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Facundo Campazzo: failure in the NBA and, will I return to Real Madrid?”. The hardness of the journalist Borja Sánchez, from the portal The Spanish. And even though seems like an exaggeration There is in a segment of that headline a theme that cannot be lost sight of behind this whirlwind of sensations in which the Argentine base is involved: his contract will expire at the end of the season and both he and Denver will have to make decisions about their future.

Everything is debatable, but the word failure, which causes so much irritation, seems to be very far from Campazzo’s performance in the NBA. Too many situations must be evaluated before drawing conclusions. To get started, he took on responsibilities that were far beyond what was expected of him in his early years in the world’s greatest competition. Due to the injury of one of the main stars of the team, the Canadian Jamal Murray, he had to occupy roles that he did not expect in full adaptation. Another extenuating factor is the team’s style of play, with a pivot (Nikola Jokic), who controls the game and partially prevents the development of the Argentine’s best offensive player: driving.

His experience, dedication and defensive hierarchy made him a player loved by the public, his teammates and much of the Denver press. It is a tiny group that questions it.

One of the reasons there is so much noise around Campazzo is the violence of messages of rejection and support in social networks. Among those who do not consider him a player at the level of the NBA, the presentation of a negative statistic is immediately contrasted by a barrage of data provided by those who believe otherwise.

Facundo Campazzo in the talk with coach Michael Malone
Facundo Campazzo in the talk with coach Michael Malone@nuggets

So powerful is the power of the social function that the player himself admitted that he had to focus to avoid being swept away by such a tide. In an interview with only basketball, referred to the criticism that has gone viral in recent days. “I take it easy,” he said. The day I made the decision to come to the NBA, I knew I had to put my ego aside. I am still in a process of adaptation and it is not easy. I live in the networks all the time and one sees what is said. When I was at Peñarol or Real Madrid, it was a different reality. The bullets did not enter me. There are bullets that entered here… I tried to be with my family and with the people who give me a good vibe. Do not read too much bad things or good things. But the reality is that I was not playing well. They are numbers and numbers don’t lie. I’m not going to lie to myself. Some criticism goes to the bone. They can be harmful and cruel, so I admit that I suffered a little. But I had not lived it. There are people who suffer from it their entire career. I try to prepare myself mentally for all of that.”

Facundo Campazzo plays a very specific role in Denver and, despite the ups and downs, he proved to be up to the NBA
Facundo Campazzo plays a very specific role in Denver and, despite the ups and downs, he proved to be up to the NBARJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images – Denver Post

The best thing about Campazzo in a time of uncertainty is that he doesn’t kid himself. If there is something wrong with his game, he accepts it and tries to reverse it. In the same program they showed him his statistics in the season, with many ups and downs and between laughs he commented: “It’s a roller coaster, isn’t it?” And about the fluctuation in the percentages of success in three-point shots, he acknowledged: “I know that If I want to survive in this league, I have to improve my three-point shot. and I’m trying to do it. I stay after training practicing. I don’t build my confidence solely from the shot anymore, it’s part of playing different than what I was used to.”

For Real Madrid, the departure of Facundo Campazzo a year and a half ago was a very hard blow. I had the best base in Europe and a leader of hierarchy to fight at the international level. Today the team has no leadership. The evaluations that the Spanish press makes about him seem to be more linked to a desire to make a return than to an in-depth analysis of the present of his game.

Campazzo improved his statistics compared to the previous year: he averages 6.5 points and 4 assists per game; its most irregular point is the percentage of success of triples (31%)

And to lean on that version they use the case of Gabriel Deck as an example. Another Argentine who left Real Madrid. But there is a huge difference compared to Campazzo’s situation. Deck didn’t even get a chance to play in Oklahoma City.. The few moments in which he was allowed to show himself on the parquet, he lived up to it. It was coach Mark Daigneault who let him know that his destiny was not in the team and that is why he chose to leave. “He’s done a good job, but today we’re looking for something else and he’s out of the rotation. You will have the opportunity to help us, ”said the Thunders coach. Deck was not going to waste time without playing, and completed his return to the merengue team.

Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo, front, picks up a loose ball in front of Memphis Grizzlies guard De'Anthony Melton during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo, front, picks up a loose ball in front of Memphis Grizzlies guard De’Anthony Melton during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)David Zalubowski – AP

Even Campazzo’s entry into the NBA was very different from Deck’s. The point guard, who was chosen by coach Michael Malone, arrived with a guaranteed two-year contract. the eaves, who was in the crosshairs of several NBA teams, only was used as an economic balancing tool in the salary cap and his contract (not guaranteed), depended on successive renewals. As he played very good games on his arrival, he extended his contract and the franchise bet on his continuity. Then, they changed plans on the fly. He chose to leave.

As Campazzo completes his adaptation, Denver is going through a period of enormous irregularity. Just as big is the list of mitigating factors that he has: as was said, he lost Murray, but he was also left without Michael Porter Jr., one of his scoring weapons. The injuries, the Covid infections… Everything seems to come together in this inconstant season.

Murray will return at some point, but it is not known under what conditions. The franchise proved to be open to changes to try to find solutions as soon as possible. Just as last year he let Gary Harris go to finalize the arrival of Aaron Gordon; now he fueled the departure of PJ Dozier and added a shooter in Bryn Forbes to improve his low 3-point shooting averages.

Campazzo has a few months left on his contract with Denver and his performance at the end of the season could mark the decisions of the franchise
Campazzo has a few months left on his contract with Denver and his performance at the end of the season could mark the decisions of the franchiseEthan Mito/Clarkson Creative – Getty Images North America

The movements do not seem to have finished. Could Campazzo be involved in a trade? It’s hard to say. His coach trusts him for his experience and strategic intelligence. But he also knows that he needs a perimeter with more goals.

Until the Newsletter of the Team Facu, generated by his closest people, acknowledged a month ago: “It would not be unreasonable to start hearing versions of a possible exchange. For one simple reason: Denver needs small forwards and a backup center. At the same time, there are plenty of perimeter players (Morris, Barton, Rivers, Facundo, Hyland, at some point Murray). If the franchise goes on the market, it will have no choice but to offer some peso exchange currency. Campazzo ends his contract in a few months… We’ll see what happens”.

There are NBA teams where their services would fit much better into the system. Where the game is more similar to what Campazzo usually offers, with bases that carry the ball. The deadline for transfers between teams is February 10. What seems impossible is that something similar to Deck will happen, since the contractual situation is completely different.

Campazzo with Nikola Jokic;  the pivot is the main game generator in Denver, which limits the possibilities of the Argentine
Campazzo with Nikola Jokic; the pivot is the main game generator in Denver, which limits the possibilities of the Argentine David Zalubowski – AP

The day to day begins to be important for the definitions. After missing 11 straight 3-pointers, he scored one against Detroit on Sunday night., and made a gesture that mixed some gratitude and relief to get rid of that frustration. It is one more sign that he is not entirely comfortable. It is known, it can give more.

At the end of your contract, if Denver no longer considers him in their rotation, he can get other alternatives in the NBA. As he also knows that everything would be easier for him in Europe. Close to turning 31, it will be another very important career challenge for the best Argentine player.


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