NBA Season Wrap Up: Denver Nuggets
So as teams are eliminated, we will look at their 2012-13 season in review, what went wrong, and what to know moving forward. Now that the second round is in full swing, let's get to know the first round's casualties.
The Denver Nuggets:
Denver won 57 games this season and earned the third seed in the West. The only reason this season could be considered a disappointment is that they got upset by Golden State in the first round. But statistically, this team was right where it wants to be.
Their Offensive Rating was fifth best in the NBA, their pace was second best, they led the NBA in points per game, and their Defense Rating was 11th best in the association. But despite the good Defensive Rating, they allowed 101 points per game, ranking 23rd in the league. So they played defense but opposing teams made shots. That's the story of their playoff demise.
Stephen Curry exposed the Nuggets in leading the Warriors to victory in a few shootouts, including a 131-point barrage that took home court away from Denver. They lacked an individual player that helps the team weather a storm and bring them back to life when they aren't pushing the ball down the court.
The biggest question for the Nuggets going into the offseason is the future of Andre Iguodala. Iguodala has an Early Termination Option, meaning he can become an unrestricted free agent if he chooses to. The gold medal winner -- a career 32% three point shooter -- did his best to be that star player when he nailed five of eight from three in game six against Golden State, which kept the Nuggets alive for stretches during the game.
If Iguodala were to leave, it wouldn't be the end of the world. They would miss his athleticism and defense, but
they could replace him with a player that is more of an offensive threat and save money if he chooses to go.
There are talented shooting guards that could be free agents in the offseason and I think Kevin Martin is the best fit for Denver. Ty Lawson would still be able to dominate the ball and Kevin Martin can move without the ball and hit open shots in transition and in the half court. The Nuggets 3P% was one of their few statistical weaknesses and the addition of Martin would give a boost to their 34% team long-range shooting percentage.
The Warriors had some success with a zone defense to slow down the Nuggets penetrating style. Obviously the injury to Danilo Gallinari was a big loss to the Nuggets outside shooting ability, but that's what happens when you lack depth in a particular area -- one guy goes down and it falls apart.
I doubt the Nuggets will go after a big star. They have shown that they don't mind approaching the season with a team over individual mentality, but they need to add a legitimate scoring threat if they want to advance in the playoffs. Pushing the ball alone clearly wasn't enough this year and George Karl is a good enough coach to adjust to changes should Iguodala move on.
Corey Brewer will also be an unrestricted free agent and Timofey Mozgov is a restricted free agent.