Editor’s note: This is a guess post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow the Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page, and for more NBA basketball news visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – a fantasy basketball blog.
The Denver Nuggets have had nothing short of a disappointing season. It seems as though they have all the pieces to have a solid team, but when it came down to winning they just couldn’t come through. They are officially eliminated from the playoffs now. At 32-40, Denver’s streak of ten consecutive postseason appearances will come to an end. To make things worse, this season will most likely be the team’s first season under .500 since 2002-2003.
Their lack of wins this season has fans wondering where the team is headed in the future and what the team will do in the offseason to avoid another disappointing season. They have a lot of options and flexibility with their roster, but it seems like there should be one thing at the top of their list this offseason: trading forward Wilson Chandler.
Wilson Chandler was involved in the 2011 trade that sent former Denver star Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. Chandler hasn’t exactly lived up to the expectations the Nuggets were hoping for. Although he has put up solid numbers in his four years as a Nugget, including 14.0 points per game in 55 games this season, everyone knows he is capable of more production. He seems to fit well with the coach’s offense and is a very versatile player, but it seems like the cons outweigh the pros with Chandler.
The pros with Chandler are that he gives Denver a solid, athletic scorer on the wing, who can shoot the ball well and defend at a fair rate. However, Chandler has proven to be a poor shot selector at times, disappears in big games consistently and has durability issues. Throughout the past three season with the Nuggets, Chandler has only played a total of 110 games out of a possible 230 regular season games. He missed the entire 2012 playoffs. Most of these absences were due to a labral tear he suffered in 2012, after choosing to play in China during the NBA Lockout.
When the Nuggets signed him to a five-year, $37 million contract extension in March of 2012, they showed their faith in Chandler. However, his play hasn’t complimented that extension because he hasn’t developed as much as he should have and hasn’t played up to the expectations brought on by that extension. He has flashed his abilities multiple times, scoring 20+ points in at least ten games over the past two seasons and even starting 50+ games this season. It has just come to the point where he is under-performing too often, especially when they need him most in the playoffs. His injuries are also becoming too much of a liability to keep him around any longer, in my opinion. It’s apparent that he has reached his ceiling, in Denver anyways, and they should look to ship him off to a different team while they can still get something valuable for him.
The Denver Nuggets have a chance to get a decent value in return for Chandler. It would be a good team decision for the organization. They should have no troubles in finding either a proven player in the league, a younger star or a first round draft pick. Chandler still holds a lot of talent and can still shine in the right uniform. There are plenty of teams looking for young wing players and Chandler could be a starter at the three spot for a number of teams.
Getting rid of Chandler would also free up some minutes for Gallinari, who will be returning from a torn ACL in the near future. In addition to that, they will give a chance for Quincy Miller to get adjusted in the NBA. Miller is a potential all-star in the making and at only 20 years old, has immense upside. Under Coach Shaw, Miller has seen increasing court time and has shown a lot of growth in his second season. He has appeared in 42 games this season and even started in six of those. In his six starts, he averaged 9.2 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game. Miller has also been given a lot of praise from Coach Shaw, comparing him to Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George back in October. Even Kevin Durant, the leagues greatest scorer and potential MVP, has praised Miller for his improvement. He still has a lot of work to do, but getting rid of Wilson Chandler will open that door for Miller and the Nuggets.
Given Wilson Chandler’s recent play and the talent they have to replace him, they really have nothing to lose by getting rid of him. The potential star in Quincy Miller should be enough to persuade them that losing Chandler will only amount in a new addition to the team that could help them out even more. I believe it would be an intelligent move by the Nuggets to get rid of Chandler while he still has value and allow Miller to blossom into the player we all know he is capable of becoming.
Wilson Chandler has averaged 14.0 points per game, 1.8 assists per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, 0.5 blocks per game and 0.7 steals per game this season. He has played in a total of 59 games and hasn’t helped the 32-41 Denver Nuggets into the playoffs for the tenth consecutive year. After a 6-pont effort against Dallas on March 21st, he has missed the last four games due to injury. His injury troubles continue to hurt the already dwelling Nuggets.
The Nuggets without a doubt have what it takes to be a playoff team again in the near future. It could happen next year, who knows. That goal, however, will be completely dependent on what happens this offseason. They have a lot of choices and a lot of opportunities to grab ahold of. As I stated in the opening of this article, one of those choices must be to let go of Wilson Chandler and move on to someone that can bring them wins, Quincy Miller.