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Altitude with an Attitude

September 26th, 2004 by lgeorgia

Martin Joins Ship

It’s impossible to deny the fact that Nuggets rookie sensation Carmelo Anthony (thanks Mr. Dumas, err, Dumars) has single-handedly parked thousands of new backsides in Pepsi Center seats, and it’s certainly not a bad thing. But for a time, it appeared difficult not to resent the fact that busloads of Abercrombie-clad yuppies were venturing north from Highlands Ranch, deciding only now to acknowledge Denver does, in fact, have an NBA franchise.

Such resentment stems from the fact that a proud faction of Nuggets fans had toiled through more than a decade of despair, waiting to one day regain some clout. From fond memories of Dikembe and Packman stunning the basketball world to nightmares of Bill Hanzlik tearing out his hair during a season that could only be rated NC-71 (No chance… 71 times), and ultimately a glorious return to the playoffs six years later, led by the aforementioned Anthony.

Point being, there are a proud few who have been with these guys through thick and thin, cheering them on despite a constant barrage of mockery from Sakic-clad bandwagoners. Regardless, welcome the new fan base; it’s been a long time coming.

Rather than criticize the suddenly ‘die-hard’ faction, try to blend in, and take solace in the fact that the team is finally blossoming. And yes, since there is a lockout and all, the Avalanche fans are allowed in too.

Now, about those pesky Nuggets, they went and dealt for Kenyon Martin. Who is Kenyon Martin, you ask? Only one of the most feared defenders since the day he donned a basketball jersey, and probably a bib (you’d have to double check with his mom, but it’s a safe bet that if he didn’t like mashed peas, he sent them back).

It hasn’t even sunk in for many yet. For those who aren’t quite sure what Kenyon brings to the table, GM Kiki Vandeweghe sums it up, “Kenyon has the ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor. He’s a tenacious defender and rebounder and will be an asset to our running game. He’s one of the best running big men in the league.”

These tools are must-haves for a team trying to keep up with the ever-improving Western Conference.

Now, most Nuggets fans on the Kiki-train have had some moments of doubt. Mr. Vandeweghe is obviously way ahead of the game, but some questionable moves, i.e. the James Posey trade, (he’d be the answer at off guard right now) have confused fans.

Well, be done interrogating the man. He somehow held on to Nene (a Brazilian beast, look him up) while hauling in K-Mart for three first round picks, one of which was acquired in the aforesaid Posey trade, incidentally.

What does this move do for Denver’s beloved Nuggets? Oh, not much besides adding the fiercest competitor in the game. Mr. Martin is a spiritually unmatched heathen who has the ability to dunk over and out-rebound Tim Duncan standing on Shaq’s shoulders. Ok, that may be stretching it (maybe), but Kenyon is an amazing talent and a head case to boot.

This team was in dire need of somebody just slightly off their rocker. Don’t take it the wrong way either, Nene and Camby bring plenty of fire, but Kenyon’s tenacity is contagious. Witness it yourself and take a gander at what he did with that hodge-podge Nets team.

Sure, having Jason Kidd dishing the rock helps, but Kenyon’s intensity and sheer audacity boosted the confidence and swagger of every player on the floor and thus drove them twice to the NBA Finals. New Jersey’s loss is most definitely Denver’s gain.

From New Jersey’s perspective, the trade appears to diminish any hope at again reaching the Finals, or even the playoffs any time soon. Although anything is possible in the (L)East, Bruce Ratner (Nets owner) is under heavy fire from fans and local media. Ring a bell, anyone?

Immediately after taking the reigns as Nuggets GM, Vandeweghe dealt Nick Van Exel and Raef LaFrentz to Dallas for Juwan Howard’s obese contract, and the uneducated masses were concerned to say the least. Kiki had the last laugh when Howard’s corpulent contract turned into a corpulent amount of cap space.

Worry arose once again when fan-favorite (orthopedic surgeon favorite, too) Antonio McDyess was dealt to New York for the then unknown Nene and Marcus Camby, both focal points of last year’s playoff run. Kiki wins again.

Point being, a team reaches a certain plateau at which they can either continue to flirt with mediocrity, or clean house and rebuild. The Nets have a budding star in Richard Jefferson to build around. The fans just need to take a page from the Nuggets’ book and remain patient.

It took a few tumultuous seasons to reach this point, but the re-built and re-charged Denver Nuggets are ready to be a legitimate contender in this league. With those three picks in tow, the Nets should be chiming the same tune before long.

Who knows, the NBA Finals might one day feature Carmelo, Kenyon and the Nuggets against the re-tooled New Jersey Nets.

The thought entices goose bumps.

Go Nuggets.

One Response to “Altitude with an Attitude”

  1. Wavatar Sami Says:

    Eventhough i an from new jersey i love the nuggets. I also absolutly love K-mart. He is sooo hot and sooo talented. He will do so well in denver. GO NUGGETS!!!!

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