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What Offseason Moves Are Left For The Nuggets

The Nuggets don't have many possible moves this offseason.

The Denver Nuggets have had an interesting offseason, to say the least. Following an embarrassing game seven lost to the Timberwolves. Many people thought the Nuggets’ offseason targets were clear. Resign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and improve their bench unit. Now 10 days into free agency Denver has 15 players on guaranteed contracts but KCP isn’t one of them. Who on the roster will step into his role and did Denver do enough to improve their bench? 

What Offseason Moves Are Left For The Nuggets

The Fifth Starter

The first question the Nuggets must answer is, who’s stepping into the hole left behind by KCP? The obvious choice for Denver is third-year wing Christain Braun. Defensively Braun isn’t a downgrade from KCP. At 6’6 he can guard multiple positions and has the athleticism to keep up with explosive players. Offensively is where the gap widens. Braun improved as a three-point shooter last season but the gap between him and KCP is vast. He attempted just 2 threes per game last season, half as many as KCP. Braun is a better rim finisher than KCP but the Nuggets need floor spacing not rim pressure alongside Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon. While Braun is the likely choice there are a couple of other in-house candidates for the starting spot. Most notably, Peyton Waston and Julian Strawther. Starwther is the better shooter of the two while Waston is the better defender.  

What about the Bench?

The Nuggets didn’t have much cap space to bring in talent this offseason. They did a great job of using what money they did have to fill the biggest area of need, the backup power forward and center. Last season the Nuggets tried to use Zeke Nnaji and DeAndre Jordan in those roles. While both players had flashes they were out of the rotation by the postseason and were the worst two players off of the bench. With the Nuggets signing Dario Saric to a two-year $10.6 million deal the backup big man minutes project to be better.

Saric is an offensive-focused big who can shoot, pass, and put the ball on the deck. With him out there the Nuggets can run some of the same actions they use with Jokic. The Nuggets made sure to double up on big men this offseason. Drafting DaRon Holmes in the first round. Holmes is an elite pick-and-roll big out of College who can do a bit of everything defensively.  

The Nuggets still need to find a backup ball handler. With the team trading Reggie Jackson on draft night and losing Collin Gillespie to the Suns the only other ball handler off the bench is Jalen Pickett. Pickett spent most of his rookie season in the G-league and might not be ready to be the backup point guard on a contender just yet. One name the Nuggets have been linked to as a backup PG is Russell Westbrook. Westbrook opted into his contract with the Clippers meaning if the Nuggets want him they have to trade for the former MVP. Jokic has been pushing for the front office to make a deal for Westbrook.  Westbrook would provide a veteran presence off the bench for a time with a surprising amount of young guys.

The Last Word on Denver

With 15 players under guaranteed contracts and the team over the first apron, if the Nuggets want to make any more moves it is going to be on the margins or through trades. Denver still has the best player in the world on their roster but in a wild west that gets better every year, the Nuggets need to make every move count.



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