The Denver Nuggets are stuck in that limbo of not being good enough to get into the playoffs but not being bad enough for a top lottery pick. It’s something that can be more promising though in the case of the Nuggets, given that the main reason they were in this space was because of injury. This is a positive, but unless general manager Tim Connelly composes a major trade, that unsure lineup returning from injury will be all that the Nuggets will be able to afford.
The top three players on the payroll are Ty Lawson, Javale McGee, and Danilo Gallinari. McGee and Gallinari hardly played this season, so there are obvious health questions about them coming back.
This is most likely going to be the future of the Nuggets, but their main goal this offseason needs to be resigning Kenneth Faried. He really proved himself and should make way more than his rookie deal, proving that he is one of the top power forwards in the game, so after resigning him it should leave little room for them to make a big move. Power forward David West made $12 million last year, while Faried made $1.37 million. They had very similar stats- West had 14 points per game while Faried averaged 13.8, and Faried also averaged 2 more rebounds a game. That means Denver will need to throw some major money his way in order to keep him.
There is little wiggle room for the Nuggets after that deal is made- they have a lot of money invested into those three previously mentioned and Faried will be put in that tier. One thing that they do need to spend a little time and money on is helping out the outside shooters on the team by adding some talent there. Randy Foye seems to be the only one that consistently hit from beyond the arc, and we’ll see if Galo will be able to do the same once he returns. Other than those two there isn’t any consistency in that department. Foye will hit from outside sometimes but they need a guy on the perimeter that can come off the bench and really produce.
If the Nuggets want to be a little risky, they can take a chance on shooting guard Nick Young, or Alan Anderson, who has been trying a long time to make an impact in the NBA. I like Anthony Marrow, who is a strong three point shooter, but the ideal guy would be Lance Stephenson, but I think he should be into a big contract somewhere and Denver is not going to be able to do that for him.
I think that the best bet for the Nuggets this offseason is to trade McGee or Gallinari. This move would bring some new faces to town that could really help. I like the work that Mozgov and Hickson were able to this past season, so my vote would be McGee, but a star small forward would be nice as well.