One of the 10 things that ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh highlighted to watch for in the second half was a trend involving the Denver Nuggets.
Over the devastating month of February, where the Nuggets had a dismal 4-10 record, their most successful lineup – Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari, Al Harrington and Nene played a total of 2 minutes.
That lineup holds a plus-28 in 40 minutes and was very successful to start the season, but due to injuries the crew didn’t see much time together. Gallinari has missed 10 games, Nene missed eight and Lawson missed two. Miller and Harrington have been the only two players on the Nuggets that have played every game. However, the duo together aren’t as impressive. Harrington has grown weary from the playing time and Miller has been wildly discontent.
The Nuggets currently have an 18-17 record and are a half-a-game behind Portland for the eighth-seed and final playoff spot. But what makes matters even more complicated, only three games separates the fourth best team in the West and the 10th. Which makes that much more important for the Nuggets to get healthy.
In a perfect world the Nuggets wouldn’t have any lingering injuries after the break, but it’s difficult to see Gallinari back on the floor immediately, Nene’s calf injury will bother him the rest of the season. Lawson should be back when the Nuggets host the Portland Trailblazers on Wednesday and the Nuggets also may get Rudy Fernandez back as well, he has missed the previous four games.
The Nuggets also must find out what to do about Miller and Chris Andersen. Neither have been happy about playing a lesser role for the Nuggets and neither have played up to par this season. Andersen has had 10 DNP-CD and Miller is currently playing his fewest minutes since his rookie year. He is averaging a career-low 10.5 points and has the highest turnover ratio of his carer (13.0).