This season’s Denver Nuggets are quite a bit different from the team we saw on opening night of last season. They’re fun to watch, they’re not completely self-absorbed and they’re actually pretty good.
It’s refreshing to watch a team without a superstar. It doesn’t hurt that I don’t have to watch mediocre players who think they’re superstars regardless of their productivity.
The Carmelos, Kenyons and JRs have been replaced by quiet, unassuming guys like Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer and Andre Miller.
I don’t want to make these guys out as saints, but the Nuggets look like the most unselfish, least ego-driven team in the NBA. They don’t mind playing defense, they’re incredibly deep (important in this highly condensed season), and they run the floor in a fan friendly style of play.
In short, ESPN would struggle to make a promo like this if the Nuggets were involved.
The best part of all of this? They have a chance to do some big things in the Western Conference. The Nuggets (12-5) have already beaten the Mavericks (11-7), Jazz (10-5), Lakers (10-8), Heat (12-5) and 76ers (12-5). They went 4-0 on an East Coast road trip swing in which they played four games in five nights and if they win in Sacramento tonight can complete a 5-0 road trip.
That should turn some heads throughout the league.
Al Harrington has come out of nowhere to be perhaps the team MVP this year. Ty Lawson and Miller have been compatible on the floor together, especially late in games. Danilo Gallinari is having his best season. The Fernandez and Brewer trade didn’t generate much buzz across the country, but both have proved to be productive.
The Nuggets are trying to win a championship in an unconventional manner, and if nothing else, it should be very interesting to watch.
The NBA is probably rigged to favor superstars and large markets, but if it’s not, a healthy Nugs team could be David Stern’s and ESPN’s worst nightmare come playoff time because they are very capable of making a deep run.