Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony still believes he could have had at least one NBA title by now.
Speaking to his good friend Dwyane Wade in a live Instagram video on Friday, Melo shared his belief that his 2009 Denver Nuggets team could have (and should have) beaten the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals that year.
After joking around with how LeBron James saved his life in the Bahamas, Melo got serious and rued about the missed opportunity of possibly taking on the Orlando Magic in the Finals.
“We really wanted Orlando in the Finals that year. If we get Game 1 in LA and Game 2, we going back to Denver, we sweeping them. We would’ve swept Orlando too that year.”
Carmelo Anthony says it should’ve been him and the Nuggets coming out of the West in 2009 over the Lakers – “We really wanted Orlando in the Finals that year. If we get Game 1 in LA and Game 2, we going back to Denver, we sweeping them. We would've swept Orlando too that year.” pic.twitter.com/PRrZb6ttRp
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) March 28, 2020
After finishing second in the West with a 54-28 record in the regular season, Anthony led the Nuggets to a magnificent run in the postseason and set-up a date with eventual champions Lakers in the WCF. It was Dever’s first time to reach the conference final since 1985 and the first playoff series they won since 1994.
The Denver-LA match was indeed a highly-competitive series to watch, as Melo went head-to-head with another gifted scorer in the late Kobe Bryant. The Lakers, however, went on to close out the series in six games.
Looking back, that year was certainly Anthony’s biggest chance to win an NBA title. The team had Chauncey Billups who brought his championship experience from the Detroit Pistons, while Kenyon Martin also has Finals experience from his days with the New Jersey Nets.
The team also had serviceable role players in Nene, Linus Kleiza, JR Smith, and Renaldo Balkman, among others. Anthony was unguardable that year, averaging 26.8 points and 8.6 rebounds in 16 playoff games.
That was the farthest Anthony reached in the playoffs, as he failed to get past the second round in his succeeding years.
After beating the Nuggets, the Lakers went on to win the Larry O’Brien trophy after dismantling the Magic in five games.
I guess we’ll never really know how the Nuggets could have fared against the young Dwight Howard-led Orlando team that year.