3 Best Pairings for the Denver Nuggets This Year

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3 Best Pairings for the Denver Nuggets This Year
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Each basketball player has his own unique style; some styles are more compatible with specific players than with others. The Denver Nuggets are a prime example. 

A player doesn’t have to be solely compatible with one of his teammates in terms of heightened effectiveness when the two are on the floor together. That wouldn’t be ideal for any team sport which involves more than two guys on each side.

As such, the Nuggets have an auspicious combination of big men who each have a connection with the point guards on the squad as well as each other.

Unfortunately, Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee don’t get a lot of opportunities to play with each other. From Brett Pollakoff of ProBasketballTalk:

Faried and McGee were together for just nine total minutes on the court [on Nov. 15 against the Miami Heat], but their lineups were a combined +11 during that time. So why not give them some more run, especially with DaniloGallinari struggling with his shot, and with the team so desperately in need of some reliable scoring options?...If [coach George Karl] can get to where he feels he needs to be defensively with McGee and Faried playing at the same time, it would seem that any lineup featuring the two of them together would be a pretty good option.

So far, that hasn’t happened for long stretches frequently. McGee still makes his presence felt with the bench—more on that later—while Faried plays with the starters. Early five-man floor unit returns from 82games.com confirmed statistically that Faried and McGee may not be the most defensively effective combination, but there is a lot of potential by pairing the two young bigs.

They’re arguably the most athletic 4-5 combination that the NBA has to offer (though Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers might have something to say about that), and the pair spent time this summer together training with Hakeem Olajuwon.

JaVale’s play is sometimes described as erratic, which is why Karl wishes he were more like an established NBA veteran—and the best power forward of all-time—The Big Fundamental, Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs (via the Washington Post). Right now, Karl has to settle for the consistency that his most seasoned player provides.

Benjamin Hochman is a Nuggets reporter for the Denver Post.

The combination of Andre Miller and McGee results in offensive fireworks: Miller is one of the NBA’s renowned lob-passers and McGee can certainly go get alley-oops with the best of them. McGee’s status as an offensive wild card is frequently channeled into the spectacular by the 36-year-old Miller, who has missed a grand total of one game since the start of the 2007-08 NBA season.

Denver’s other point guard gets along with both aforementioned frontcourt players, but Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried have some things in common. Both are seen as undersized and exceptionally athletic for their respective positions.

Lawson is a blur in the open court, and Faried is more than willing to run the floor with his PG. Lawson’s speed and quickness along with Faried’s energy and agility make for a high-effort offense which results in plenty of easy buckets.

Each of them excels at scoring inside in their own way: Lawson can slash through defenses to get to the cup, while Faried cleans up his friend’s messes. He’s averaging almost a double-double (12.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG) with 3.8 offensive rebounds in just 29.8 minutes a night.

All statistics used in this article are accurate prior to games played on Jan. 23, 2013. For more Denver Nuggets analysis, follow Jamal on Twitter

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