The Denver Nuggets are returning from a five-game road trip with a very slim backcourt. Starting guards Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson are both doubtful for Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors and backup guard Rudy Fernandez is a game-time decision.
That leaves Corey Brewer, Andre Miller and rookies Julyan Stone and Jordan Hamilton as the only healthy guards for the Nuggets. Over the previous four games, Miller has averaged nearly 37 minutes a game and has started in place of Afflalo in the last two games. Brewer will more than likely get his first start of the season. He is coming off of a game in which he scored 15 points and played 34 minutes. Where things get sketchy is how the minutes will be distributed with the rookie reserves.
Stone will more than likely see the floor, not so much by choice but because the Nuggets don’t have another healthy player on the team that can play point guard. Wednesday night, Stone played his third game of the season and played a season-high 20 minutes. He was solid but unspectacular, playing good defense while also playing a little out of control and a bit timid.
Now the big question is will George Karl give Hamilton minutes due to the injuries? Hamilton saw the floor for the first time on Wednesday and while he didn’t shine he played within the team concept. Even if Karl puts Hamilton on the floor it will be monitored and will more than likely be a 5-minutes span.
No matter what, this will be as good as any for Hamilton to see time, he is the last man standing – per se, the Nuggets face a Toronto Raptors (6-13) and will be playing an emotional game at home after a long and successful road trip.
It wouldn’t be out of the question that Danilo Gallinari will see time in the backcourt as well.