The last time Arron Afflalo wore a Denver Nuggets uniform, Al Harrington, Nene Hilario, and the Birdman Chris Anderson were still on the roster. JaVale McGee was the fifth string center, Kenneth Faried was an starting to show his talent, the Nuggets went 38-28 and went on to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. He returns to a team that has a different coach, a different look, and one coming off of multiple injuries. Two of the projected starters, Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee, only played a combined 4 games last season, but even with this Afflalo went on to say that Denver can possibly win a championship with the right mindset and coaching. The talent is there, the mindset is in question for some, but the main component for the Nuggets success this season will fall on the coach.
Afflalo did leave a team that had zero hopes of any deep playoff runs any time in the future. They are in total rebuild, and will be for a couple more years, so Afflalo is in a better place, but not one that will be be bringing home a trophy anytime soon. The year the Nuggets is not a rebuilding year, but more of an evaluation year for coach Brian Shaw. Him and Tim Connelly will have to decide who they can use and who they cant, if they can afford to give up some players in order to bring a superstar in.
Arron is right that he is coming back to a pretty talented team. Ty Lawson developed into one of the top 5 point guards in the NBA, Kenneth Faried just got picked for Team USA, the first Nugget since Carmelo Anthony, and hopefully Galo will come back at the same level he was at when he got hurt. Afflalo also got better in Orlando. His point average went up to 18.2 last season, averaged 3.4 assists a game and shot 42.7% from outside, all three of which were career highs. He barely missed being an all star, losing the spot to Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson, and only because his team had a better record.
There is no doubt that this Nuggets team has more talent this year than last. They are fast, athletic, and can play a game that will wear out alot of teams. The only thing that needs to happen this year is for Shaw to put all of these pieces together. He will have plenty of depth, great talent, and all he needs to do make it all gel. This is the year Shaw needs to prove what he can do, and the sample of what he was able to do with Timofey Mozgov is a good sign.
Even if Shaw is able to put the team together, they will be competing against a ridiculously deep Western Conference. They will have to fight to get into the playoffs, and once their they will have to compete with teams like the Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, Grizzlies, and Rockets. This will be a tough season, but hopefully Arron Afflalo brought back a little bit of magic to help them out.