Denver Nuggets: 5 Steps Tp Become Legitimate NBA Championship Contenders
Boasting players such as Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Nene Hilario and several others, the Denver Nuggets are only a few moves away from becoming true NBA Championship contenders.
The addition of Andre Miller is sure to help Lawson develop as a point guard, which in turn will help elevate the games of the rest of the team to another level.
Adding a clutch scorer and a couple of veterans to help give the Nuggets more experience will be crucial in getting them to become true championship contenders.
5. Re-Sign Nene
Nene weighs in at a colossal 250 pounds and stands at a towering 6'11". While those physical attributes are enough to earn him the nickname "The Brazilian Beast," his hustle and tenacity on the defensive end are how he earned his imposing moniker.
Although Nene's behemoth-like build is enough to earn him a contract in today's NBA, he plays solid defense and scores efficiently around the rim as well.
Any team in need of a center will surely be giving a call to Nene, but the Nuggets would be wise to lock him up long term since centers of his size and skill are extremely scarce.
4. Re-Sign Arron Afflalo
Arron Afflalo is quickly turning into a quintessential "glue guy" for the Nuggets.
He contributes across the board in everything, while doing nothing spectacular.
He shoots the ball efficiently but doesn't score a great quantity. He plays with great defensive intensity, yet he doesn't rack up a ton of steals. He knocks down three-pointers at a 42 percent clip, yet he isn't categorized as a three-point shooter.
While all of the previously mentioned attributes sound underwhelming, players like Afflalo are crucial components in building championship teams.
Afflalo will be a restricted free agent and the Nuggets should match any offer for him, since other championship teams will certainly be keeping tabs on him as well.
Think of how important Bruce Bowen and Tayshaun Prince were to each of their respective championship teams. Between the two of them, they have four championship rings total.
After he gets some experience under his belt, that's exactly the kind of impact Afflalo can have for the Nuggets.
3. Sign Tayshaun Prince
While it's true that the Nuggets already have Danilo Gallinari to man the starting spot at small forward, Prince would be a great mentor to the offensive-minded Gallinari. Prince can teach Gallinari how to utilize his length on the defensive end of the floor and help him become a more well-rounded player.
Prince could also do the same for Afflalo and help him refine his already-exceptional defensive instincts.
Having Prince gives them a player who can defend lanky scoring wing players like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. While it is unlikely he would be able to stop superstars like these completely, it's certainly plausible to believe that he can make them less effective.
Prince is a former Olympian and has a championship pedigree. The experience he brings with him would be treasured by a young team like the Nuggets and bolsters their bench as well.
2. Sign Chuck Hayes
While Kenyon Martin has been a valuable piece of the Nuggets playoff teams, there is no room for his injury concerns on a budding young team like Denver.
Sliding Hayes over to the power forward position gives him the chance to tussle with smaller players rather than dealing with players at the center position like he did last season with the Rockets.
A power forward pairing of Hayes and Kenneth Faried is sure to bring great energy and rebounding every minute they are on the floor. Throw in Nene at center, and this trio seems even more exciting.
Writing off this pair because they are undersized for their positions would be a foolish mistake, since they could form one of the better defensive power forward pairings in the NBA.
1. Sign Jamal Crawford
Granted many teams are going to be in the running for the services of Jamal Crawford, but the Nuggets should certainly be one of the teams trying the hardest for him.
The Nuggets essentially traded star power for youth and depth when they finalized the Carmelo Anthony deal.
The team went 15-4 after the trade and showed how dangerous they can really be. Reality is, though, that they need someone to rely upon and take the shot when the game is on the line.
While replacing Anthony's scoring production is nearly impossible, Crawford can give the Nuggets the closer they've been missing since Anthony was shipped off to the Big Apple.
Crawford would give the Nuggets a productive replacement for J.R. Smith as well as a more calm presence in the locker room.
A mix of gritty defense and a well-balanced offensive attack would give them the opportunity to become one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA.
These additions give them the ability to create different lineups, which, as the Dallas Mavericks showed this past season, is an integral part of winning an NBA Championship.