Predicting the Denver Nuggets’ Statistical Leaders in 2015-16


The Denver Nuggets are headed for what is likely to be a difficult season. Coming off a season where they managed just 30 wins, the Nuggets are now without one of their best statistical players of the 2014-15 season in Ty Lawson. Although everyone pretty much agrees it was time for him to go, it begs the question: what will the Nuggets do in 2015-16?

Well, if Emmanuel Mudiay adjusts to the NBA fast enough, and if Danilo Gallinari manages to stay healthy, this team actually has potential to improve upon last season’s win total. With a coaching change and the influx of new players in Mudiay, Nikola Jokic, and hopefully the improvement of second-year players Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic and Joffrey Lauvergne, the Nuggets have a chance to open some eyes this year. They offered glimpses of that Wednesday night with a monster season-opening 105-85 win over the Houston Rockets on the road.

While the playoffs aren’t necessarily an expectation this season, fans are expecting to see some bright spots. So which players will shine the brightest? Let’s take a look at who we expect to lead the Nuggets in each statistical category in the 2015-16 season.

Points Per Game: Danilo Gallinari

More from Nugg Love

If Gallo can stay healthy, there’s no question he’s the most talented all-around scorer on the Nuggets. Gallo can go inside, outside, mid-range, wherever. He’s a threat to score 20 points on any given night, and possibly more if you let him get hot. While Mudiay and Faried could be dark horses for this category, Gallinari’s versatility should allow him to lead the team in points per game with Ty Lawson out of the picture.

Projection: 16.5 points per game

Rebounds Per Game: Kenneth Faried

This one’s pretty obvious. Faried’s game is all about rebounding, in fact it’s pretty much why he was drafted in the first place. He’ll play as many minutes as anyone on the team, and his constant motor should allow him to average close to 10 rebounds per game over the full season.

Projection: 9.4 rebounds per game

Assists Per Game: Emmanuel Mudiay

Barring a complete disaster, Mudiay will be the Nuggets’ starting point guard for all of this season and the foreseeable future. Considering the Nuggets don’t have a shooting guard who distributes effectively, and since Mudiay will take the majority of minutes at point guard, he should lead this team in assists in 2015-16.

Projection: 7.2 assists per game

Blocks Per Game: Jusuf Nurkic

Although Jusuf Nurkic will be inactive for the start of the Nuggets’ season, he should still lead this team in blocks per game when it’s all said and done. The team’s only other consistent shot blockers from 2014-15 (Timofey Mozgov and JaVale McGee) are both gone, leaving Nurkic to protect the paint mostly by myself. Faried doesn’t block many shots, and unless Nikola Jokic gets consistent minutes, Nurkic should lock this category up easily.

Projection: 1.1 blocks per game

The Rest:

More from Nuggets News

Field Goal Percentage: Kenneth Faried, 52 percent

Free Throw Percentage: Danilo Gallinari, 88 percent

Steals Per Game: Emmanuel Mudiay, 1.2

3 Pointers Made: Danilo Gallinari, 1.8

As far as field-goal and free-throw percentage, Faried (50.7) and Gallinari (89.5) were the leaders in each category respectively in 2014-15, and that doesn’t figure to change. No other players were very close to either guy, and none of the Nuggets’ new additions are likely to be threats in either category.

While Ty Lawson led the Nuggets in steals per game at 1.23, Will Barton was a close second at 1.21. As of now, I’m going to give Mudiay the edge due to the sheer opportunity he will have as he commands most of the minutes at point guard, but Barton could certainly emerge as the leader by season’s end.

And for 3-pointers, Gallinari will likely be challenged by Randy Foye, but I ultimately expect Gallo to come out as the leader here. While he and Foye both shot about 35 percent from deep last year, Gallo will simply play more, so I think he’ll come out on top.

What do you guys think? Disagree with any of these choices? Let me know in the comments, and make sure to follow us @Nugg_Love on Twitter.

Next: Thank You, Teams That Didn't Draft Emmanuel Mudiay