Do the Denver Nuggets have the most depth in the NBA?


When thinking about it these past couple weeks, I’ve given strong thoughts about the depth of the Denver Nuggets. The team has about 9-10 players who contribute every given night, and each one of those guys helps out in a strong way. The starting five includes Ty Lawson, Andre Igoudala, Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos, and Kenneth Faried. Igoudala (58/58), Gallinari (55/55), Faried (60/60), and Koufos (59/59) have all started every game that they have played in, and Lawson has started in 58 of the 59 he has played in. Some teams in the league have three or four main starters, and then mix different guys into a certain position every game. The Nuggets are nothing like that, as I obviously just showed. Lawson is the only player of those five who has not started every game he played in, and that’s what leads me to my next point about the Nuggets bench.

Wilson Chandler, Andre Miller, Corey Brewer, and JaVale McGee are four guys who have played off the bench this season and have helped the Nuggets get the reputation as a team that has a lot of depth.

February 22, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Denver Nuggets shooting guard Wilson Chandler (21) shoots the ball over Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 119-113. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler has been a big contributor in the 23 games he has played this season. He’s started three games, and has averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds this season. He’s the type of player who could start on most teams, but it’s tough to earn a starting role when you play on the same team as Gallinari. If it weren’t for his 35 points last night against the Thunder, the team wouldn’t have been able to pull off the thrilling victory over their first placed rival.

Miller has been a key leader for some of the younger players throughout the season, and I believe he’s played a strong role in the success of starting point guard, Ty Lawson. He averages close to six assists a game, and ranks tenth all-time in the statistic. Lawson, who plays ten more minutes a game than Miller does, averages a little over seven assists per game, and I would have to think Miller has taught the 25-year old a thing or two about the position.

Brewer averages the most points out of the four players, with 11.4 points per game. He has played in all 60 games this season, and is one of three players on the team to do that, with Miller and Faried being the other two. Brewer plays close to 24 minutes a game off the bench, and has played big roles this season beating the Lakers (12/26) and Thunder (1/16). His 26 points against the Lakers and 27 points against the Thunder have helped the team win those close games.

Feb 9, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee (34) dunks against Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Wayne Ellington (21) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

McGee has the talent to be one of the best centers in the league. He’s an overall more talented player than Kosta Koufos, who starts over him. The 7 foot center could be one of the most exciting players on the team to watch, but struggles playing smart basketball most of the time. He averages only ten points a game, and pulls down five rebounds, but that’s what happens when you’re only playing eighteen minutes a game.

There are a few other guys who contribute from time to time, but these are the main four players to come off the bench for the Nuggets and help them win games. When you look at some of the best benches, and some of the teams who have the most depth in the league, you run into the bigger named teams throughout the NBA.

The Los Angeles Clippers have guys like Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, and Matt Barnes who help the team out off the bench.

The San Antonio Spurs are able to use players such as Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal, Steven Jackson, and DeJuan Blair off of their bench, and that’s one of the main reasons they are leading their division by 6.5 games.

Feb 22, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) gestures after scoring a three pointer during the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks also rank as one of the most deep teams, with J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace, and Steve Novak.

We all remember James Harden coming off of the OKC Thunder’s bench, and even though he has moved onto the Houston Rockets, the Thunder are still able to use Kevin Martin, Reggie Jackson, and Nick Collison.

Those four teams, along with the Nuggets, are playoff caliber teams. People have talked about, ever since the departure of Carmelo Anthony, that the Nuggets don’t have a superstar that will carry them in the playoffs. That’s pretty true when you think about it, as a lot of games and series are won of the heels of certain players, (I.G. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker) but with a bench like the Nuggets have, that could very easily fill in for not having a superstar.