Considering the Denver Nuggets can barely field a full roster right now it’s hard to even suggest new players. There is no way George Karl ever thought he’d finish a game this season with a lineup that featured Julyan Stone, Arron Afflalo, Corey Brewer, Kenneth Faried and Al Harrington. But that was the case on Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Even with a full roster, the two biggest weaknesses on the Nuggets squad right now is on defense, particularly on the perimeter and shooting the rock from behind the arc. The Nuggets currently have the second worst defense in points allowed (100.8) and are among the worst in defending the 3-pointer (.367). On the opposite side of the ball the Nuggets shoot only .327 percent from behind the arc. Outside of Afflalo (.35) no other rotation players shoot better .34 percent from behind the arc. But there are players that could help.
- STEPHEN CURRY: Curry is arguably one of the best shooters in the NBA. He has a career average of .441 from
behind the arc and can take over games with his scoring. He destroyed the Nuggets earlier this season for 36 points, but he isn’t just a gunner and tries to get his teammates involved. He is in a tough situation in Golden State, where he and Monta Ellis aren’t compatible with each other. Both have a score-first mentality and don’t mesh well with each other. In Denver, Curry would be an ideal pupil for Karl. Karl coached Curry’s father Dell Curry in Milwaukee and even turned to Stephen at times during practice. The tough part about getting Stephen Curry is he is considered ‘untradeable’ by the Warriors and the Nuggets would probably have to offer a package starting with Ty Lawson and Jordan Hamilton to add the young superstar – and then they need to make sure they lock him up for the long term.
- ANDRE IGUODALA: The player that is known as Iggy should be in the running for Defensive Player of The Year. He has been the catalyst to the Philadelphia 76ers defense which gives up only 87.3 points a game. Iguodala is a big reason why, especially with his versatile defender. He is extremely smart on the defensive side of the ball, he can play passing lanes, is aggressive on-the-ball defense and is versatile to defend on the perimeter and in the paint. Offensively, he’d be perfect for the Nuggets fast-break style. Iguodala is a great passer and ballhandler and loves running the fast break. He still struggles in the halfcourt, but who on the Nuggets doesn’t? The funny thing is the Sixers are trying to get out from under Iggy’s contract, which will pay the 28-year-old, $28 million over the next two years. A package deal of Afflalo, Hamilton and either Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos should be enough to land Iguodala.
- KIRK HINRICH: Andre Miller has been a great backup point guard for the Nuggets. He leads the team in assists
(6.8) and offers leadership to the young Nuggets team. However, he isn’t happy being a backup and ideally the 35-year-old would like to play somewhere he can start. Whether that is through free agency or a trade, Hinrich would not be a bad replacement. He is a hard-working crafty veteran point guard, but his biggest strength is on defense. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, pestering opposing guards the length of the floor and making them work to get a shot off. His size causes problems for smaller guards on both sides of the ball and if left open he can connect from distance.
- BEN GORDON: Gordon is one of the most overpaid players in the NBA. The undersized shooting guard is due to make more than $25 million over the next two years. However, outside of that he is the ideal sixth man. He has a quick release and can get hot in a hurry, but is still fairly consistent. His size hurts him on the defensive side of the ball, but Gordon’s competitive nature makes up for it. Would a package of Al Harrington and Chris Andersen be enough for the Nuggets to land the sharpshooter?
- DAHNTAY JONES: The Nuggets are lacking toughness this season and on most nights they are the less aggressive teams. That wasn’t the case when Denver had Jones, who would frustrate Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd and Deron Williams with his tough, aggressive – some times dirty – defense. That attitude was a big part of why the Nuggets advanced deep into the playoffs and Jones’ teammates fed off that energy. Would a package deal of Andersen and a second round draft pick be enough to bring Jones back to Denver?
- MIKE MILLER: Miller is another player that is dangerous behind the arc, but he can do more with the basketball than just shoot. He can rebound, run the offense and has good vision for a player his size. He is an average defender and is sometimes too unselfish, but when it comes to big shots Miller usually doesn’t miss. The Nuggets would probably have to work something around Miller or Andersen.
- EMEKA OKAFOR: The Nuggets need an enforcer on defense and while Okafor isn’t the most mobile big man, he can be an enforcer in the paint. Okafor has a career average of 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds a game and can defend with the best of them. He lacks any real skills on offense and is one of the slower big man up the floor, but with four good offensive player you really only need Okafor for defense. The Nuggets could deal Nene to snag the big man.
Tags: Al Harrington Andre Miller Arron Afflalo Ben Gordon Chris Andersen Chris Paul Corey Brewer Dahntay Jones Dell Curry Denver Nuggets Deron Williams Emeka Okafor George Karl Jason Kidd Jordan Hamilton Julyan Stone Kenneth Faried Kirk Hinrich Kobe Bryant Kosta Koufos Miami Heat Mike Miller Minnesota Timberwolves Monta Ellis Nene Philadelphia 76ers Stephen Curry Timofey Mozgov Ty Lawson