The Denver Nuggets have been searching for a swingman to replace Linas Kleiza who departed for Greece for the last few weeks. There have been a few names rumored out there, but sources say that Wally Szczerbiak and Rashad McCants are the two front runners. I'm going to break down both players and determine which one would be a better fit for the Nuggets.
Lets start with Wally Szczerbiak. Szczerbiak is one of the best three point shooters in the league, and with his 6'7 build he is an ideal back up to Carmelo Anthony and the likely sixth man for the Nuggets along with Chris Anderson.
Szczerbiak brings experience and a good locker room presence to a bench that consists of youngsters Arron Afflalo, Johan Petro, Renaldo Balkman and Ty Lawson. The bench also includes Anthony Carter, Chris Anderson and Malik Allen who are all vets.
Szczerbiak is also a very underrated defender and can bring a clutch three point presence to the court in game deciding factors. Szczerbiak is a major upgrade over Kleiza when it comes to that category, because Kleiza was terrible on defense and a streaky shooter.
The Nuggets are believed to be the front runners for Szczerbiak's services, but there are reports out that a few teams are interested in Szczerbiak. The Nuggets will likely only offer the vet minimum to Szczerbiak, so indications are Wally is waiting for the best offer.
Now lets shift gears to Rashad McCants. McCants is an explosive and streaky player much like JR Smith. He could go off for 30 any given night or go out, shoot the ball 12 times and put up three points. McCants is also only 6'4 and if Denver chose to sign McCants over Sczcerbiak, they would have to run a three guard, two forward rotation off the bench which hurts Denver when it comes to size match ups.
McCants brings a solid three point shot along with his explosive offense. McCants is only 24 years old, so he brings more youth to the Nuggets, yet more inexperience as well as an iffy temper. McCants has been rumored to be a head ache for some teams and that might not be what George Karl and the entire Nuggets organization needs to go along with JR Smith and Renaldo Balkman's suspensions to start the season.
McCants reminds me a lot of JR Smith, and the Nuggets took a chance on him and were well rewarded for it. The Nuggets could likely sign McCants for the 1.1 million dollars left on their mid level exception and possibly land a young talent that could give you 12-15 points a night off the bench, much like Smith did last year.
The decision on who the Nuggets should take is a tough one. If I had to pick I would take Szczerbiak just because of his more established three ball, better experience and a good locker room guy to help Billups and Melo. McCants is a very intriguing prospect, but with the latest suspensions I don't think he is what Denver needs.
If Szczerbiak decides to sign somewhere other than Denver I think it's safe to say that McCants will be the guy. I expect Denver to sign one of the two players some time in early to mid September and I expect Szczerbiak to be the main target right now. We'll see in September who the Nuggets new sixth man and scoring threat will be.
Stay tuned for the signing and more Nuggets news.
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