Power Ranking the Denver Nuggets' Most Valuable Players
These new-look Nuggets are a unique team.
Denver is the highest scoring team in the league, yet they're devoid a star.
The baby blue and gold share the rock better than any team in the league—a quick look at their team-oriented play leading to clean looks at the rim.
And the Nuggets run opponents out of the gym, fast-breaking at a break-neck pace led by point guard Ty Lawson.
Still, there's no star.
But for the Nuggets, there are multiple MVPs that have stepped up over the course of the season.
This list examines them.
5. Arron Afflalo
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The Nuggets have a wild card, and his name is Arron Afflalo.
Afflalo has been highly inconsistent this year, trying hard to play himself back into game shape, which he's done recently.
And when Afflalo's on his game, his team benefits.
Afflalo enjoys shooting threes from the corner, and when he hits them, it's a boost to the squad.
The fifth-year shooting guard also possesses a sweet pull-up jumper while he's arguably the best defensive player overall.
4. Andre Miller
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What Miller brings to the table is more than almost any backup point guard in the game.
He's a crafty veteran that understands how to get into his opponent's head, getting them to turn the ball over or commit silly fouls.
Miller's great at getting shots up in the point among the trees too, using beautiful body control to weave through them or head-fakes to get them in the air.
He's also been around so long that late-game shots don't rattle him, and Miller went off late in Philadelphia in January, pushing the Nuggets into overtime, eventually winning the contest.
When it comes to passing, 'Dre dishes dimes deftly, and he's one of the best at the alley end of an alley-oop.
His most valuable asset is his toughness—Miller's only missed four games in a 1,000-game career—he's battled through a separated shoulder and played in every game for the Nuggets this year.
3. Al Harrington
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Al Harrington's been a God-send for the Nuggets this season.
The 14-year veteran lost weight and regained a spring in his step as he's third in scoring on the team.
What makes him so valuable is the fact that Harrington could start on some teams today, yet he willingly comes off the bench and gives the Nuggets a punch.
Harrington loves shooting from beyond the arc, and even though he's a power forward, he hits 31 percent of them.
His second favorite thing to do is drive the ball to the rim, and Dirty Harry knows how to score once he finds the iron.
Harrington's been so solid this season for Denver, there's no doubt he's in the running for NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
The credit is due, because without him, Denver wouldn't be nearly as deep, and they may not even be in the playoff hunt as of now.
2. Ty Lawson
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The third-year point guard has not only shown growth in his game, but also in his leadership abilities.
Lawson, one of the quickest and speediest players in the league, used to focus on getting to the rack, but this year he's expanded his range drastically.
He hits threes efficiently now, which only opens up his opportunities to drive past defenders and lay the ball up or dish to his teammates.
His scoring has surged, to 15.8 PPG, which leads Denver.
But he's far from just a scorer, Lawson also dishes 6.8 dimes per contest, finds a way to grab nearly four rebounds per and leads the team in steals with 1.4 per.
Lawson's most valuable when he pushes his teammates on the break, forcing them to run and run the score up on opposing teams.
He leads them on the court by controlling the pace, though he could be more vocal with them in the half court as well.
Still, Lawson's an asset to Denver, and he's a major reason they're still in the playoff picture.
MVP runner-up stat: The Nuggets are 5-3 when Lawson records a double-double, winning the last five straight when he does so.
Denver Nuggets MVP: Danilo Gallinari
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Gallinari will soon be known as the Nuggets' star, and he's already proving he has potential to become one.
Gallo is the second-leading scorer on the team, and his offensive versatility is very valuable.
The Italian Stallion can gallop down the lane for lay-ins, he can use a newly developed turnaround fade away or simply pull up and knock down threes with ease.
He uses his 6'10” size well, as it gives him clean looks at the rim and helps him defend usually shorter small forwards.
His defense can't be missed because he gives great effort on that end of the floor too, grabbing lots of rebounds, and at times, even blocking shots.
What makes him most valuable is that the refs give him respect and get Gallinari to the line when he drives, which the team is somewhat reluctant to do at times.
His MVP moment came against his old New York Knicks as he thoroughly outperformed the player he took over for—Carmelo Anthony. Gallo scored 37 with 11 rebounds and propelled his team to a double-overtime victory in Madison Square Garden.
If the team does make the playoffs, they're going to need Gallo to succeed once they get there.
MVP Stat: The Nuggets are 11-2 when Gallinari scores 20-plus points this season.
Can the Nuggets' MVPs Push the Team into the Postseason?
As you can see, many players have stepped up for the Nuggets this year—all in their own way—which has kept Denver in the playoff picture at 29-24.
Lawson pushes the pace while pacing the team in scoring.
His backup Miller uses his vast experience to break down defenses.
Arron Afflalo can be a boom or bust for Denver while Al Harrington has really boosted the bench.
And in the end, the Nuggs' MVP is Danilo Gallinari, who scores any way he wants, outruns and out-quicks other bigs while frustrating opponents on defense.
While Gallinari is out tending his broken left thumb for what could be the rest of the regular season, the other MVPs must take their individual games up to the next level if the Nuggets want to make the playoffs late this month.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your Denver Nuggets Featured Columnist, Rich is the Denver Broncos and CSU Rams Examiner and Kurtzman also writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, and Mile High Hoops.
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