Last season was a strange one for Wilson Chandler. It was unequivocally the best season of his career, he posted highs in PER and win shares per 48 minutes, and his return midway through the year ended up providing the Nuggets with the integral gear off the bench that launched their huge second half. As his team leading net rating on the court would suggest, Chandler’s versatility unlocked an innumerable number of big and small lineups for Karl to play with and the Iguodala-Brewer-Chandler unit propelled the Nuggets to a borderline top ten defense almost by themselves.
The key to unlocking these lineups was Chandler’s ability to play the four (the Nuggets were a plus-107 when Chandler played power forward per 82games.com) and the key to unlocking his potential there was his three point shooting. On 126 three point attempts last season Chandler averaged a cool 41.3 percent shooting, a mark that put him in true stretch-four territory.
The problem arises when you look at Chandler’s career percentages, and find that his three point shooting this year eclipsed the best mark of his career by more than 6 percent, which is essentially the difference between a below average shooter and a marksmen. If Chandler returns to his career norms, an inefficient volume three point shooter, not only does playing him at the four become a risky proposition, the Nuggets will lose a floor spacer they sorely need from a player who will likely receive starter-level minutes to start the season.
Additionally, Chandler will be the Nuggets best, and perhaps only, real wing defender now that Brewer and Iguodala are gone and with Gallinari hurt. Through a coaching change, a shift in the front court hierarchy, and four free agent signings Wilson Chandler remains the biggest enigma on the team. Will he continue to have use as a legitimate stretch-four? Can he at least mitigate the losses of Brewer and Iguodala on defense until Gallinari gets back? Will he embrace Shaw’s new system with the same fervor as he did with Karl’s run-and-gun?
The answer to the Wilson Chandler question may just determine how far this team can really go.
15. Anthony Randolph
14. Quincy Miller
13. Timofey Mozgov
12. Jordan Hamilton
11. Randy Foye
10. Darrell Arthur
9. J.J. Hickson
8. Andre Miller
7. Evan Fournier
6. Nate Robinson
5. JaVale McGee
4. Kenneth Faried
3. Wilson Chandler
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