Posts tagged ‘Denver Nuggets’

March 3, 2011

Underrated: Chauncey Billups’ (Future) Production for the Knicks

by Jeeves

It’s Thursday, so time for something overrated or underrated


The big news preceding the end of the trading deadline, of course, was that after an endless dance, the Nuggets finally traded Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks. There was much rejoicing and a surprising amount of hand wringing after the trade was consummated. Due to the deluge of media coverage leading up to the trade, much of the focus was placed on Carmelo Anthony. The fact that Chauncey Billups was included in the trade was a mere afterthought.

The funny thing is that Chauncey may end up making a larger impact on the Knicks  this season than Carmelo. I’m not trying to argue that Chauncey is better than Carmelo or that he’s even close to being the player Carmelo is. I just think that as Amare and Carmelo try to mesh their high usage games together, that Chauncey will prove to be exceedingly valuable to the Knicks.

I realize it has been an extremely small sample size but their performance has shown this to some degree so far. Chauncey’s production, so far, has been far, far more efficient than Carmelo’s. I realize that Carmelo has produced more in terms of sheer numbers, but there is something to be said about producing efficiently. I’ll pose this hypothetical: Would you rather have a player shoot 6/8 from the field (2/2 from 3pt and 5-5 FT) for a total of 20 points or 8/23 from the field (1/3 from 3pt and 6-6 FT) for a total of 23 points. Yeah, 23 points is more than 20, but I’d much rather have a player put up that first stat line.

In any case, whatever your views on efficiency, it’s undeniable that Chauncey has been a more efficient offensive player. In his 4 games so far (he missed one with a thigh bruise), he’s scored 93 points while taking 49 attempts from the field; that works out to 1.9 pts per field goal attempt. That’s a pretty good number. If you factor in turnovers and look at points per possession, that number falls a little to 1.6, still pretty good. Carmelo on the other hand has scored 130 points but has needed 111 field goal attempts to reach that total, which is 1.2 pts per field goal attempt. His points per possession works out to 1.07. Another way to look at it, is at that rate Chauncey would score 160 points using 100 possessions whereas Carmelo would only score 107 points, using 100 possessions. It’s a little abstract to think of it like that, but it is a fairly significant difference. Another way to look at it is that league average points per field goal attempt is 1.2, the same as Carmelo and league average points per possession is 1.06, almost the same as Carmelo. In that view, Carmelo is producing at a rate no better than league average.

Carmelo has the superior per game statistics and the higher bulk totals due to playing an extra game and also playing more minutes that Chauncey. Another way to view things on a more level field is to look at their per 36 minutes stats. Per 36 minutes, Chauncey has averaged 25.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 6.6 apg. Carmelo on the other hand has averaged 25.6/4.7/2.4. There’s no arguing here that Chauncey has provided more output per 36 minutes. He’s outscored Carmelo, while providing the same number of rebounds (from the point guard position!!) and nearly tripling Carmelo’s assists.

I think part of Chauncey’s efficiency dominance is attributable to 3 things. First, Carmelo is a great scorer, but not an efficient one. Second, Carmelo, who has gotten used to dominating the ball since Iverson was traded, has to learn to share the rock with Amare. Finally, I think the D’Antoni offense generally benefits point guard play.

So as I said, I’m not trying to convince anyone that Chauncey is better than Carmelo. I am trying to say that his production so far has been underrated and that his production moving forward will also likely be underrated. There’s extreme value in efficiency, which is something Chauncey has in spades when compared to Melo.

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February 14, 2011

Melo Congratulates Self for Rising Above Self-Induced Pressure

by npiller88

Just so you know, Carmelo Anothony is doing a great job handling all the pressure from the constant trade rumors. Don’t believe me? Don’t take my word for it, take his:

I think it takes a strong-willed person, a strong-minded person, to deal with the stuff that I deal with and still go out there and go to work every day and perform on a nightly basis. I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that’s going on and still be able to go out there and play at the high level that I can play at. I really don’t think an average person can walk in my shoes. I don’t think that.

Can you take your hat off to yourself? I guess it’s physically possible.. Regardless, as I was working through the cliches in this snippet and trying not to cringe, I couldn’t help but notice that a little tear had formed in the corner of my eye. Why? I guess I never quite realized how hard this has all been for Melo. He’s had to endure an entire season of doing his job! AND, he’s only being compensated 17.6 million dollars this year to do so! Not only that, but he’s been the subject of never ending trade rumors that have cast a stormy pall over the Denver Nuggets this season. Sure, he may have initiated the controversy by turning down a 65 million dollar extension offer over three years from the Nuggets (despite their status as a perennial contender during his tenure there), but let’s remember who the real victim is. Nuggets General Manager Masai Ujiri (who’s job has been made tougher now that Carmelo has made it clear that he wants out, causing his trade value to plummet) you say? His teammates (who have had to play alongside Melo all season while knowing he doesn’t think they can be an adequate supporting cast)? NO! Ridiculous suggestions… It’s Carmelo, obviously!

Can you imagine what it’s like to have to play basketball for a living and then see yourself on tv even more often than normal? Because of the controversy you welcomed? It’s hard! But I, for one, would like to give kudos to Melo, who has stuck it out through thick and thin and ups and downs, and has really rolled with the punches (it appears that Melo has inundated my writing style due to over-exposure). But even with the constant pressure of hearing his name mentioned in possible deals that would send him to cities in which he clearly wants to live, he has still managed  to average 25 points per game, as well as nearly 35 over the last five games, when trade talk has really heated up (never mind that the team is 2-3 in those games). I’ve started to weep a little bit every night, when I think about the uncertainty of Carmelo’s future. Sure, lots of Americans worry about where their next job will come from, but at least they know which city it will likely be in! (wait, is that true?) Carmelo, on the other hand, is in the cruelest limbo you can imagine. For those of you who aren’t quite at the platinum level yet, I should inform you that you can’t just hire a private jet pilot on a whim! Furthermore, it takes time to find the right real estate people in a new city. You think Melo’s just gonna blow that 20+ million dollars per year on a mansion WITHOUT consulting with an agent he’s taken the time to get to know? Not a chance.

But Melo doesn’t want your sympathy. No, far from it. What he wants is your recognition of his sheer will. Is that too much to ask? You might wonder, where does he find the motivation to play so hard when he’s being compensated so poorly and playing in such a boring city like Denver? I wonder about that too. Without straight-shooters like Melo, it would be hard to tell the victims and the perpetrators apart.

For those of us who’ve perhaps been too quick to criticize Melo, It’s time to step into his shoes for a change. But I’ll warn you, its not a task fit for the “average” among us.