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The Denver Nuggets look to Improve in Second Half of NBA Season

The Denver Nuggets are entering the post All-Star Game part of the season with some potential and also the will to make it to the playoffs. The team is currently sitting at the 11th spot of the tough Western Conference with a 25-30 record. The Nuggets are 17 games behind the conference-leaders, Oklahoma City Thunder. Nonetheless, they are also eight games behind the eighth-seeded Dallas Mavericks. It will be very difficult for the Nuggets to earn a playoff ticket this season, especially keeping in mind that the emerging Memphis Grizzlies are also entering the playoff mix. However, Denver will certainly not give up. After all, it does have the potential to record a better season. Let’s see some of the Denver Nuggets stats, news and rumors.

The Denver Nuggets look to Improve in Second Half of NBA Season

The Nuggets were unfortunate to see their star forward Danilo Gallinari go down with a severe injury this season. The Italian star would have been a significant piece in Brian Shaw’s rotation this season and he would have contributed in the Nuggets’ push for a better seed in the conference. Nonetheless, Gallinari is out and the Nuggets had to adjust their game.

Denver is also missing its big man JaVale McGee, who just recently underwent a season-ending surgery. McGee was a defensive anchor for the Nuggets and he was a good fit alongside Kenneth Faried. J.J. Hickson is the one who replaced him at the starting lineup and he is playing with consistency for the Nuggets. Hickson is averaging 11.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 50.2 percent shooting from the field in 27.6 minutes per game this season. Of course, the presence of McGee would have been yet another factor in Denver’s potential playoff run this season. However, the team has to continue with the pieces it has available and chase the ticket.

Ty Lawson is leading the way for the Nuggets this season. The explosive point guard is putting up a team-best 18 points per contest to go along with 8.8 rebounds and 3.5 rebounds. Lawson is also shooting 43.4 percent shooting from the floor and 34 percent from three-point range.

Wilson Chandler is also recording a very good season in 2013-2014. The veteran forward is playing for an average of 31.3 minutes per contest and he is averaging 14 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest for the Nuggets. Chandler has been filling in with consistency for the injured Gallinari. Thankfully, Chandler has been doing his part up to now in the season. Of course, Denver would happily use Gallinari, too, in its rotation. However, the presence of Wilson Chandler is providing security to the team, as he is a reliable scoring option for Brian Shaw. Chandler is shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from three-point range up to now in the season.

As expected, the Denver Nuggets were active at the trade deadline. The team had already announced that it will be shopping veteran point guard Andre Miller. Eventually, Miller was shipped to Washington, where he will have a chance to play behind John Wall. The Wizards performed this move not just for Miller’s in-game contribution, but also because he will be a great mentor for the young and immature John Wall. The Nuggets got Jan Vesely out of this deal, who, however, is not projected to have a big contribution in the team’s course moving forward.

Prior to the start of the season, the Head Coach of the team, Brian Shaw, who is recording his rookie season as a Head Coach, was receiving criticism. There were lots of people around in the league who didn’t believe that he has what it takes to be a successful Head Coach for an NBA team. Of course, judging from the result, we can’t say that the Nuggets have found much success in this season. Nonetheless, we can’t either blame Shaw for the team’s course. After all, we are talking about a team which lost its best player, in Andre Iguodala, this summer. In addition, the Nuggets also lost McGee and Gallinari, so things could have been drastically different if those two major pieces were with the team this season.

The acquisition of Aaron Brooks could be helpful for the Nuggets. Brooks will be a great backup for Ty Lawson. He is a proven point guard, who can score and he can also find his teammates in their comfort zones. Brooks is quick and he fits to the Nuggets’ energetic playing style.

What the Denver Nuggets needed and what they were expected to address through a trade before the deadline expired was an upgrade at their shooting guard spot. Of course, Randy Foye is delivering what he is expected to. Nonetheless, the Nuggets need an upgrade at the spot, they need to add some shooting skills from the perimeter and that’s why they were expected to perform a trade for a shooting guard. Andre Miller was expected to be the exchange for such a deal to happen.

Denver was reportedly linked with J.R. Smith, whose antics upset the New York Knicks earlier in the season. However, the Knicks didn’t for the trade at the end. The Nuggets were also contacted by the Sacramento Kings, who offered Marcus Thornton as an exchange for Andre Miller. However, the Kings agreed on a deal with the Brooklyn Nets one day prior to the trade deadline, acquiring veteran shooting guard Jason Terry. This pretty much left the Nuggets with no other option than to agree on the three-team deal which sent Miller to Washington.

The reality for the Nuggets is that the playoffs don’t seem a realistic target at the moment. The Nuggets will certainly try to make things happen. They will try to make a push but it will be very difficult, almost impossible for them to achieve that target. In fact, it might be wise for them to start building their team for the upcoming season.


Thank you for reading. Ron Leyba is the lead editor of, and a LastWordOnSports NBA Analyst. For more of his articles, follow his updates at Google+ or follow him on Twitter – @ronniedare. Support LWOS by following us on Twitter – @LastWordOnSport and “liking” our Facebook page.

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