It started as a topic on the latest South Stands Denver Fancast: why get excited about the Denver Nuggets 2012 season if we already know the outcome? The NBA loves its superstars and it always seems that the teams with the most star power typically win the title. Once in awhile you’ll get your Karl Malone led Utah Jazz or a Carmelo Anthony fronted Nuggets team to make a deep run, but if you look at the history of it, teams like the Nugs never win it all. And you can go ahead and pencil in one of the talent laden teams like the Lakers or the Heat for the title this year too even though the Nuggets are greatly improved and have a legitimate shot to at least make a deep push.
So if the Nuggets aren’t going to win it all, why care?
It’s a tricky question because fans of the Denver Broncos, having tasted the sweet run off from two Lombardi trophies, won’t settle for anything less than a Super Bowl berth. There have been down years for the Broncos where we knew the team probably didn’t have what it takes, but as a fan you hope for something special to happen or at least just enough to make the next year be the “one.” And for the Broncos, every season starts with the expectation that they will win it all.
The Rockies are pathetic and are quickly sliding into the role of a team that has no hope, so the fans will have no expectation other than failure. The Colorado Avalanche (although unlikely to play this season) were an up and coming team and as most know who follow the sport, once you make it to the playoffs in that league, anything can happen. In contrast to the Rockies, there is always a glimmer of hope at the start of an Avs season. With the Rockies, the only given is that during the season, the sun will be shining and the beer will be flowing.
But with the Nuggets, it’s tricky. We know they’re going to be good, but based on the system set up in the NBA, we also know they have almost no shot to win it all. It’s depressing but a stark reality in David Stern’s sick little bubble. So why get excited at all knowing full well how it will end?
Because it still matters. Even though the deck is stacked against the Nuggets, like the Avs, you never know what could happen down the stretch. Part of being a fan is dedicating the time to your team in hopes that it pays off in a spectacular denouement of someone hoisting a trophy. Also, it’s what you do in the winter time: you watch the Nuggets. Even more so with hockey going away, you’re going to need that every other night fix of a sport when all others have closed shop for the year. And if you honestly knew they would be officially eliminated before the first tip off, you probably shouldn’t be watching any games this season. But you will watch. Because in the back of your mind, you know there’s a tiny shred of hope that they could go all the way. And you’re going to need to be there from day one to celebrate with a clear conscience. Because if you can’t give yourself over to the wild possibility that your team can win (Rockies fans are excused) you may as well have never been a fan at all.