3-on-3: Nene’s impact + links

In our second installment of the 3-on-3 series we’ll be examining Nene’s impact on the future of the Nuggets organization now that he has re-signed. Tom Ley, author of our recent Fan Mail feature on J.R. Smith, is back again after being the quickest to respond on Twitter to our request for someone to participate in this week’s 3-on-3. If you want to participate next time be sure and follow all of us on Twitter! And as always, don’t be shy to participate by giving your personal responses to the following questions in the comments section below!

1. With Nene re-signed and Afflalo likely not far behind, how high can the Nuggets finish in the Western Conference?

Tom: I’m fairly optimistic about the Nuggets’ chances this year, and I don’t think a repeat as the fifth seed in the West is out of the question. The teams that I currently see as undeniably superior are the Mavericks, Lakers, Clippers, and Thunder. The Spurs and Grizzlies are wildcards in my opinion, whose success or failure could greatly swing the Nuggets chances one way or the other. For now though, I’m hoping for a five seed.

Kalen: The only teams I think Denver won’t be able to top are San Antonio and Oklahoma City, otherwise the West looks pretty wide open. The Lakers just gave away the reigning Sixth Man of the Year for nothing, plus they’re injury-plagued and old, meanwhile Dallas lost by far its most important player outside of Dirk in Tyson Chandler, not to mention J.J. Barea and Caron Bulter. If Afflalo re-signs this team is immediately just as deep, if not more so than the team that finished off the year as the hottest in the NBA in 2010-11.

Jeremy: I believe Denver is a lower level playoff team. San Antonio, the Lakers, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Memphis are all clearly better than Denver.  Portland is going to be solid, Houston will be decent and of course now the Clippers are a clear playoff team and I believe they will finish ahead of the Nuggets. Their fantastic depth will help win regular season games, and may help them finish ahead of one or two teams who have more talent. However, come playoff time Denver will struggle to defeat one of the top four teams in the West.

2. What type of numbers should we expect from Nene now that he’ll be playing power forward?

Tom: I’m hoping that a return to his comfort zone will mean Nene becomes a much more aggressive offensive player than he was last year. As much as I love to watch Nene pass the ball, I’d like to see him get it on the block and be assertive in ways that he hasn’t in the past. What’s more, I’d love to see him get out and run the floor with Lawson leading the break. If he does all of these things, I’m confident that he can get above 20 points per game while maintaining his patented excellent shooting percentage.

Kalen: About the same as last year. Because he’ll be playing against smaller competition I could see Nene increasing his numbers across the board, but I don’t expect him to suddenly morph into an All-Star like many Nuggets fans do. After ten years in the league, we simply need to accept Nene for who he is, not who we think he should be. He’s never averaged over 15 points or eights rebounds per game in his career and though I could see this changing with a move to power forward, its just as easy seeing it remain the same given the copious amount of depth the Nuggets have across the board that will likely cut down on his playing time.

Jeremy: I do not believe Nene will be putting in a lot of time at power forward until I see it. The truth is, with the current roster Nene remains the best option at center for Denver. Timofey Mozgov is a big body but he’s not particularly talented; plus, with consistent minutes comes consistent foul trouble.  Chris Andersen can play center, but that option has been available to George Karl in the past without being utilized. Karl has constantly had the option of going big or small and he almost exclusively chooses to play small. Nene will certainly play more at power forward than in the past, but I honestly do not think it will be as much as others are projecting and when it’s all said and done, Nene will most likely post his typical 15 and 7.5.

3. With Nene locked down for the next five years, what will become of Faried?

Tom: I’m officially concerned about Faried’s future. Karl’s comments from earlier in the week about Faried’s minutes were less than encouraging, and that was before Nene re-signed. I see Karl sticking to a rotation of Nene/Harrington/Mozgov/Koufos and burying Faried on the bench. This is unfortunate, because I think Faried could be a fantastic energy guy off the bench in the mold of Glen Davis or DeJuan Blair. It’s much more likely that Faried will spend this season acting as the Nuggets token dreadlocked bench warmer, in lieu of the dearly departed Renaldo Balkman.

