Does anyone doubt that Kosta Koufos has been the reason for Denver's post-Carmelo success?
Minnesota Timberwolves (17-62) vs. Denver Nuggets (48-31) at Pepsi Center
After the Carmelo Anthony trade to New York, Denver Nuggets' executive vice president of basketball operations, Masai Ujiri, admitted, "we feel we got killed in the trade because we lost a couple of pretty good players."
I wonder what Timberwolves' fans would've said if David Kahn had made a similar statement after trading Al Jefferson to Utah. But that's a question for another time.
In Denver, the Nuggets have gone 16-6 since the Melo'Drama ended, while the New York Knicks have gone 13-12 since the arrival of Carmelo. Many analysts would attribute Denver's success to the innovation of Ujiri in getting quality players in return for 'Melo, to guys like Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo who continued to carry the team or to the fact that 'Melo was overrated to begin with.
The Timberwolves will seek to prove all those analysts wrong. The reason the post-Anthony Nuggets have played so well is because they haven't faced Minnesota yet. Tonight, they'll bring the Mile High boys back down to earth.
Let's break down the matchups:
Last time, I accidentally posted a picture of the Nene Goose instead of the basketball player Nene. I think I got it right this time.
Nikola Pekovic vs. Nene
With Darko Milicic likely out again for tonight's game, Nikola Pekovic will get the start and will go up against Nene, who has been one of the many players who has looked better with Anthony gone. Now, instead of only getting points off of 'Melo missed shots, he can get his own points with better team ball movement.
If only that mattered tonight. Nothing moves when it hits Nikola Pekovic. Not a ball. Not a player. Certainly not a lightweight like Nene. If Nene scores more than 8 points tonight when Pekovic is in the game, I owe him a Coke.
Winner: Nikola Pekovic
Not sure if Kenyon is laughing or screaming here. Not sure if there's really a difference.
Anthony Randolph vs. Kenyon Martin
List of jobs for which I'd really like to see Kenyon Martin do after he retires from professional basketball:
1) Clown ("Make your own f%#king balloon animals!")
2) Taxi driver ("No, I ain't drivin' there. I'm goin' where I wanna go!")
3) Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves ("I'ma trade that Kevin Love guy to Miami for Trina, Trick Daddy and Kat Von Dee")
4) Stand-up comedian ("A man walks into a bar. He says, 'ouch!'. Laugh, muthaf%#kas!")
Anthony Randolph might make that retirement come sooner than expected after he embarrasses him on the basketball court tonight.
Winner: Anthony Randolph
Michael Beasley vs. Danilo Gallinari
Do you know what roosters do? They crow when the sun comes up and go to bed when the sun goes down (at least if the cartoons have it right, and lets face it, they generally do). Well, do they play many day games in the NBA? I didn't think so. By the time they tip off tonight, most roosters are already going to be in bed. This is why Gallo always looks so sleepy-eyed on the basketball court.
Michael Beasley isn't a rooster. He's a vampire. Not like those teeny-bopper vampires in movies like Twilight or Wuthering Bites. Like the ones in that movie Blade. Except, not the guy who went to jail for tax evasion. Or the one who dated Reese WItherspoon. The point is, he never sleeps, okay?
Winner: Michael Beasley
Well, at least they got his name right.
Wesley Johnson vs. Wilson Chanlder
How did Wilson Chanlder play in his last game against Oklahoma City? 1-of-10. 2 points. 3 fouls. 1 assist. That's it. No rebounds. No blocks or steals. No turnovers. Well done, sir.
Wesley Johnson, in his last game, went 4-of-13 with 10 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block. That's what we call "stuffing the stat sheet" in the business. Wilson Chanlder doesn't do nothin' bout that. And people say Wes is the one who will never be a great NBA player? They should be saying that about Chanlder.
Winner: Wesley Johnson
Mentor Wayne Ellington imparts wisdom to Ty Lawson.
Luke Ridnour vs. Ty Lawson
Ever heard of the Transitive Property of Basketball? It states that when an older player, who you like, plays with a younger player, ever success the younger player ever has can be attributed to the older player. Therefore, Al Jefferson should get credit for Kevin Love. Sebastian Telfair should get credit for Jonny Flynn. And Wayne Ellington should get credit for Ty Lawson.
Isn't it amazing that in David Kahn's first draft, he not only managed to draft Lawson, who has been a talented point guard, he also drafted the guy who was responsible for Lawson's success, Wayne Ellington. That's a great draft.
(Wait...Ellington is actually 26 days younger than Lawson? No way...)
Ever heard of the Reverse Transitive Property of Basketball?
Winner: Luke Ridnour