Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Denver Nuggets (Last Year: 36-46)
2013-14 Season Summary:
The Denver Nuggets regressed this past season finishing 21 games behind where they did in 2012-13. Injuries, a coaching change, and new general manager all factored into that drop in the standings. With no cap space available and a couple of bad contracts on the roster, Denver faces a challenging offseason in trying to get pointed back in the right direction.
2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:
C: J.J. Hickson/Timofey Mozgov/JaVale McGee
PF: Kenneth Faried/^Darrell Arthur/Anthony Randolph
SF: Wilson Chandler/Danilo Gallinari/*Quincy Miller
SG: Randy Foye/Evan Fournier
PG: Ty Lawson/^Nate Robinson
NBA Free Agents:
^PF-Darrell Arthur (PO)
^PG-Nate Robinson (PO)
PG-Aaron Brooks (UFA)
PF-Jan Vesely (UFA)
*SF-Quincy Miller (TO)
2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $64.7 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
The Nuggets won't have much flexibility in free agency. Simply using their mid-level exception and relying on a healthy Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee to right the ship isn't going to be enough. Gallinari and McGee each have two years and more than $22 million left on their contracts, so if Denver can somehow sucker some team into taking on either (or both) of those contracts, it needs to be done.
With that outcome unlikely, the Nuggets should explore trade options with every player on their roster. I am not saying Denver needs to completely blow up the ship, but nobody should be untouchable - not even Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried.
2. Get Defensive:
Only two teams allowed more points than the Nuggets did this past season. Losing JaVale McGee early on hurt because he was the only true rim protector on the roster. Whether the team adds a new face or two who can provide more tenacity on the defensive end, or makes more of a commitment on that side of the floor, actually trying to stop the other team from scoring would be a good idea.
3. Backup Point Guard:
With Aaron Brooks a free agent and Nate Robinson having the ability to opt out of the final year of his contract, the Nuggets should be searching for a backup point guard to Ty Lawson. They could go the cheap route via free agency, or there could be some candidates like Tyler Ennis or Elfrid Payton available when Denver picks 11th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.
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