Nuggets Lacking Passers

The Denver Nuggets possess one of the more efficient offenses in the NBA (currently fifth in the league in offensive efficiency).  It is an equal opportunity offense that requires players who can create scoring opportunities for their teammates.  The bad news is they are running low on players who are good passers.

With injuries to Andre Miller and Danilo Gallinari the Nuggets are going to be without two very good passers.  For all of his faults Miller has done a solid job of setting teammates up with good looks.  The two point guard offense is one that fans abhor, but when playing shooting guard Miller provided Denver with a well above average passer at that position.

Gallo has also developed into not only a solid passer, but a player capable of making difficult passes.

Nene is also a fantastic passer as a big man and Denver will miss that aspect of his game.

Looking at the players who are healthy and on the roster, I think you have to be concerned about the ability of the team to set one another up with good scoring opportunities.  Go down the list and Denver is now saddled with rotation players who are below average passers for their position.  Arron Afflalo, Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Al Harrington, Kosta Koufos, Chris Andersen and JaVale McGee are all below average passers.  Julyan Stone is a solid player, but he is not the passer that Miller is.  The only players who will be suited up for Denver against the Pistons who are above average passers for their position are Timofey Mozgov and Rudy Fernandez.

Add the difficulty of inserting two new players into the scheme and that complicates things even more.  Much of passing is about familiarity.  Knowing what a teammate is going to do before he does it.  The Nuggets are going to need time to build those relationships.  Even though one of the two new players is Chandler who played with the team last season, but his time was limited, not to mention the team has experienced significant turnover recently.

For a team that depends on offense to win games, Denver is going to have to execute exceptionally well in order to be successful.  Ty Lawson is going to be under significant pressure to play at a high level.  If he struggles to create offense when he is on the court through the upcoming seven game road trip, Denver will find themselves outside the playoffs looking in.

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  • DH

    Wait, when does Rudy pass?

    Kidding aside, I already miss Nene’s passing, so I’m glad you mentioned it. We certainly don’t have the interior passing that we had with Nene and even Kenyon.

    As for missing Miller and Gallo, I think we have players who can pass and create for others. They just aren’t asked to. AAA would be the one I would most expect to increase his assists. I think Brewer could, too. Not that they would be great, but maybe good enough for the required temporary fix (until ‘dre and Gallo come back). Also, I’m very excited to see what Stone can do, if given a chance. We’ll see.

    • ryanvdonk

      AAA passing? he might be the worst passer on the team…and he’s even worse in transition, it’s a 99% guaranty if he gets it he’s going to go to the hole, and when there’s defender he doesn’t have the elevation to get over them or the quickness to get around them.

      • Aaron

        Actually Harrington Or Mozgov Are The Worst Passers On The Team.

  • Trevor

    When they are in the open court they do a great job at passing, it will be interesting to see who steps up as the play maker in half court with Miller and Gallo out.

  • Jeremy

    Chris Dempsey is reporting that Miller will play Friday in Utah. If his minutes at the 2 are reduced, which they should be, his presence only provides an upgrade over Stone and the issue of passing, in the half court as Trevor pointed out above, will remain.

  • Jeff

    Faried looks like a pretty good passer so far, actually. Not outstanding, but I bet he could get the Kenyon Martin top of the key pass going.

  • Prizzy

    Rudy is out on the lineup card

    • Kyle Obergfell

      is he hurt again?

  • Kyle Obergfell

    IDK… Ty Lawson does a decent job dishing assists…

    • Kyle Obergfell

      Nuggets of course lead NBA in assists…
      here’s how individuals rank..
      14. Lawson
      16. Miller
      60. Gallo
      66. Fernandez
      86. Affalo…

      I have been down on Affalo.. this adds to my fuel..
      I will say he played awesome the last game..
      that is a streak of one game now…
      but especially with all the apologies about his leadership intangibles.
      Please.. he’s a FT guard and ranks #86 in the NBA
      some is definitely rotten in Denver.