April 6th, 2011

The Nuggets have no superstar; the Nuggets are currently one of the NBA’s most dangerous, and highly-regarded, teams. It’s not quite Bill Simmons’s Ewing Theory—more like a double-Ewing, since it’s the Melo-less Nuggets mixed with the Amar’e-less Knicks. Maybe, this isn’t a league of stars after all. You could make a similar claim off of what the Sixers have been doing in the other conference; I can’t think of two squads whose playoff adventures are as eagerly anticipated, especially the putative Thunder/Nuggets match-up in the first round. But I think we’re missing something here. Neither the Nuggets nor the Sixers are an anti-superstar assemblage per se. These aren’t the 2004 Pistons, who especially with their later All-Star Game takeover, actively rejected the notion of stardom. On both Philly and Denver, there are plenty of players cable of great individual performances—sometimes only for a play, sometimes an entire evening.

Team play can, in effect, be the star, if it’s about parceling out opportunities and interactions to make the most of a roster full of nascent playmakers. I made a silly remark the other day about the Nuggets insisting they’re the real Knicks, only to realize just how deep it cut. What the Nuggets are doing now, and the success they’re having, is not so distant from the seventies Knicks teams. Granted, there aren’t any Hall of Famers here, and probably won’t ever be. But this is proof that there’s a lot of middle ground between selfish and selfless, and that a deep, smart team with just might be the league’s newest hot commodity. The stars aren’t dead, we just shattered him into a million pieces and made sure everyone got a piece like rhinestones. But only if they earned it. 

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    HOW RIGHT IS THIS!
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    Denver KNuggets. The NY Knicks of the West. Nice write up.
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