Furthermore, Marcus Camby was the only player on the Denver Nuggets who you can honestly say played solid defense night-in and night-out during the entire regular season. So it should come as no surprise that in losses, Marcus Camby’s rebounding average was a full three boards fewer than in wins and a full block less as well. And of the nine games Marcus grabbed at least 20 rebounds in the Nuggets were 6-3, but what’s more telling about Camby’s impact on the glass is when the Captain finished grabbing 15 or more boards the Nuggets were a stout 21-6.
Camby also led the league in blocks from the season’s opening night straight through the homestretch and gave Dwight Howard a serious run for his money for the rebounding crown before having to settle for runner-up. Yet, somehow, the Defensive Player of the Year Award, an individual award that he was defending from last year, went to the Celtics, errr I mean, Kevin Garnett.
One may think, but I would guess if you were to ask Camby if not defending his DPOY status was as disappointing as his performance in the first round against the Lakers. I’d almost guarantee the latter would be more likely to put The Captain in a “defensive”- pun intended- mood.
Camby’s performance in the playoffs really left a bad taste in my mouth and I’d bet I’m not alone. Not only did his scoring drop from a regular season average of 9.1 points per game all the way down to a shaky-at-best three measly points on a combined 5-21 shooting over four games, but his defense against both Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom left a lot to be desired; proven by Gasol averaging 22.3 points and nine rebounds, and Odom posted a near double-double of 11.8 points and 9.3 boards. Now, in his defense, he wasn’t getting much help from the other four on the floor, no one man can single handedly defend an entire front court, and there wasn’t a single Nugget who I would say played well during that series, but I’m not sure anybody had as poor of a four-game showing as the Cambyman.
Now, conventional wisdom says that Marcus Camby, a fragile player in the past, is practically due to miss time with an injury after playing in 149 of the last 162 regular season games spanning back to the 2006-07 season. Obviously, I would never want a player to sustain injury, but that’s conventional wisdom for you and there is something to be said for it. Factor in MC’s age (34) and this being his 13th season on the horizon and Camby is looking like a serious candidate for trade. His stock will never be higher, the Nuggets will never be able to get more for him than they will be able to now, and for a team on the cusp of turning the preverbal corner he is certainly a tantalizing piece to take a chance on. However, unfortunately for the Nuggets is they are a long ways from thinking about putting on their turn signal and making said turn. And thus is a recipe for a big time trade in hopes of landing young talented pieces to build upon for the future sans Marcus Camby and his remaining 15.65 million dollars over the next two years.
So, my overall grade for Marcus Camby is a B-. The B is for an above average season, but the minus is for not bringing it come playoff time. Factors keeping Marcus from receiving the highest marks despite having career numbers in a plethora of categories were his inconsistent offense (plagued by that crooked jump shot from the top of the key that makes me cringe every time it gets launched), and his deficiency as a true one-on-one post defender. But, despite those few sour notes it was another great season from Marcus Camby and it should be interesting to see what the Nuggets do with The Captain this summer.