Anthony still gets his points even with Iverson in the lineup.
After going to the Nuggets from the Sixers in a December trade, Allen Iverson's scoring average dropped from 31.2 points a game to 24.8. His field goal percentage, however, rose from 41.3 to 45.4.
Record: 45-37 (6th in West) Points scored: 105.4 (3rd in NBA) Points allowed: 103.7 (26th) Coach: George Karl (fourth season with Nuggets)
A talented lineup that's ready for a deep playoff run will rely on a maturing star
Before the start of the Nuggets' preseason opener in Denver, Carmelo Anthony looked around at all the players and coaches in the locker room and a smile came over his face. "This is my fifth year, and I've never had everybody healthy and set from the start," he said. "We were always adjusting to new players and coaches, but that's not the case this year."
Having his team ready to go couldn't have come at a better time for Anthony. After a roller-coaster 2006-07 season that included a 15-game suspension for his role in an on-court brawl in New York, the exhilarating trade for Allen Iverson last December, but then a swift exit from the playoffs, Melo has a fresh outlook for this year. "I'm a new person with a new attitude," said Anthony, who finished second to Kobe Bryant for the league scoring title with a 28.9 average. "I don't know why. I just woke up one day and felt this way. I'm happier than I've ever been."
Anthony's newfound serenity may stem from his talented supporting cast, which includes former scoring champion Iverson, top NBA shot blocker Marcus Camby, Defensive Player of the Year J.R. Smith and former All-Star Kenyon Martin, who missed most of last season following microfracture surgery on his right knee. There are still the questions of whether Anthony and Iverson can be as effective for an entire season together as they were on separate teams and whether Denver can get past the first round of the playoffs. The Nuggets haven't gotten over that hump in their last five trips to the postseason.
The more mellow Melo is happy to be the underdog. "We don't need anybody talking about us," he says. "We're going to prove what type of team we are. We're going to surprise people." -- Arash Markazi