Point guard: Chauncey Billups vs. Chris Paul
Now this is a match-up I’d like to see. The arrival of Chauncey Billups is the primary reason that the Nuggets finished second in the West. And now they’re meeting a Hornets team with a season behind them that was kind of a letdown. Now a lot can be said about Billups, but Chris Paul has had a season which could land him a top 3 spot in the MVP race. Even with all the injuries happening to the Hornets this season, CP3 carried them from beginning to end. Advantage: Hornets.
Shooting guard: Dahntay Jones vs. Rasual Butler
Jones is athletic, a pretty good defensive player, but plays less than 20 mpg. Rasual Butler is a 3-point shooter who accidentally took the starting spot by surprise, and had a great season appearing in all 82 games. A perfect complimentary player next to Paul. Advantage: Hornets.
Small forward: Carmelo Anthony vs. Peja Stojakovic
Stojakovic has had a difficult season, and isn’t the shooter he once was. Anthony on the other hand might not have had his best season statistically, but from his team’s point of view, he performed better than ever. Melo remains one of the most dangerous small forwards in the L, and since Peja isn’t the best defender out there, the Hornets will have a difficult time containing him. Advantage: Nuggets.
Power forward: Kenyon Martin vs. David West
West has been playing through nagging injuries, and Martin had his usual fair share of pains and aches too. Now going into the playoffs, Martin will have his hands full with West. David West is a power forward who can score from the inside, but also takes the jumpshot if his man gives him that room. Advantage: Hornets.
Center: Nene vs. Tyson Chandler
Two totally different players. Nene is a banger, who has dunked on more grills than George Foreman could ever sell. Chandler is a shot blocker, rebounder and scores about 99% of his points as the receiving end when Paul throws him a lob. Nene had a strong season, and I don’t believe he will stop now. Advantage: Nuggets.
J.R. Smith, Birdman Anderson. That sums it up. Advantage: Nuggets.
Coaching: George Karl vs. Byron Scott
Both did a fine job this year. Karl’s team finally defends but that also has a lot to do with the arrival of hometown hero Chauncey Billups. Scott kept his team in the running all season long despite all the injuries and a weak bench. Advantage: none.
What I’d say:
Nuggets in six. The Hornets have a great starting five, but that’s not enough.