To try and evaluate what Marcus Camby means to the Denver Nuggets is a tricky task indeed. In some situations the Nuggets look completely lost without the ten-year veteran. In others, they seem to flourish. So how does one objectively calculate such an inexact science? Let’s first take a look at the games that Marcus didn’t play in and see how the Nuggets fared.
In ten out of the twelve gamest that Marcus didn’t play in this year, (excluding the two before the start of the playoffs), the Nuggets were 4-6. Not too bad, but still on the losing side of things.
Now onto what kind of game Marcus had to have for the Nuggets to win. The Captain recorded a career-high 32 double-doubles this season. And in those 32 giant efforts, 20 of them were in Nuggets victories. Getting better, but this is still not conclusive in my eyes.
Do minutes played make a difference? Marcus averaged 34 minutes per game this season and in games that he did not meet that mark the Nuggets lost 15 times while winning twelve when he did. While this is an interesting way to break down his impact, it is still not conclusive as to whether or not the Nuggets absolutely need Marcus Camby to win.
Now we need to examine his offensive impact. In the 44 games that Marcus Camby scored in double digits they won 26 out of 44. Just slightly more than half, but still not conclusive.
My point in doing all of this is to prove to you that Marcus Camby, while an amazingly well-rounded center, does not have any particular aspect of his game that makes the Nuggets win. Some nights the Nuggets can utilize his scoring, while in others it just doesn’t make a difference. The same goes for having the big man in the game. It is not a critical note that Marcus Camby play a certain amount of minutes for the Nuggets to be successful.
So my conclusion is that throughout all the inconclusiveness about his numbers, Marcus Camby could very well be traded this off-season and the impact would be less severe than some Nuggets faithful might think. And that’s not a knock on Marcus Camby, but in the game of high-stakes NBA trades, I just think that it’s always wise to sell high and buy low. If the Nuggets were to trade Marcus Camby they would not only alleviate some of the salary cap pressure they are under, but The Captain’s stock is at an all-time high right now after leading the league in blocks, coming in fifth in rebounds, and playing in his second most games in a season of his ten-year career. And who knows if the notoriously injury-prone Camby will ever eclipse that mark again?
Denver also has the services of this young guy named Nene who is a pretty damn good bet if you are looking for the next big front court player’s bandwagon to jump on. If Nene could prove to be legitimate force in the low blocks, which I already think he has, it would greatly soften the blow of trading Marcus Camby while also freeing up space at the four for the currently un-tradable Kenyon Martin to slide into. Not to mention addressing some of the other needs that the Nuggets desperately need to attend to (cough, cough... point guard).
So, Marcus finishes as the Nuggets third most important contributor in my assessment, but is also the Nuggets most interesting trade bait for this coming off-season. The Captain will not play for the USA Basketball team this summer, so their should be no hitches in any trade negotiations that get brought to the table. And I am expecting some offers to start trickling in as soon as the Finals are over.