After getting blown away by the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night, the Denver Nuggets find themselves in the midst of a 6-game losing streak, and worse yet, the two-time defending champion Miami Heat roll into town Monday. Coach Brian Shaw said in order to turn things around, his team has to play harder and play better. That would undoubtedly help, but I think a little more may be needed to get the Nuggets into the postseason. I know you shouldn’t make drastic changes because of a slump, but I am in the mind-set that this may not be a slump, and missing the playoffs for the first time since before ‘Melo could be a reality.
First off, I’m not advocating blowing up the roster to start a rebuild, this roster is too talented and has too much promise for that. I am advocating making some key moves that just might reinvigorate this and future seasons.
Easily the most tradable asset the Nuggets have is bouncy power forward Kenneth Faried. In mid-November, news broke of a possible Faried for Iman Shumpert trade with the Knicks. Management said Faried was off the table at the time, but with over a third of the season now gone, I bet they float his name out there to gauge interest. If the right deal comes along, I would not hesitate to pull the trigger. Faried might be a fan favorite with heart and energy for days, but his offensive limitations and lack of size don’t mesh with being a modern starting PF. Faried would be an excellent first big off the bench for a contender or a springy starter for a fast-paced team on the rise. In turn, the Nuggets could net a low-post big or a top-notch defensive wing, two areas of need.
After Faried, the guy most likely on his way out this season is Andre Miller. I love Andre’s old man game and veteran savvy, but that’s exactly what makes him most valuable on the trade market. A team heading for the playoffs that needs a solid point guard off the bench or to replace an injured starter (OKC, CHI) could do much worse than Miller. And while the Nuggets shouldn’t expect much back for the wily vet, as part of a package with Faried or otherwise, moving Andre might get an undervalued player that could flower with a new team. And let’s not forget draft picks… Thanks Knicks!
Losing two popular players like these guys may not go over well with some of the mile high faithful, but it should make the team better. And we’re told winning cures everything, right? Time to find out.