Kalen: This is a tough pill to swallow for a diehard Manimal fan like me. Though I never, ever, actually wanted Nene to leave, there was always that notion back in the deep, dark caverns of my mind that was OK with it simply so that more playing time would open up for Faried. If Nene gets too comfortable at the power forward spot I pray Faried doesn’t find himself the subject of trade bait. However, I still think once Faried gets going Karl will be forced to forgo his stubborn habit of mistreating rookies, as his energy and rebounding prowess simply cannot be ignored. I fully expect Faried to play a big role this season and for years to come with the Nuggets.

Jeremy: As you may expect from my previous answer I see Faried playing power forward, probably even alongside Nene at times. If Nene has to play center as much as I anticipate he will, Faried is the best option at power forward. He will rebound and plays with great energy. It may take a while for George Karl to warm up to him, but I suspect by the midpoint of the season Faried will be putting in consistent minutes. I cannot see Karl playing Al Harrington more than Faried, at least I hope I do not have to see that. The rookie who has seen his playing time disappear based on the handful of moves over the previous couple of days is Jordan Hamilton. Faried will be fine.

By the way, here are some links you should probably check out:

Video footage of Nene re-signing with the Nuggets

Nuggets to host free Fan Jam on Friday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m

Details of the Rudy Fernandez trade

Story on where the Nuggets stand

Ron Artest on the art of deflecting a question you don’t want to answer

Good Nene quotes for those who missed his press conference

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • Rog

    There is so much competition at each of the positions. If we sign Earl Clark AND AAA we’ll have to waive somebody. I guess it’s a good problem to have but Karl said he only sees playing 8 or 9 guys

  • sean

    The nuggets need to cut Al harrington he isn’t better than faried, he can’t rebound or block or play defense like bird. Unlike you all i know Mozgov has talent, and Koufos as well. Between those two, and Nene, Bird, and Manimal the nuggets will do just fine without harrington standing by the three point line witch he never makes, He can’t drive to the basket because hes to fat and gets blocked, Doesn’t fight for rebounds, but Karls going to play him allot. This is the guy you wanted for “coach of the year”. The only thing holding denver back is karl to stubborn to change his ways if they aren’t working. He only wins because of his players, and blames his players for loses that are clearly his fault. Karl can’t coach young big guys, doesn’t know how to use young big guys. Thats why he like small college basketball, and that doesn’t win in the NBA. Karl needs to go in denver and once he does they will go much further than you three think.

    • Aussie Nugs Fan

      Every second Harrington plays while Faried is on the bench will kill me. We don’t need him one bit, Can’t we trade him to somebody who can amnesty him for cap space?

      • Chris

        Actually, teams can’t amnesty players they trade for.

        • Sanokumo

          Not true. As long as the contract predated the new CBA. but each team has only one Amnesty and they do not have to use it right away.

    • Yet another aussienuggsfan

      Mozgov does have talent. Kosta ‘buckets’ koufos does not. I watched him in college and he sucks… But George Karl is in love with him and George Karl rejects real talent like jr smith

      • Cory

        I think if you want jr smith to become that guy you just tell him if he plays defense he gets 30 minutes a night and he can take as many shot as he likes, maybe that way he isn’t worried bout getting his

  • Michael (another aussie Nugz fan)

    1. I have previously said that I believed if we re-signed Nene and brought back AAA along with our other pieces that we should probably finish around fifth.
    I also agree with Jeremy that even if we do have a reasonably good regular season, we may struggle against the top teams if we don’t develop a/some “go to” guys/plays to get the job done late in close games.

    2. I don’t see Nene putting up drastically different numbers to anything he has thus far in his career. After nine years in the league I think he is what he is, a solid 15 and 8 guy, although he will have the odd night of 24 and 10 or so this will not be his averages. With the depth we have and the hectic schedule I believe they will rest Nene some to try and avoid causing injuries.

