Nuggets can Learn from the NBA Playoffs

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

‘Elders say everything’s a nail to a hammer’ ~ Jidenna, Long Live the Chief.

The teams that are legitimately competing for the O’Brien Trophy this year, even the teams that have fallen but prove they belong, have something in common:

They have a Star.

Some of them have several.  Star power is tough to pin down, it means different things in different players. Wondering about the Jidenna quote above?  To the stars of the league, everyone looks the same.  They are the hammer.  It doesn’t matter who guards them or how intense the situation.  Those are just nails.  LeBron doesn’t care who’s covering him when it’s time to win.  Ditto for Paul, Harden, Horford or any of the four mega-stars in Golden State.

They say the only team in recent memory to win a Championship without a star was the 2004 Detroit Pistons.  I challenge that for two reasons:  First, Chauncey played like a star in those playoffs.  His Mr. Big Shot moniker was born in those playoffs.  Second, the star can also be a coach and Larry Brown is a star.

The point is there needs to be that guy or even combination of guys that can either come through in pressure situations or draw enough attention to free a teammate to come through.  Teammates will come through occasionally, stars come through usually.  Watching LeBron take down the Raptors or Chris Paul’s series-winning 41 point performance, we are watching stars.  If Donovan Mitchell avoids injury or any backslide, he is a star.

Where do the Nuggets fall on the star scale?  Have they ever had that guy?