The Denver Nuggets have struggled of late losing four-straight to top teams in the west such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Golden State Warriors after an east coast trip where they went 4-2. A big question mark before the season was whether or not the Nuggets would adapt and compete given the new half-court offense implemented by first-year head coach Brian Shaw. Now the question is whether they have the necessary players to make a playoff run. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kenneth Faried and the energy he brings night in and night out, but he is not a good fit with Brian Shaw’s offense.
The Nuggets are simply to small right now to contend with the elite teams, and given the struggles of Randy Foye off late and the lack of aggressiveness from Ty Lawson, the Nuggets are heading in the wrong direction and fast. Despite starting the season 0-3, the Nuggets quickly rallied behind the half-court offense, winning 9 of their next 12 games, sitting at 9-6 on the season. Now they find themselves at 14-13 trying to find their identity, which brings me to the topic of this article: The Nuggets must trade for a polished post player.
The Denver Nuggets should have their eyes on a player like Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies. Randolph is the prototypical power forward that Brian Shaw needs, and fits the bill for the Nuggets on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. But right now, Denver’s front court is simply too small. Kenneth Faried stands at 6’8″ at power forward while center J.J. Hickson stands at 6′”9. Most people would say the absence of JaVale McGee has helped the team out, but in my opinion it has only made them worse. McGee’s size and height prevents guards and even post players to alter their shots in the lane, giving Denver a more stout presence. Timofey Mozgov on the other hand is a solid backup, but nothing more than that. He has rock hands and struggles to finish on the easiest of dunks.
I wouldn’t expect the Nuggets to make such a trade if they involved multiple forwards until Danilo Gallinari comes back healthy. Denver misses Gallinari’s shooting and ability to guard the 3 or 4 position. When Gallinari and McGee come back healthy, I expect this Denver Nuggets team to compete in the Western Conference and possibly for a playoff spot. But for right now, the product this team puts on the court is streaky and inconsistent. The only player that has shown promise to me over the past two weeks has been Wilson Chandler, and even he had a shaky night last night against Golden State.
Here is the stat-lines of post players the Nuggets have played against. If you’re not concerned, you should be after reading this:
October 30th: Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins 30 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals.
November 1st: Portland Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge 25 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists.
November 5th: San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan 17 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists.
November 7th: Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap 29 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals.
November 8th: Phoenix Suns: Markieff Morris: 28 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals.
November 11th: Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors: 21 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks.
November 16th: Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard: 25 points, 7 rebounds.
November 23rd: Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block.
November 25th: Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists.
November 27th: Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love: 19 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists. Nikola Pekovic: 21 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist.
November 29th: New York Knicks: Andrea Bargnani: 22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists.
December 1st: Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas: 18 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks.
December 13th: Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors: 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks.
December 15th: New Orleans Pelicans: Ryan Anderson: 26 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals.
December 17th: Oklahoma City Thunder: Serge Ibaka: 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block.
December 20th: Phoenix Suns: Markieff Morris: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks. Marcus Morris: 14 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block.
December 23rd: Golden State Warriors: David Lee: 28 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists.