The Denver Nuggets shook things up this summer, adding new faces that they think can elevate them past the first round of the playoffs this upcoming season. With the additions of forward Andre Igoudala and center JaVale McGee, the return of speedy guard Ty Lawson and the outside threat of froward Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets should be one of the mostathleticand explosive teams in the league.
Iguodala came over to Denver from Philadelphia as part of that four-team trade that ultimately got all-star center Dwight Howard to go fromOrlandoto the Los Angeles Lakers.Igoudala, considered one of the best perimeterdefendersin the NBA, is coming off an Olympic gold medal-winning summer for the United States men's basketball team. The 6'-6" swing guard averaged 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for Philadelphia lastseasonas the Sixers advanced to the second round of the eastern conference playoffs. Denver brass envision Igoudala attacking on the wing and thriving in the team's wide-open fast break style.
Former Wizards center McGee, who came over to Denver in a trade at the deadline last February, was re-signed by the Nuggets to a huge 4-year, 44-million deal. That's a bigcontractfor a player who has proved little except flashes of potential and immaturity in his first four seasons in the NBA.
There's no question that McGee has tremendous potential. He's an incrediblyathletic7-footer with theabilityto have games like the one in which he scored 21 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in a playoff win over the Lakers. But McGee followed that game up with just 2 points, so consistency continues to be an issue for the 24-year-old.
McGee averaged 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks a game for both D.C. and Denver last season. The Nuggets think McGee can reach his potential by continuing to improve his low-post moves and just maturing as a player and becoming more consistent.McGee worked with Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon this summer to improve his footwork and offensive moves on the block.
Denver said goodbye to Al Harrington and Aaron Afflalo as part of the deal to get Iguodala and amnestied power forward Chris Anderson. The Nuggets retained back-up point guard Andre Miller, who was a free agent, signing him to a two-year, 14.6-million deal. Denver also added power forward Anthony Randolph, from Minnesota, with a two-year deal.
The Nuggets took French guard Evan Fornier with the 20th pick in the NBA Draft and believe he will provide depth at the guard position. With Fornier in the fold, the Nuggets did not retain Rudy Fernandez, who returned to Spain.
Denver has always played an up-tempo style under George Karl but it can take it up another gear with the new additions for the 2012-13 season. While the Nuggets likely won't be an NBA title contender, they will be a threat to anyone they face when they make the playoffs.