Nuggets draft no-show: Isn't anyone trying to make this team better?

Reading last night's live Denver Stiffs NBA draft thread the morning after is simultaneously funny and sad. Funny because of the range of emotions. Sad because the Nuggets didn't manage to accomplish anything, leaving them a good team, but not nearly good enough to guarantee that Carmelo Anthony will want to stick around for the duration.

Commenters exhibited lots of excitement early on about the possibility of the Nuggets making a trade to get a promising (and much needed) big man.

When that didn't happen, many of the participants seemed confused. Typical was this response: "I'm not freaking out over not getting a crappy big. It's just so odd that the Nuggets havent even been mentioned for any Trade... no movement. Nothing."

And when more nothing followed, anger did so as well. One commenter wrote, "DAMNIT KROENKE GET YOUR ASS OUTA YOUR 10-foot long leather seat AND DO FUCKING SOMETHING."

But no. The Nuggets never got into gear, and as the hours wore on, some fans were so monstrously bored that they started debating video games instead of the real thing.

Don't get me wrong: I'm glad the Nugs didn't do something stupid, like deal Ty Lawson, who strikes me as the point guard of the future, to get a second-round center who might not ever develop into a first-rate player. But last season's playoff mediocrity makes it abundantly clear that standing pat isn't an option.

The bigs situation is horrific. Nenê has proven with metaphysical certitude that those waiting for him to transform himself into a superstar will be waiting forever, Kenyon Martin is too brittle and long in the tooth to be relied upon, and even Chris Andersen has been injury prone of late. Plus, J.R. Smith's performances were so spotty in 2009-2010 that the team needs to get value out of him now before there's none left.

If they don't tackle these challenges in free agency, and do so in a big way, Carmelo Anthony may well turn his nose up at the $65 million contract extension offer the Nugs are danging. At this point in his career, he can command big bucks in lots of places, and he'll likely want to go where he can be sure he can win, and win big.

Is Denver such a place? It can be. But the Nuggets need to prove it by doing more in free agency than they did in last night's draft. A lot more.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts