For the second consecutive year, the Denver Nuggets are without an All Star.
Nuggets on the ballot for the list of NBA All Stars were Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, and Kenneth Faried. Probably the most deserving player on the team this season was Faried.
But if you take a look at these guys who made the All Star roster, most of them are the go-to-guy on the court. Without them, the team would be lost. Just look at Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City. Sure, Russell Westbrook is a dynamic player, but they would be nowhere without KD. Then you have guys who get the popular vote like Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. While Kobe has always played top-level, All Star basketball, Howard and the Lakers have been a sub-par team this season but yet landed two guys in the starting five for the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Nuggets are sitting pretty at the number six seed in the West right now with no one on the team at all.
Does this matter? Eh, not really. Why not? Because the Nuggets have solid, consistent players scattered throughout their roster. They constantly use nine players to get the job done and those nine players are all about the same, statistic wise. Let’s take a look.
First the starting five: Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos.
Ty Lawson is averaging 14.6 points, 6.8 assists, and 1.44 steals per game this season. He’s doing all this while nursing an ankle injury. Lawson has come up big in some games for the Nuggets this year but has more started to play the role of floor general. He’s crucial on fastbreaks and when he has a solid defensive game, causing turnovers rather than giving them away, the Nuggets seem to thrive.
Andre Iguodala is the seasoned veteran on the court. He’s averaging 13.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game this season, his first in Denver. While Iguodala is still getting used to playing with some talent around him, he is generally the guy that the team looks to when they need something to happen. Iguodala is an Olympian and he has great court presence. He will soon find get comfortable within Denver’s offense and play to his normal caliber. He’s also averaging the most minutes on the team, 34.7. Despite having some bad games, Iggy still made the ballot for the All Star voting.
Danilo Gallinari is leading the team in scoring this season with 16.6 points per game. He’s also pulling down 4.5 boards per game. While sometimes it seems he is in love with the three ball a little too much, he’s hit seven clutch shots from deep this season to lead the Nuggets to victory. Gallinari is becoming “that guy” on the court for the Nuggets. As soon as he settles down and learns to make a better shot selection at times, he will be a star. He’s quickly developing into that player and he’s only getting better.
Kenneth “the Manimal” Faried lives up to his nickname. After posting a 19 point, 19 rebound game not too long ago, Faried is turning heads in the NBA. He averaged a double-double for most of the first part of the season and is averaging 12 points on .543 percent shooting and 9.8 rebounds as of right now. Faried is an emotional player and plays tough every game. He plays through sickness and is a double-double machine. When you want someone to bang under the boards, he’s your guy. My guess is it won’t be long before you see his name on an All Star roster.
Kosta Koufos may be one the most consistent players in the NBA. He goes out every night and puts in work. And most NBA fans don’t even know who he is. Koufos is averaging 8.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game but he has been playing well above those numbers as of late. He’s shooting just under 60 percent from the floor. While his numbers may not jump off the charts, he puts those numbers up every night while splitting time with JaVale McGee.
Now to the bench: Andre Miller, Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler, JaVale McGee.
Andre Miller has been a staple in the NBA for quite some time. He provides a nice change of pace coming off the bench for Ty Lawson. He’s averaging 9.1 points and 5.7 assists per game this season. He’s also averaging 25.6 minutes per game. It’s nice to have a great veteran like Miller to come in for a young guy like Lawson. Lawson is definitely benifitting from having Miller on the team.
Corey Brewer has been a spark coming off the bench all season. He helped lead the Nuggets to a victory over the Western Conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder, scoring 26 points, just one shy of his career high. This season he is averaging 11.3 points and 23.6 minutes per game.
Wilson Chandler has been battling a hip injury all season but once he returned, he’s been playing strong. He’s averaging 9.9 pointsand 5.2 rebounds per game for the season. He’s been electric off the bench since returning and has helped lead the Nuggets to victory on a couple of occassions with his solid play.
JaVale McGee is the trickster on the team. Most recently known for his self pass off the backboard followed by a dunk which was then followed by a finger stache celebration, McGee has been playing well off the bench. In just 18.8 minutes per game, he’s averaging 10.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. He and Koufus provide a solid center position on the court at all times. McGee has great potential and fans are just waiting for him to burst onto the scene.
Denver is perfectly okay with not having an All Star on the roster this season. While elite players like KD, Chris Paul, and Kobe spend their time worrying about an All Star game, guys like Iguodala, Gallinari and Faried will be taking a rest and powering up to finish the season strong.