Denver Nuggets: 6 Lethal Lineups to Deploy Next Season

Preston DeGarmoAnalyst IAugust 23, 2012

Denver Nuggets: 6 Lethal Lineups to Deploy Next Season

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    The Denver Nuggets roster is the epitome of depth and balance in the NBA. The Nuggets are easily the best team in the NBA to operate without a clear-cut star player. While Andre Iguodala made the All-Star team last year, and Ty Lawson continues to climb the ranks of the NBA's top point guards, this team has no legitimate franchise cornerstone. And though this balance could be seen as a weakness come playoff time, it is also one of Denver's greatest strengths in that it enables them to deploy a plethora of different lineups based on different situations. 

    With an average age of just over 24 and only one player over 30 (Andre Miller), this Nuggets roster is young, athletic and capable of matching up against just about any lineup that is thrown at it. So what are some of the situational lineups the Nuggets might use next season? Let's take a look. 

The Starting Lineup

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    Point Guard: Ty Lawson

    Shooting Guard: Andre Iguodala

    Small Forward: Danilo Gallinari

    Power Forward: Kenneth Faried

    Center: JaVale McGee

     

    The Nuggets' involvement in the blockbuster Dwight Howard trade impacted the Nuggets' lineup in two ways. First, it provided the team with an upgrade at shooting guard in All-Star Andre Iguodala. Second, it removed former sixth-man Al Harrington from the lineup, thereby enabling Kenneth Faried to get the starter's minutes he deserves next season. 

    This lineup screams versatility, and the only real weakness to the group is a lack of post scoring ability. However, even this may no longer be an issue, as McGee has showcased an impressive arsenal of fakes that, when combined with his ridiculous length and leaping ability, make him a force to be reckoned with down low. And what Faried lacks in offensive polish, he more than makes up for with his tenacity in attacking the offensive glass. 

    The addition of another playmaker in Iguodala should further maximize the scoring of both Lawson and Gallinari. This lineup should be used to not only start games but finish them. 

Big Lineup

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    Point Guard: Andre Iguodala

    Shooting Guard: Wilson Chandler

    Small Forward: Danilo Gallinari

    Power Forward: JaVale McGee

    Center: Timofey Mozgov/Kosta Koufos

     

    Whether they like it or not, the Nuggets will—at more than one point next season—find themselves in the undesirable situation of facing the Los Angeles Lakers. Specifically, they will have to deal with the fearsome frontcourt duo of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. 

    Faried is an energetic defender capable of matching up against much taller players, but at just 6'8," he shouldn't be asked to guard the 7'0" Gasol at all times. Fortunately, the Nuggets have a trio of young seven-footers in McGee, Mozgov and Koufos, and any combination of these three could be effective in at least slowing down the Gasol-Howard combo. 

    Iguodala is more than capable of running the point, and this lineup would allow the Nuggets to absolutely tower over just about any lineup they came up against. Furthermore, since Iguodala and Chandler both possess the necessary combination of size and agility to handle opposing guards, this lineup would allow for considerable defensive flexibility. 

Quick Lineup

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    Point Guard: Andre Miller

    Shooting Guard: Ty Lawson

    Small Forward: Andre Iguodala

    Power Forward: Wilson Chandler

    Center: Kenneth Faried

     

    This lineup would allow the Nuggets to be an absolute terror on the fast break. Iguodala has long been known for his highlight-reel dunks in transition, and Faried isn't too shabby on the fast break either. 

    Combine the finishing ability at the two through five spots with Andre Miller's stellar court vision, and this looks like the kind of lineup capable of scoring at an incredible clip. 

    While Faried is far too small to play at center for long stretches, this unit could be effective in rallying back from an early deficit and bringing the crowd to its feet. 

Shooting Lineup

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    Point Guard: Ty Lawson

    Shooting Guard: Evan Fournier

    Small Forward: Jordan Hamilton

    Power Forward: Danilo Gallinari

    Center: Kosta Koufos

     

    With the exception of Koufos to hold down the fort in the middle, this lineup can absolutely stroke it from deep. 

    Lawson and Gallinari have already proven to be solid three-point shooters at the NBA level, as they shot 36 and 33 percent from downtown last season, respectively. 

    Fournier, the rookie from France, shot well from deep in summer league, as did second-year man Hamilton (who also averaged 19 points during the showcase). 

    This lineup would have its defensive deficiencies, but there's no doubt the three's would rain down with this group on the court. 

Position-less Lineup

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    Point Guard: Ty Lawson

    Shooting Guard: Andre Iguodala

    Small Forward: Wilson Chandler

    Power Forward: Danilo Gallinari

    Center: Anthony Randolph 

     

    In the newly-acquired Randolph, the Nuggets get one of just a few 6'11" NBA players with the skills of a guard. Randolph has struggled to find his niche in the league, but his raw talent and versatility are undeniable. 

    This lineup provides yet another opportunity for the Nuggets to play Iguodala, Gallinari and likely sixth-man Chandler at the same time. With so many adept ball-handlers crammed into one group, the assists would fly from all angles as the Nuggets took advantage of the various mismatches this lineup would create. 

    Much like Faried, the slender Randolph would be hard pressed to defend opposing centers, but the overall height of the group ensures he would have plenty of help. 

Defensive Lineup

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    Point Guard: Andre Miller

    Shooting Guard: Andre Iguodala

    Small Forward: Wilson Chandler

    Power Forward: Kenneth Faried

    Center: JaVale McGee

     

    The Nuggets are fortunate in that their starting lineup has no major weak spots defensively. However, in a situation where the team absolutely must get a stop, this lineup would be the best option. 

    Iguodala and McGee are obvious picks for a defensive lineup. McGee is the team's best shot blocker, and Iguodala a top notch perimeter defender, and both possess the strength and mobility to deal with mismatches. 

    Lawson is a pesky ball-thief, but Miller's superior height, strength and experience make him the better bet to match up against any type of point guard. And while Gallinari can body up against just about any opposing small forward, he lacks the lateral quickness of Chandler.

    Faried, despite his unrelenting energy and defensive enthusiasm, is not a great defender, and his lack of size could be an issue. But his multi-faceted athleticism make him a good fit in the lineup should defensive switches become necessary.