    3. Faried will see very limited minutes early on in the season to allow him to learn the NBA game and give the coaches a chance to try and hone some of his skills (especially on the offensive side).
    With his work ethic and energy he will slowly earn more minutes providing he doesn’t have too many shockers on the offensive end.

    I see Jordan Hamilton and Rudy swapping minutes as they force up shots that GK doesn’t like and get dragged in place of the other. The first one to curb their habit of poor shot selection and play better defence will win the minute war.
    However if they both continue to force up bad shots then Corey brewer and Stone will get more minutes (assuming all these players are still on the roster).
    Alternatively it could support GK in running the two PG option.

  • ny nugs fan

    i would like to pose a question for nugs fans… who are your go-to scorers? all of the other top teams you can easily envision one, two or even three guys, but who’s that guy for the nugs?

    one reason why i blve the nugs are really gonna need chandler back bcse we may be able to rebound, even play defense, but just not seeing enough scoring out there at the moment

    • Yet another aussienuggsfan

      WE need chandler back . He is better than gallo is all areas bar 3 point shooting and even that isnt that bad

  • Michael (another aussie Nugz fan)

    Gallo will be our primary focus for scoring, with Nene, Ty Lawson and AAA supporting or leading the scoring on any given night.

    Fernandez will be the bench scoring punch with Andre Miller providing 10 or so per game in the second unit along with Al Harrington hitting the occasional 3. Birdman will get his points on pick and roll dunks and put backs after offensive rebounds.

    As for “go-to” we’ll have to see if one of our guys develops into that role this year. Gallo is the most likely candidate but I don’t think he’ll be the only one. Jordan Hamilton has the potential to be one in the future as he can create his own shot and isn’t afraid to throw it up.

    The primary options will be:
    Nene down low
    Gallo on the wing
    AAA in the corner
    Ty for the drive/pull up from the top.

    But thats just my thoughts, I’m not coaching… anything could happen to the roster between now and the end of the season.

  • Thomas

    While Karl is calling the shots, our team will go nowhere. A good coach would find time for Faried to blossom, or at least give him a real shot.

    He will play Lawson and Miller together – a combination that is so bad on all levels that it’s hard to comprehend why it’s used at all.

    Unlike most fans, I see very little chance of Gallo becoming a star – I think there is more winning upside with Wilson Chandler, if he ever comes back.

    I’m of the opinion that a #5 to #8 seed team like us has to allow our draft picks to see meaningful minutes (up to 15+) per game to show their game. We already know what the other guys bring and it won’t be enough.

    • Yet another aussienuggsfan

      THANK YOU!!!!!!!! For weeks I have read stuff about gallinari being an all star type player and I think Wilson chandler is much better. He just doesn’t want to live in the shadow of gallo and that is holding him back and gallo should be traded before the deadline if chandler signs a long term deal in march.
      Chandler plays better defense
      He is way more athletic
      Rebounds better
      Shoots better off the dribble
      Can get his own shot by getting to the rim
      Shoots 3s at a good level (not quite gallo though)
      And this equates to a higher ceiling
      As for George Karl I am sick of his coaching. He drives away talent because they might have a bit of an ego which he can’t seem to handle. He is obsesses with small ball lineups with 2 pgs which shouldnt happen in the nba unless one of those pgs is 6’6 and the thing that is most infuriating is he doesn’t play rookies and instead of developing youngsters he is to hung up on winning a 6th seed in the playoffs by using a 10 man rotation which doesnt work when it matters in the playoffs.

      So Masai Ujiri, you are doing a great job so far but
      1. Fire George Karl and get someone committed to developing youth
      2. Trade gallo probably near the deadline for a draft pick or something
      3. Clear this logjam of players. Plenty of real contenders would kill for some of these players and would probably give draft picks for them. For eg wouldn’t a team like Miami or Chicago give up a pick for Rudy
      4. This should probs be 1st but amnesty or trade fat al for gods sake.
      5. Sign Tim tebow as a robert Harry type guy for the end of games

      • Lil Rik

        Wow. you sound lige a GM in the NBARL (NBA retard league) Why did George play Ty Lawson so much as a rookie?

