The Denver Nuggets certainly have needs if they aim to hang with the top teams in the West. There are some names the front office could look to bring in to boost them.
The Denver Nuggets have some deficiencies to shore up come playoff time. They’ve performed well so far, but there’s weaknesses to exploit. Not many consider Denver to be in the top tier of contenders. With 11 to 12 NBA rotation players, a consolidation trade is viable.
They’ve struggled with their three point shooting for much of the season. With Malik Beasley seeing limited minutes, their best shooter isn’t even there to help them much. Shooting is likely the primary skill set that would be targeted by the Denver Nuggets in any trade scenario.
Rebounding is another skill set that is valuable to the Denver Nuggets and specifically by Coach Malone. Nikola Jokic is an excellent rebounder, but aside from him the best rebounding players (by REB% per Cleaning the Glass) on the Nuggets are Will Barton, Juancho Hernangomez, and Michael Porter Jr.
All three of these players are wings, two of them play very limited minutes, and the other is undersized for a wing. To see more success, the Nuggets could use more rebounding. Jerami Grant in particular is a very poor rebounder (3rd and 4th percentile in OREB% and DREB% respectively). If rebounding is something that the Nuggets deem as a need, there might be players available to fill that need.
Looking ahead to the playoffs, the West is stacked with elite wing players in Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James, Brandon Ingram and the like. The Nuggets don’t have a great matchup against players like this, with Will Barton being undersized and Paul Millsap specializing more with interior/post/team defense, there seems to be a gap. Jerami Grant has been deployed as a wing defender frequently as well, but playing him alongside of Paul Millsap is untested. Having a pure wing defender who is a true 3 could be valuable.
The Nuggets are a deep team with several capable rotation players. This is a benefit in the regular season, but come playoff time, the rotation shrinks and the depth becomes less of an advantage.
Consolidating assets would be the most pragmatic way to prepare the roster for the playoffs.
With MPJ on deck to start, Gary Harris could find himself as the odd man out. He seems, at this point, like a negative asset compared to his contract, but his defense has value still.
After not signing the proposed extension, Malik Beasley could be looking to test the market this summer. Noting this, he could be on the block for the Nuggets. A young athletic shooter should draw the interest of many teams.
While unlikely, it’s possible that the Nuggets aren’t as confident in the ability to pair Jerami Grant with Nikola Jokic long term. Still, he has starter upside and could be useful in a trade if this is the position that is taken.
Fringe rotation guys like Juancho Hernangomez or Jarred Vanderbilt could be used as sweeteners in any deal. Teams could be enticed to take a flyer on these types of players.