Coming up at the end of this week is the final piece of the NBA’s June/July trifecta. First came the NBA Finals, then the NBA Draft and now we’re on the precipice of the beginning of the NBA’s free agency period getting underway.READ MORE: Rigoberto Valles Dominguez, Suspect In Littleton Police Shooting, Barricaded In Brighton
While the Nuggets used their three first round draft picks wisely and hopefully have shored up their back court for years to come with the addition of Jamal Murray to Emmanuel Mudiay, there are still holes to be filled on the roster and there’s money and talent in free agency to fill those holes with.
First, let’s take a look at the Nuggets’ roster as it stands today.
** 2016 draft choices are in bold.
Projected Starting Five:
PG – Emmanuel Mudiay
SG – Jamal Murray
SF – Danillo Gallinari
PF – Kenneth Faried
C – Jusuf Nurkic
Guards: Jameer Nelson, Malik Beasley, Gary Harris, Will Barton, Axel Toupane
Forwards/Centers: Juan Hernangomez (F), Wilson Chandler (F), JaKar Sampson (F), Joffrey Lauvergne (F), Petr Cornelie (F/C), Nikola Jokic (C)
Clearly, the area the Nuggets need to address whether Hernangomez ends up spending this year in the U.S. or overseas is in their front court.
While Jamal Murray will have a learning curve to deal with, Gary Harris was more than serviceable as the team’s primary 2 guard last year and should be able to help the rookie along and pick up slack when needed.
The impressive depth that the Nuggets will sport this year is something that they haven’t had in a long time. Being able to play a number of different line ups filled with both veteran and young talent should have fans optimistic.
Now, let’s take a look at free agency.
Nuggets’ 2016 Free AgentsREAD MORE: State Investigation Reveals Young Girl Killed On Colorado Amusement Ride Was Not Strapped In
Darrell Aurthur (F), D.J. Augustin (G), Mike Miller (F)
The Nuggets shouldn’t be too desperate when it comes to free agency this year. With so many young players on the roster, they are loaded with affordable contracts from key players like Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Emmanuel Mudiay in addition to all the rookies.
Danillo Gallinari is eating up over $15 million in cap space but is producing for the Nuggets and can be a good mentor for all of the young European players on roster. Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler are both locked in for years to come and will be helpful in this developing team. Jameer Nelson is also filling in the veteran role to train the young guards for the future.
Looking at the needs, there really doesn’t seem to be a dire need for these Nuggets as you don’t want to disrupt the younger players’ growth.
As the NBA is pushing more and more towards a perimeter-oriented league, it’s important to have big men who have the ability to step out and shoot the three. The Nuggets could benefit greatly from targeting mobile big men who can move freely around the perimeter.
Here are some potential options:
1. Ryan Anderson
Ryan Anderson is likely to make the biggest contract out of the above mentioned players. Anderson is a good player when it comes to his offensive versatility. Anderson was with New Orleans the last four seasons but it looks as if his run may be over. Last season, he averaged 17 points per game and shot around 37 percent from the arc, a number that is even lower than his usual count. He could be an ideal fit for the Nuggets and would act as a great 6th man.
2. Robert Covington
Robert Covington has played in Philadelphia the last few years and has shown his ability to light it up with playing time. He has the potential to be absolutely deadly from three point range and should come at a cheaper price than Anderson even though he is younger at only 25 and can play both forward positions. Covington is also the best defender on this list and it isn’t even close.
3. Jared Sullinger
Jared Sullinger is one of the more polarizing players. He is a restricted free agent but as Boston sets their eyes on bigger prizes, it’ll be interesting to see if they have to sacrifice Sullinger. While he has had his problems with keeping in shape, he is a big man who can rebound and stretch the floor. He could be a good fit to contrast some of the post play the Nuggets have down low.
4. Ersan Ilyasova
Ilyasova was traded along with Victor Oladipo for Serge Ibaka during the NBA Draft. The Thunder have the option to waive Ilyasova by July 1st and not have to pay him $8 million, a figure that can help a lot for the future with some pretty important players set to hit free agency in the next couple years.
Aside from helping some of the younger European players get acquainted to the NBA, he can also provide a lot of the skill set that Anderson can bring without the same consistency.
5. Jared DudleyMORE NEWS: Colorado Doctors Offer Monoclonal Antibody Treatment, But Prefer Vaccinations
Finally, Dudley isn’t the most attractive option but he won’t demand that much on the open market and does a lot of the dirty work to help teams succeed. Dudley is typically thought of as a small forward but, with today’s small ball, can easily come in and play at the 4 while also helping out the three. To have a steady defensive player with a reliable long ball who can even dribble a little bit is very valuable and can open the floor up for the other players.