        • Alex

          If you think back to Lawson’s rookie season, GK didn’t play him that much and actually gave WAY too many of his minutes to Anthony Carter. It wasn’t until Carter and Billups were gone that Ty Really got anything close to starter minutes.

    • Lil Rik

      Who’s Wilsom Chandler? I seem to have forgotten about him since he DISAPPEARED in the first round of the playoffs. That guy makes Arod look clutch…

      • Cory

        Oh yeah gallo shined real bright in the playoffs lil rik. Chandler would thrive in a starting role and you are forgetting there are two sides of the game and when chandler was on the floor he played way better defense on durant. He plays a lot better without gallo and that was seen in new york when gallinari missed games and chandler hit some big shots

        • Ryan

          are you really ignorant enough to believe chandler wants to be here? yes his upside is better, but too many times i saw him lack enthusiasm and just go through the motions on the court. his effort shows that he doesn’t want to be a nugget. you also sell gallo short on how he attacks the rim, and slams it home at every chance given. chandler seemed to get blocked at least once a game when he had a open lane laying it up soft instead of dunking. the problem with gallo is people see him with the potential to be a mini dirk. he’s not that, with his reckless abandon he’s more of big ginobili than anything.

  • Yet another aussienuggsfan

    Btw is everyone on this site australian or what????

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      You didn’t know? It’s a prerequisite to joining this site. We need to have a 3-on-3 or even 5-on-5 someday with all the Aussies.

  • Lil Rik

    Harrington is amnesty waiting to happen. Nuggets are in a flexible position of not having to do it right now. They might even be able to dump him through a trade. At some point Faried is going to get minutes – the guy is tough as nails and driven – that can take you a long way in competitive sports.

  • Cory

    I think everyone is either forgetting or don’t know that Wilson chandler outshined gallo in new York and also in just about every statistical category. Higher field goal percentage, higher 3 point percentage more rebounds you name it. I think he just took longer to adapt in Denver and he is the kind of guy who needs to be a starter. If Denver choose to keep gallo over him than they are out of their minds. People need to get over this racial stereotype of gallo being dirk and wake up. Btw this is irrelavent but jr smith is surprisingly efficient

  • ny nugs fan

    i’m not one to buy into the gallo vs chandler business; rather, i happen to blve the nugs need both of those guys

    gallo can get you buckets in spades and the guy gets to the line; chandler can give you points but also lock down on defense

    i’m also thinking that karl would be hard pressed not to get faried in the game early; you know the favs in the division clearly is okc and i dont think this team w/out chandler and a guy like faried intimidates those guys

  • Cla_L_Jay

    First of all, I just want to’ thank you for the great job you do! I started to’ read your blog one month ago and since then it’s become like a drug for me! You are great in keeping all of us Nuggets fans close to the team! Moreover, your articles are perfectly written!
    Now, these are my answers:
    1) I think Nuggets are even more talented and deeper than last year after the trade! A new cycle began, and in the first season to start without melo, I think Nuggets will surprise!
    Ok, there are better teams like OKC,DAL,LAL and now LAC, after the CP3 trade! On the other hand, we don’t have pressure and expectations these teams have and other teams are getting worse… This is my prediction for this season:

    2) I believe Nene will start the season as a PF, but I hope after a few games Karl will understand how better Faried is than Mozgov, making him start as a PF, with Nene as a C!
    However, I think nene will increase his PPG as a PF, but reduce his RPG.

    3) As I said before, I like a lot Faried, his power, his strenght and his
    talent! Though I don’t want him to stay on the bench all along the season, I have to admit this is a sad possibility!

  • Jrsmithisnumber1

    I feel like size is very important. One of the main reasons we lost last season was the Thunders offensive rebounding. George Karl continues to play small which has more disadvantages that advantages. The last 3 champions, the lakers and mavs have had 7 footers starting at C and PF. The nuggets need to slide Nene to power forward and start mosgov. The nuggets would instantly have on of the biggest frontcourts with 7,1 mosgov 6,11 nene and 6,10 gallinari.