Jan 25, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chander (21), center J.J. Hickson (7) , guard Randy Foye (4), and guard Ty Lawson (3) celebrate during the second half against the Indiana Pacers at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 109-96. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Five Denver Nuggets’ Players That Must Step Up For The Final Stretch of the Season

Editor’s note: This is a guess post from Ryan Brennan of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. For more updates, follow the Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page, and for more information on Denver Nuggets stats, news and rumors visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues today!

The Denver Nuggets were thought to be more of a threat coming into the season. They had a good year last year, making it to the playoffs and playing fairly well in them. Now that they are 60 games into the season, I’m sure they wish they could rewind and start over.

They are sitting in fourth place within the Northwest Division and three spots behind eighth place in the Western Conference. Their record stands at 26-34, but there is still hope for the playoffs. Although it may be a long reach, they are 9 games out of eighth place, where the Dallas Mavericks currently sit. It’s possible if they can have a late-season-rally, but it will take a lot of hard work.

The Nuggets have a decent roster and have some depth that they can play with to make that run possible. I have come up with a list of five players that need to step up for the final stretch of the season. These players include Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler, J.J. Hickson, Kenneth Faried and Randy Foye. Let’s take a look.

PG  – Ty Lawson

Ty Lawson is Denver’s starting point guard. Being the starting point guard for a team brings a lot of responsibilities. You are forced to control the offense and make sure everyone is doing their job offensively. You are the leader and you need to be able to control the team. Lawson is doing a pretty good job this year. He is averaging 18.3 points, 8.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Those are solid numbers for Lawson.

Ty Lawson doesn’t need to focus on stepping up his game statistically. Lawson needs to step up his leadership and mental game. He needs to get his teammates in the right state of mind for every game and get their heads in the game. He needs to focus on getting his teammates wanting to win and wanting to do anything possible to get that win. His game has been good, now it’s time to improve his teammates’ game.

SF – Wilson Chandler

Wilson Chandler has the ability to be a major threat to opponents. He can be a high volume scorer and can pretty much hit anything once he gets going. Over the season, he has averaged 14.2 points per game, 1.8 assists per game, 4.8 rebounds per game and 0.76 steals per game. On Monday night in a game against the Timberwolves he scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. That is the kind of play he needs to perform with. Putting up points and grabbing rebounds is what he can do to most help his team.

Aside from points and rebounds, one thing Chandler has struggled with as of late is his three-point shooting. In the past five games, he has shot 8 for 30 from behind the line. That is unlike Chandler. He is usually a pretty good shooter from there. He needs to step up his shooting from long-range if he wants to help his team get some wins in this final stretch of the season.

C – J.J. Hickson

Hickson has received most of the starting dues at Center this season, splitting minutes with Timofey Mozgov. He has been the team’s leading rebounder all season and has done most of his work in that field. On the season, he has averaged 11.5 points per game, 1.4 assists per game, 9.3 rebounds per game and 0.72 steals per game. He has done a good job of shooting the ball, making about half of his field goals (.497 on the season).

For J.J. Hickson, he has to continue to hold the fort down low. What he can do to help his team win is rebound and be a tenacious defender in the paint. Rebounds are crucial to a win. Getting an offensive rebound gives your team another opportunity at scoring on a possession. Getting a defensive rebound stops your opponent’s possession and puts your team on the offensive end. Hickson has done a good job rebounding, but obviously there is always room for improvement. He is averaging 3.1 offensive rebounds and 6.2 defensive rebounds. Very good numbers, but he needs to keep up that play and even turn it up a notch.

PF – Kenneth Faried

Last year, Kenneth Faried proved to be a steal for the Nuggets, who got him with the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He improved his points per game average by 1.3, his rebounds average by 1.5 as he was given 5.6 more minutes per game. It was a solid year for Faried, who helped his team by pumping them up with his emphatic dunks.

This year, Kenneth is receiving 25.6 minutes per game, which is 2.5 minutes less than last year. His averages are at 11.3 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, 1.1 assists per game and 0.8 steals per game. Most of his averages have digressed since last year, but he still has the chance to become a big part of the Nuggets’ team.

Kenneth Faried needs to really step it up in this last stretch. He needs to get back to being the team’s backbone when they’re stuck. Something as little as a dunk can really get everyone excited and in a good groove. He needs to prove to coach that he is worthy of more minutes and use those minutes wisely. Continuing to rebound and play well defensively will also help his team.

SG – Randy Foye

Randy Foye is a player that really needs to step up his game. With Robinson being out, they don’t have a lot of depth at the guard position. He needs to help out Ty Lawson with the load of scoring and assists. On the season, he is averaging 12.6 points per game, 3.2 assists per game, 2.6 rebounds per game and 0.75 steals per game.

If Foye wants to see his team start winning, he needs to become more of a mental player. Start breaking down the game mentally and seeing what he can do each game to hurt his opponents. Also, he needs to start getting his teammates into the game by handing out more assists. Teamwork will slow down your opponent more than you think. When they see you playing good team basketball, they get discouraged and it gives you an opportunity to pull ahead.

Tags: Denver Nuggets

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