The Denver Nuggets have been missing a fire this season, especially on defense where they have crumbled to arguably the worst defensive team in the NBA.
Partially due to the MeloDrama, partially due to injuries, but even last season an energy was missing.
It’s the gritty, hard-working and sometimes dirty play that had the Nuggets getting compared to the Detroit Pistons of the 1980s and had opposing teams complaining about Denver’s play. And former Nugget’ Dahntay Jones was always the one receiving the most complaints. Whether it was shadowing Chris Paul or Deron Williams the length of the floor or beating up opposing scorers like Kobe Bryant or Vince Carter, Jones was the heart of the Nuggets once proud defense.
While it is unfair to say he is a better defender than Arron Afflalo, but he was more intense and bends the rules more than Afflalo. His greatest asset was that he knew his role was strictly on defense and wouldn’t sway from it. Making the opposing teams best perimeter player work for every basket and every time they touch the ball.
For that he was rewarded with his first guaranteed salary ($11 million/four years) by the Indiana Pacers. And while he was a part of the Pacers rotation last season, this year he also found himself spending most of his time on the bench playing in only nine contests – mostly in meaningless minutes for recently-fired coach Jim O’Brien. Jones has seen more playing time under interim coach Frank Vogel, including scoring 18 points in a victory of New Jersey, but partly due to Brandon Rush.
While there really isn’t room for him on Denver’s roster with Carmelo Anthony, Afflalo, JR Smith and Gary Forbes all playing similar positions, there is always room for his attitude. Especially with the mentally-drained Nuggets squad.
Of course there is a far-fetched chance a deal could get done. Jones makes too much money to just be dealt for Renaldo Balkman and it is highly unlikely the Pacers would deal for Al Harrington, who just happens to be the cousin of Jones and was drafted by Indiana. But none the less, Jones’s attitude or one similar to it would greatly benefit the Nuggets with/without Anthony.