Marcus Camby is in his 11th season after being drafted No. 2 by the Raptors in 1996. The player picked before him that year, Allen Iverson, is now his teammate after all these years. Camby hooked up with NBA.com to talk about A.I., the Earl Boykins trade and the impending return of Carmelo Anthony.
NBA.com: What's it been like to have Iverson as a teammate thus far?
Marcus: Thus far it has been great. Any time you get a chance play with a future Hall of Famer, it's great. I've been blessed to be able to play with Patrick Ewing, also a future Hall of Famer, and also lots of great players like Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston when I was young. But, Allen has been terriffic since he's been here. He's doing everything you could ask for and stepping up.
NBA.com: You've been fortunate enough to be able to play in 28 of the 33 games so far this year. Was there anything that you did in the off-season to make sure you stayed healthy or did you pick up any new training habits?
Marcus: I've just been feeling good about myself and about my game. Unfortunately I fractured my hand and I missed those games that I did, if I didn't I'd have played in all of them. It's just an adjustment I'm going to have to make. My hand is still fractured but I'm able to tape it up and go out there and play for my team. I'm taking it one game at a time and just making sure I'll be held accountable going down the stretch here and into the playoffs.
NBA.com: Now, we have you and the Nuggets ranked 14th out of 30 on NBA.com in our Power Rankings, so basically that puts you guys last place out of the teams over .500. Do you think we're being too hard on you guys, or where do you think your team stands now?
Marcus: Well, you know, we haven't had J.R. and we haven't had Carmelo. So, definitely if we had those guys throughout this time I think our record would show that we're a whole lot better ball club. We were playing pretty good basketball until, you know, we had the suspensions and everything but, it's going to take some time when Carmelo gets back for all of us to gel and get together playing with Allen. But, it's not about right now it's about towards the end of the season.
NBA.com: What's it like having Carmelo there everyday in practice? Everybody is saying that once late January comes around that will be the first time that A.I. and him play together, but they're doing it everyday in practice together, right?
Marcus: Well, today was probably like the first day where we all played together on the same team. Before that Melo has always been on the other team, with the White team, you know, the second team. But today he played with Allen on the first team. We've been playing together everyday and they're getting a feel for eachother, you know, up close and personal having a chance to hang out together off the court and gelling.
NBA.com: I know it's always tough to see a couple teammates, in Boykins and Hodge, leave midseason but, what do you think about Steve Blake and what do you think he'll bring to the team?
Marcus: Just watching him from afar I think he's a solid, steady backup. He's a guy who knows how to run a team, but also a guy that can step out and knock down wide-open shots. It's something that we're definitely going to need on this team -- a guy who can come off the bench and spell A.I. for a couple minutes at a time.
NBA.com: Now, you've had a couple of huge games in the last couple weeks: 19 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks against the Bucks and 25 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks against the Wizards. Do you ever sorta lick your chops and think, "Wow, if I was playing in the East ...?"
Marcus: (Laughing) Yeah, you know, I feel that the Western Conference is far more superior than the Eastern Conference. I think every night in the West, you might have a back-to-back and go down in that Texas Triangle and you have to face Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. For an individual basis, one night I might have to go up against KG and the next night, Tim Duncan. So, the West is definitely tough especially with the players in the frontcourt.
NBA.com: Looking forward, once you get your whole team together, is this a game-by-game process or what is your next goal as a team?
Marcus: Our next goal is to get some sort of consistency winning, especially at home and definitely on the road. We know it's not going to happen over night, but a guy like Carmelo, before A.I. got here, this was basically his team. Everything we did was funnelled through him and based on how Carmelo played. But now we've added Allen to our team, it gives coach some diversity that we can mix it up and go to Allen and also go to Carmelo. So, it's going to be a big adjustment for Carmelo having been out for probably a month or so plus by the time he gets back and just trying to gel with what we've been doing.