Can New School Nuggets Match Old-School Cats?

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Can it work? Can the pairing of the league’s Nos. 1 and 2 scorers help the Nuggets become contenders? Sure, it can. By now most hoops-heads know the last time such a pairing occurred was 23 seasons ago, ironically also in Denver, when Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe – then the game’s two top guns – powered the Nuggets’s high-juice offense to a 45-37 record.

But neither player averaged 30 points per game. (Although they certainly had their nights; witness the box score above from a game on 12/13/83 when English netted 47, while KikiV dropped 51.) Carmelo Anthony and his new teammate, A.I., both are currently averaging more than 30 ppg. That will likely change.

That Nuggets team was fun to watch and English/KikiV, two mellow souls, got along blissfully. Yet that season, Denver lost to the Iceman-led San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semis. In fact those Nuggets never made the NBA Finals. The Nuggets reached the conference finals in 1984-85, losing to the Lakers 4 games to 1. (But prior to that season, the one-two punch was severed when KikiV was traded to Portland.)

So yes, ‘Melo and A.I. can work, unless “working” is defined only as winning an NBA title. That is a very high bar, one too high perhaps in the strong Western Conference. But the pairing will throw Denver into the mix and give us East Coasters yet another reason to stay up late.

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2 thoughts on “Can New School Nuggets Match Old-School Cats?

  1. Richard says:

    Given how few teams actually win titles, that standard is high for anybody. Only one team wins a title per season, so the average titles per team is giong to be able one every thirty years. And, of course, it doesn’t work out that way. There are teams who win multiple titles because of the nature of an athlete’s peak. San Antonio have three or four guys close to their peak, and thus have put themselves in position to win multiple titles. Just looking at the odds makes it insane to me that players are judged in terms of championships. We can only judge them in terms of their performances in the opportunities they’re given.

    Allen has certainly performed up to any standard that can reasonably be set. Carmelo has not yet, but he’s close, and he’s still young. They clearly can work, but as you (Roy) say in your last paragraph, the standards need to be reasonable. If they make it to the second round of the playoffs this year, I would consider the acquisition successful.

    After all, Denver was not going to make it there before they found their Answer.

  2. Jake's Opine says:

    Oh man you dug deep on that box score. I’m still coughing from the dust.

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