Analysis: Denver Nuggets Sign Forward, Joey Graham.

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Analysis: Denver Nuggets Sign Forward, Joey Graham.
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It really has been a long off-season. Thing is, it's still not over.

There's about a month left until a regular season tips off that many expect, will have the Denver Nuggets falling from their No. 2 perch in the Western Conference. 

George Karl's Nuggets have been the least productive team this off-season. It's arguable that it was better for them to stand pat, than do anything at all.

They lost defensive stopper Dahantay Jones to Indiana, and Linas Kleiza got lured by the money that Olympiacos offered him (12.2 million USD).

In response, the Nuggets traded for Detriot's Arron Afflalo, picked up Malik Allens expiring contract, traded for James White, and just recently signed Joey Graham to a one year non guaranteed deal worth about $900,000 taking the Nuggets final roster spot.

Graham seemed to be the last option as the Nuggets failed to sign Grant Hill, Rashard McCants, Flip Murray, Wally Sczerbiak and Desmond Mason. Although Mason or Murray would have been a better option, it just wasn't meant to be.

The Nuggets new addition will probably be a back up SF to Carmelo Anthony, something the Nuggets needed after losing Kleiza.

 

The key thing we have to look at here is the age.

Graham should be entering his prime soon, if he already isn't in it. Kleiza is only 24, yet, he had some pretty big games. He didn't receive much minutes because George Karl said he wasn't much of a "playmaker."

Obviously, throughout the years, Kleiza has proven to be a much better player than Graham. But now that he's gone, does this mean Graham can get playing time.

For those who think otherwise, Graham can play basketball. As a starter in 2008-2009, he put up 11.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.1 APG shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from behind the arc through 28 minutes.

On the other hand, Kleiza put up 7.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.3 APG on a dreadful 28.6 percent shooting from the field and 24 percent from beyond the arc.

The Nuggets obviously lost a bigger body and rebounder in Kleiza; something they needed more of, as the three man rotation of Andersen, Nene and Martin couldn't compete with Gasol, Bynum and Odom.

The signing of Graham brings them back to even. Even though he's a smaller body, he's a better decision maker. But even with this signing, the Nuggets need to do more to surpass the Lakers; most notably, find a way to use that $10 million in trade exemptions. 

It can only help.

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