Before I go into detail and project my starting lineup for the 2014-15′ Denver Nuggets, I would just like to note that general manager Tim Connelly did a heck of a job during this years draft. Sure, many people would have liked to see Doug McDermott don a Denver Nuggets jersey, but that wasn’t a position of need. Denver would select Jusuf Nurkic; 19-year-old center out of Bosnia who will likely stay overseas for two-years. Also, they would get the steal of the draft in my opinion, selecting shooting guard Gary Harris at 19th overall out of Michigan state.
I know free agency is right around the corner, but it’s time to start thinking about the projected starting lineup post draft.
Ty Lawson, PG:
First off, the team will have Ty Lawson starting at the point. Even though he only appeared in 62 games last year due to ankle and foot injuries, he put up the best numbers of his career — probably because so many guys were out and he was relied on to score more. Lawson averaged 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 8.8 assists to go along with 1.6 steals per. Ty would end up missing the teams last six games due to a linger ankle injury in which he’s still recovering from.
Arron Afflalo, SG:
Second, expect Arron Afflalo to slide into the starting lineup after being reacquired from Orlando in exchange for Evan Fournier and a 2nd-round pick. Afflalo will bring leadership and a defensive presence to the Nuggets where he spent three-years of his NBA career. Afflalo’s stats were inflated last season due to being the primary scorer for a rebuilding Magic squad. Arron would average 18.2 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.4 assists — nearly earning himself an All-Star bid. Afflalo averaged 11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists during his three-year stint with the Nuggets.
Danilo Gallinari, SF:
Assuming he’s ready to go by training camp, Danilo Gallinari will return to the starting lineup after missing the entire season with a torn ACL he suffered in 2013. Gallo was a key part of the Nuggets 57-win season, creating shots for himself and being able to space the floor. The forward averaged a career-high 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. Another reason Denver missed Gallo last season was because of his ability to knock down three’s. He’s a career 36.9% percent three-point shooter, shooting 37.3% percent in 2012-13′.
Kenneth Faried, PF:
“The Manimal” Kenneth Faried will be the teams starting power forward. He would struggle out of the gates in Brian Shaw‘s half-court offense, but his offense exploded during the last two months of the season. Faried would accumulate 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, and nearly one block a game during the 2013-14′ campaign but averaged 19.2 points in the month of March and 21.0 points in the month of April.
Timofey Mozgov, C:
And finally at the center position this could go either way, but given his performance towards the end of the season, you’d have to go with Timofey Mozgov here. Mozgov was a beast in the month of April, averaging 15.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks. During the teams last five games of the regular season, Mozzy averaged 16.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks.
Here’s a look at the lineup:
PG: Ty Lawson
SG: Arron Afflalo
SF: Danilo Gallinari
PF: Kenneth Faried
C: Timofey Mozgov
The Nuggets bench will be extremely deep this year like in years past. When you have players like Nate Robinson (PG), Randy Foye (SG), Wilson Chandler (SF), J.J. Hickson (PF), and JaVale McGee headlining your second unit, I think you are in good hands. Not to mention the draft additions of Gary Harris (SG) and Jusuf Nurkic (C). It’s still unknown whether Nurkic will be in the NBA for the next two-years if he plans on developing overseas. As for Harris, he will get playing time but unsure of how much.