In case you missed it, ‘Melo made a couple of statements in his NY Press Conference after that trade that he was going to focus more on playing defense.
WOW, that really pissed me off because it was him acknowledging that he really didn’t play defense for the Nuggets as well as he could have.
George Karl, the Nuggest coach, called out ‘Melo and blasted him for his lack of defense as a Nugget. It became a huge issue during sports talk shows today where some people were upset at Karl for making the public statement after the trade and not calling out ‘Melo publically while he was playing in Denver.
Several others recognized that Karl always talked about defense and often cut the minutes of players that wouldn’t commit to both sides of the ball.
I loved the comment because it made it clear that ‘Melo really didn’t do everything he could to be a complete player. Not only that, but it really set the tone for the existing team and some of the existing players that don’t give enough focus to defense. A perfect example is JR Smith. JR is an incredible athlete and has shown that he can light up the scoreboard, but he has also shown that he can be a lock down defensive player when he puts out the effort. ‘Melo has also shown that he can be a lock down defensive player when he puts out the effort. A great example was in the Lakers play-off series when ‘Melo asked to cover Kobe. He got in Kobe’s face. He actually reached out his hand and not only put it in Kobe’s face, he actually “popped” him on the forehead a few times to show Kobe that he was right there and staying right there.
‘Melo can absolutely play great defense and he can absolutely hit the boards. He just chose not to do it. JR Smith saw ‘Melo’s bad example, and it has been a real PITA for Karl to get JR to play a complete game. When JR plays both ends of the court, and controls his shot selection, he is an incredible player that every team would love to have. He just learned from ‘Melo that he doesn’t have to do it.
Well, I think Karl calling out ‘Melo after ‘Melo made the comment that he would play more defense was right on the mark. It might have been seen as inappropriate because it cam after the trade, but it really sets a great tone especially keeping in mind ‘Melo’s statement in his press conference. Go George!
It was great seeing the last couple of Nugget’s games where the players played hard, played great defense, and show much more team work as they move the ball and players move without the ball. They are playing basketball that we haven’t seen in Denver in a long time. I was greatly impressed that they played the entire game. The Denver Nuggets are horrible at building nice leads and then they coast while the opposing team catches up and often comes back to win. I hope they keep playing hard. If so, I will cheer them on.