the new look Denver Nuggets!