2013-14 NBA Season Preview: Denver Nuggets

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2013-14 NBA SEASON PREVIEW CONTENT LIST
Atlantic: Celtics | Nets | Knicks | 76ers | Raptors | Division Preview 1 and 2
Central: Bulls | Cavaliers | Pistons | Pacers | Bucks | Division Preview
Southeast: Hawks | Bobcats | Heat | Magic | Wizards | Division Preview
Pacific: Warriors | Clippers | Lakers | Suns | Kings | Division Preview
Northwest: Nuggets | Timberwolves | Thunder | Trail Blazers | Jazz | Division Preview
Southwest: Mavericks | Rockets | Grizzlies | Pelicans | Spurs | Division Preview
Top 10 by Position: PG | SG | SF | PF | C
Top 10 Lists: Sixth Men | Sophomores | X-Factors | Intensity | Under 25 | Comeback | GMs | Europeans | Overrated | Contenders | Wild Predictions
Fantasy Basketball | NBA Fandom Games | League Preview | Ultimate Season Predictions

BMF DEN 2013 14 NBA Season Preview: Denver Nuggets

Most Important Player: Ty Lawson
For the Nuggets to move past the first round of the playoffs, Ty Lawson has to top last season’s performance and carry his team on the offensive end. Without Lawson playing at All-Star form, the Denver Nuggets won’t have much of a shot in the postseason with so many teams improving in the West.

X-Factor: Brian Shaw
The Nuggets parted ways with last year’s Coach of the Year, George Karl, after a successful season. With Karl out of the picture, Shaw has some huge shoes to fill in Denver. He will have to be stellar to bring Denver to last season’s form. If he is anything less, the Nuggets may fall flat.

Rotations: There’s no shortage of forwards on this team. Kenneth Faried is the forward to watch, as his energetic play will be crucial to this Nuggets team. Wilson Chandler might get the starting spot at the small forward, but if Danilo Gallinari recovers to full health he could take it over with some good performances. Lawson and Nate Robinson will complement each other nicely at the point guard position, and defenses will be kept exhausted as they try to contain the two. Look for Denver to try to push fast breaks with these two speed demons running the point. Either Randy Foye or Evan Fournier should get the starting spot at shooting guard with Andre Iguodala out of the picture. Expect JaVale McGee to get the starting spot at center to form one of the best high-flying tandems in the West with Faried.

What Needs to Go Right: Everything. For this team to have a chance in the West with teams like the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans on the rise, there won’t be much room for error. Ty Lawson will have to have one of the best seasons of his career, and the frontcourt of Javale McGee and Kenneth Faried will have to be great offensively and solid defensively. They can’t afford to be beaten down low in the post by dominant centers and power forwards.

It’s Really Bad If: Denver can’t make the most of the talent it has. The Nuggets may not be as star-studded as some of the big-market teams in the league, but this team definitely has enough talent to make the playoffs. They will have to play their best basketball in the playoffs to move past the first round, and how new coach Brian Shaw fits with this team will be crucial to its success.

Bold Predictions: Denver makes the playoffs as a sixth or seventh seed and fights to make it to the second round. I don’t see this team getting much further in such a daunting Western Conference. Denver is in a tough spot: not bad enough to rebuild through high draft picks, but not good enough to make a legitimate run at a title.

PLAYER PROFILES

Darrell Arthur, PF
Strengths: Solid all-around big man off the bench.
Weaknesses: Needs to improve his rebounding.
Season Prediction: Arthur will play as a role player, counted on for defensive stops and a few buckets each time he’s on the floor.

Wilson Chandler, SG/SF
Strengths: Solid player to complement Danilo Gallinari, good scorer.
Weaknesses: Lacks an intense attitude on the court, questionable shot selection.
Season Prediction: Chandler will heavily improve his jumper and provide some depth at the small forward position.

Kenneth Faried, PF
Strengths: Energetic as they come, rebounding machine on a nightly basis.
Weaknesses: Could up his scoring average of 11.5 points per game to become a more complete player.
Season Prediction: Faried will pick up where left off and have a potentially All-Star-worthy season in Denver.

Evan Fournier, SG/SF
Strengths: Solid three-point shooter.
Weaknesses: Has only 38 games of regular-season experience.
Season Prediction: Fournier will be the starting shooting guard for the Nuggets, complementing Lawson’s drive-and-dish style his shooting.

Randy Foye, PG/SG
Strengths: A strong shooter from deep.
Weaknesses: Not much to offer beyond his jumper.
Season Prediction: Foye will add some depth at shooting guard and back up Evan Fournier.

Danilo Gallinari, SF
Strengths: Consistent scorer, great size.
Weaknesses: Recovering from an injury, can disappear.
Season Predictions: It might take a while, but expect Gallo to be back to his old self by the end of the season.

Jordan Hamilton
Strengths: Solid shooter off the bench.
Weaknesses: Like Foye, can’t do much else when he’s not flinging threes.
Season Predictions: Hamilton will receive spot minutes to stretch the floor, particularly when other wings go down with injury.

J.J. Hickson, SF
Strengths: Consistent scorer and outstanding rebounder.
Weaknesses: Too soft on defense, doesn’t contest shots.
Season Prediction: Even though Hickson is backing up one of the better power forwards of the NBA in Faried, expect him to get solid minutes off the bench and maintain his great numbers on the boards.

Ty Lawson, PG
Strengths: One of the fastest players in the league, aggressive.
Weaknesses: Lawson needs to become a more mature player, especially off the court. No more getting arrested, Ty.
Season Prediction: Lawson will remain an elite point guard in the NBA and raise his assist numbers with a strong supporting frontcourt.

JaVale McGee, C
Strengths: Brings as much energy as Faried with his incredible dunking and shot-blocking.
Weaknesses: An abysmal decision maker.
Season Prediction: JaVale heavily improves his rebound and scoring numbers, keeping his highly passionate style of play on a nightly basis.

Andre Miller, PG
Strengths: Good passer, fundamental player.
Weaknesses: Turning 38 during the upcoming season, Miller’s game is in decline.
Season Prediction: Andre will be looked to as a role player to back Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson.

Quincy Miller, SG
Strengths: When he’s healthy, Miller has great scoring potential.
Weaknesses: Hasn’t been able to stay healthy.
Season Prediction: Miller will provide some depth at the small forward position and make progress in coming back from his knee injury.

Timofey Mozgov, C
Strengths: Good size at 7’1″, athletic.
Weaknesses: Has never played more than 45 games in an NBA season.
Season Prediction: If he doesn’t make a clear jump this year, he’ll lose a lot of minutes to newcomers Darrell Arthur and J.J. Hickson.

Anthony Randolph, PF
Strengths: Super athletic, great near the rim, versatile.
Weaknesses: Weak jump shot.
Season Prediction: Expect to see big improvements in Randolph’s overall game as he tries to carve out minutes in a deep frontcourt.

Nate Robinson, PG
Strengths: As passionate as they come, aggressive on defense.
Weaknesses: Small size, could work on creating shots for teammates.
Season Prediction: Robinson will be as aggressive as he’s always been and will be a solid backup for Ty Lawson.

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 2013 14 NBA Season Preview: Denver Nuggets

Nirvan Sorooshian

Nirvan Sorooshian is a writer on the BallerMindFrame Sacramento Kings blog, contributing features, columns, and recaps on all things surrounding the Kings organization.
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