Is Wilson Chandler poised for a breakout season?


Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Forward Wilson Chandler has had an eventful tenure with the Denver Nuggets. There was the excitement of his arrival as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade with the New York Knicks, the disappointment of his play against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs that season, a season spent in China, multiple waves of trade rumors, and a myriad of injuries throughout.

What cannot be denied is Chandler’s game, with a measure of versatility that is unique. He is big (6’8″, 225 lbs) and athletic. He can defend and hit outside jumpers. His versatility is any head coach’s dream, and so it is not surprising that head coach Brian Shaw will be happy to have him back in the fold as he returns from a hamstring injury that he suffered early in camp. What might be surprising, though, is the fact that general manager Tim Connelly pegged him as a player who will have a breakout season (quotes courtesy of Aaron Lopez on

"I could give you five or six names, but I really like how Wilson’s approached this offseason…He got here about two months ago. He’s in great shape. He’s got the right mindset. Playing for a guy like coach Shaw could really allow him to take that next step.”"

It is only surprising in that JaVale McGee has pretty much had the “potential breakout Nugget” market cornered, whether because people actually believe it or because they wish for it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Chandler’s 2012-2013 season was limited, but he was productive in the 43 games he did play. He averaged 13.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and shot 41.3% from three-point range. He showed the ability to shoulder the scoring load if needed, and if he is indeed poised to break out this season, the Nuggets will probably need him to do that more than once until Danilo Gallinari returns in late November.

The Nuggets have a number of very good players but no “stars,” a point of contention for those who feel that any NBA team needs a star to truly be successful. They also have a handful of players who, if they did break out, have the kind of game to push this team over the hump. Chandler is one of those guys. If Connelly is correct in his projection for Chandler this season, it will impossible to ignore the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference picture.