Denver Nuggets: 3 Ways Team Can Build on 2011-12

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Denver Nuggets: 3 Ways Team Can Build on 2011-12

Rarely does it happen where an NBA team trades away its "star player," but they end up a better team as a result.

However, the the Denver Nuggets have done exactly that.

Since trading Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks in February 2011, the Nuggets have compiled a 56-28 regular season record, and they've been one of the most efficient offensive teams in the league.

Denver led the NBA with 104.1 points per game this past season.

While most elite offensive teams rely on their ability to isolate its best offensive player to generate points one-one-one, Denver's production has been as balanced as it gets.

The Nuggets had seven players average at least 10 points per game in 2011, and their leading scorer was point guard Ty Lawson at 16.4 points per game.

Surrounded by several capable scorers, Lawson has developed into a solid floor general for George Karl's team. Denver surrounds the perimeter with a handful of talented shooters, most notably Danilo Gallinari, who was the key piece the Nuggets received in exchange for Anthony.

Although they lack a true "star player," the Nuggets have very few holes in their lineup.

While Lawson has successfully run the show for Denver and Gallinari has been able to stretch the floor at 6'10", shooting guard Arron Afflalo may be the most consistent member of the Denver Nuggets.

Arron Afflalo has steadily improved since coming into the league in 2007; he's always been relied upon to be a defensive stopper, but he showed tremendous improvement on offense this season as he shot almost 40% from 3-point range and averaged over 15 points per contest.

In the front court, Denver has a wide variety of talented big men. In return for Nene, the Nuggets acquired the ultra-athletic JaVale McGee from the Washington Wizards. In Denver's seven-game series against the Lakers, McGee grabbed 14 rebounds twice and 15 rebounds in game three.

A beast on the boards in his own right, McGee's frontcourt counterpart, Kenneth Faried, is often referred to as "the manimal." Faried is known for his relentless work ethic on the court, as he only knows one way to play, and that's 100%, whenever he's on the court.

Both McGee and Faried averaged just over 10 points per game last season, but the Nuggets get scoring from players off the bench as well. Al Harrington is a very talented player capable of starting for many NBA teams; although he only started one game in 2011, he has a versatile offensive game and averaged over 14 points per contest.

While they don't play as many minutes, Denver's luxury of capable big men goes even deeper thanks to Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos. Both players saw extended time in the Nuggets' starting five, and their 7'0" frames allow Denver to be versatile in how they counteract opposing post players.

The Nuggets have become one of the most exciting teams to watch because of their ability to score a lot of points despite their unselfish style of play, but one question remains—how can Denver build upon its recent success and get to the next level?

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