Every year around this time ESPN introduces its annual #NBARank series codifying all 500 players in the NBA from least to most valuable. Last year Roundball Mining Company decided to get in on the action and began ranking each of the players on the Denver Nuggets’ final 15-man roster in the same fashion. We’ve polled all seven of our writers, asking them to arrange each player on the Nuggets roster from one to 15 (one being the best, 15 the least valuable), then we added everyone’s scores together to come up with a single, definitive list of the 15 “most valuable” Denver Nuggets. Checking in at number 10 is Darrell Arthur, the second of the four offseason additions to join the rankings.
Arthur isn’t flashy or explosive like the Nuggets starting bigs of Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee, but he may be the most skilled big man on the roster.
Offensively Arthur knows his limitations and doesn’t try to do more than he is capable of, leading to plenty of pick and pop jumpers which Arthur knocks down consistently. Arthur is a 43 percent shooter in the last two seasons from mid-range including a 46 percent mark last season when he was working back from a torn ACL. If his finishing in the restricted area can recover (66 percent in 2010-2011 but only 53 percent on limited shots last year) with a full season of health Arthur can be a very valuable offensive weapon for Denver.
Defensively Arthur will help the Nuggets defend the pick-and-roll, where he excels thanks to a combination of instincts and footwork. He won’t be a big time shot blocker but he will contain either ball handlers or roll men depending on how Brian Shaw decides he wants his bigs to play the pick-and-roll. Arthur is also a solid defender in the post where he gave up just .88 points per possession a season ago according to Synergy Sports. The combination of solid defense and floor stretching offense will provide Shaw with a big man completely different from any other on the roster.
Like most players though Arthur isn’t without his weaknesses. His defensive rebounding rate has dropped every season he has been in the league, bottoming out at 12.5 percent last season. As mentioned above Arthur also struggled finishing in the paint last season and it took a toll on his offensive effectiveness dropping his effective field goal percentage from 49.7 in 2010-11 to 45.8 last year. In his last fully healthy year in 2010-11, Arthur had an efficient field goal percentage of 49.7, a true shooting percentage of 53.4 and a defensive rebounding rate of 17 percent. If he can get back to those numbers he will fit perfectly next to both Faried and McGee and provide the Nuggets a valuable weapon off the bench.
Denver hopes that Arthur’s problems were purely a product of recovery from his knee injury and that those numbers will jump back up closer to his 2010-11 production. If he does it isn’t hard to see Arthur jumping up the rankings in next year’s #NuggetsRank.
15. Anthony Randolph
14. Quincy Miller
13. Timofey Mozgov
12. Jordan Hamilton
11. Randy Foye
10. Darrell Arthur