The Denver Nuggets didn’t make many moves this off season, but there will still be faces seen on the court that weren’t there last year. Either from a trade, or return from injury, the Nuggets will look a little more familiar. JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson, and Danilo Gallinari are coming back from a season where they barely saw the court. Former Nugget Arron Afflalo also returns to the team after some time in Orlando.
JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari, and Arron Afflalo all played together on the Nuggets in 2011, a team that lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Lakers. The Nuggets want to get back there, but they need to go farther. The playoffs is expected by Denver, but they have not been able to get past the first round since 2009 when Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Allen Iverson made it to the Western Conference finals. If they are going to get back their and win, someone has to step up and be the x-factor that the team needs. This player is Danilo Gallinari.
Gallinari had hopes of returning last season after undergoing ACL surgery the summer before, but those hopes crashed after discovering the surgery didn’t fully repair the injury. He had another surgery in January, and is hopefully going to be ready to return by training camp. He will need to be able to run and jump to show that his knee is fully healed before he will be able to play, and he plans to go home to Italy to practice with the Italian national team before he comes back to Denver to get training camp started.
The two main guys on the team last year were Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. They stepped up with all the injuries and matured as leader of the team. Arron Afflalo also returns a better player, having developed alot as a leader during his time with in Orlando. They will be main players, but they don’t have a wing player that can play like Galo. There is Wilson Chandler, but he isn’t consistent.
Gallinari, when healthy, is able to keep up with the high paced game that the Nuggets implement. He can drive the ball, put down dunks and can make remarkable layups when he cant throw it down. The ability to shoot from outside also adds to the danger of his driving ability, since it makes the defender unaware of what he will do. The three point shot was something that the Nuggets didn’t have much of last year, with Randy Foye providing the only form of reliable shooting from outside. He was missed last year, even more with all of the other injuries that plagued the lineup, so his face will be a welcomed one on the court.
Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, and Arron Afflalo will make a huge impact on the game, and will be the leaders of this team this year. The center spot will be one of uncertainty, with JaVale McGee coming back from injury and his name being thrown into trade rumors for Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert. The security blanket there will be Timofey Mozgov, who proved himself last year as a good center. That leaves the small forward, and Galo will be the answer to that. If he plays at the level that he did before the injury, the Nuggets will have a good year.