The 2012-13 Denver Nuggets: Embracing Limitations As A Positive

Basketball, Steven LeBron, The Fam — By on October 24, 2012 at 6:45 am

By Alex Wong / @steven_lebron

It hit me the other day, a realization as I was sorting through the over/under win totals for each team in the NBA: I’ve always had an extremely cynical and bleak view of how the league operates from a competitive standpoint.

Great teams are by the handful, and that handful rarely changes. Occasionally, teams will invite themselves into this elitist club — Oklahoma City is there for now and a case could be made for Sacramento in the early 2000′s and the New Jersey Nets when Jason Kidd was point -uarding anyone and everyone to the Finals — but overall, shifts in the league’s power structure over time are rare, if they happen at all.

I’ve repeated that thought every year with disdain, a resignation that all the excitement amounts to not much in the grand scheme.

But I’m starting to turn a corner on this, or at least I’m trying to.

The league is one of limitations. Let this year’s Denver Nuggets be my guinea pig.

In less than two years since getting rid of their superstar, they’ve rebuilt themselves into a deep, talented team whose individual players can all be categorized as having high ceilings: the potential of who they can become is greater than who they are. Together, this is the perfect team to (mis)place all your optimism towards.

Teams like the Nuggets represent the opportunity for change, the possibility of shifting the power structure, to crack the glass ceiling that is in place.

And yet the skeptic in me refuses to follow through with that thought all the way. The other day, a knowledgeable basketball friend of mine (don’t we all have one of those) told me he wanted to put a bit of money on the Clippers winning the title, not because he believes they will, but because he likes the value in the bet and talked himself into the possibility.

I was steadfast in telling him to not even waste his money. This is not the league where teams can find themselves in the championship game in any given season. There’s structure. There’s order. Things rarely get upset.

But like the Kings or the Suns in the past decade, Denver or some other team might represent that hope.

And maybe even if championship aspirations are unrealistic, there is still a joy in watching a team grow into something that you place expectations on or along the way to coming up short, finding out things about individual players that you didn’t know.

In the big picture, your familiar culprits will be there for the end game to compete for the title. But look closer at the details, and stories exist that can be appreciated too.

It’s a simple thought but one that I want to place more emphasis towards, because I think it’ll help remove the resignation and tired attitude that I have towards a league that has so much to offer.

Steven LeBron

I write about sports in my spare time, which is all the time. I try to get the Popeyes three piece for $3.99 daily deal on Thursdays even if my fiancee's cooking dinner at home. I'm looking for a Michael Dickerson Vancouver Grizzlies jersey so if you have one, let's be soulmates.

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    5 Comments

  • Kenny says:

    The Nuggets are an interesting bunch. Then again, they usually are. Even in the days of Mutombo/Pack/Ellis to Melo/Iverson/JR Smith/K-Mart (for the record, that had the potential to be one of my favorite teams of all-time), they never lacked for flair or the dramatic.

    This bunch has a bunch of good players, but do they have one that you can put your money on to come through more often than not? If the answer is no, welp. If it’s yes, then who?

    • I’m with you, real interesting bunch that will be fun to watch. And I’m a huge Ty Lawson fan, think he’s going to be a real special player at point, but not sure he can quite be among the Pauls, Williams, Rondos and Westbrooks.

      I see them being competitive and a joy to watch, but ultimately not enough to join the next tier of teams.

      • That’s the million dollar question…you’ve got a collective of really good players, but there’s never been a great team that didn’t have at least one great player that could rise to the occasion. I don’t really see that player being on this team, unless its Gallinari…and that’s a HUUUUUUUGE reach.

        Great read though, good job Alex.

        -Ed.

  • JT says:

    This is a fun team but the key will be who will step up to be the go to player. It’s between, Lawson and Gallo but will either player go to that kind of level?
    The wildcard is JaVale maybe his Dream workouts might turn him into a force? We know what Iggy is. At the least this will be a great team to watch and dope on the fast break.

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