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Dec 5, 2000
NBA BASKETBALL on InsideHoops.com
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Antonio McDyess so nice

By INSIDEHOOPS.COM

One thing that's clear in Denver: Antonio McDyess is awesome.

Unfortunately, everything else is a bit confusing.

The Nuggets are inconsistent and hard to figure out. They can win in Minnesota but lose at home to Houston. They've handled the Spurs but been manhandled by the Mavericks.

Those results should all be reversed if we were going to put our money where our mouths are.

Was it the Olympics that put McDyess over the top? He's always been good, and occasionally been terrific, but his production over the last few weeks is just mind-boggling.

As a team, Denver should compete to reach the playoffs. This is surprising to many, but few expected McDyess to raise the level of his game this high. But many things need to happen. The most obvious thing is some consistency from the entire team, on both ends of the floor. More specifically, Nick Van Exel needs to always show up. His shooting has been inconsistent forever now so that's not likely to change, but being smart with the ball and leading the team correctly is always fixable. And he does that, about one out of every two games. Voshon Lenard is the starting shooting guard now, and he's got to keep hitting those outside shots. Tariq Abdul-Wahad backs Lenard up and he, like us, is still trying to figure out exactly what offensive skills he has. James Posey at small forward is still learning how to shoot, but he does good stuff around the boards, away from the ball, and on the defensive end. No big stats but he scraps and will continue to get decent playing time. At power forward, McDyess has to make the all-star team no matter how many other good 4's the West has. If necessary, don't even put any small forwards on it, because McDyess belongs there with Malone, Webber and the rest. Raef LaFrentz didn't start in a few recent games but is playing well - not many boards but good point production and ball movement. Off the bench, George McCloud gets decent minutes but like others is inconsistent in what he truly provides (both on and off the stat sheet).

Keep an eye on these guys. They just beat the 76ers, and that news didn't cause our draws to drop. Lately they're showing they can battle as hard as anyone.

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