• jeremyfreed

Holiday Wish List: Denver Nuggets

For a Denver Nuggets franchise looking to make the leap into the NBA Finals, the right player might be just what Denver needs to take the team across the finish line. Here are a few contenders for the role of ‘missing piece’:

Zach LaVine, SG, Chicago Bulls

Let’s start outside the box! Gary Harris has been a defensive stalwart for the Nuggets, but is having his worst season offensively since his rookie year. If the Nuggets wanted to shake things up and get back to their roaring offensive pace of a year ago, swapping Harris for the offense-minded (and that’s putting it mildly) LaVine would certainly throw a Mentos in the Coke bottle. Those crafty Jokic passes would undoubtedly lead to some highlight-reel LaVine dunks.

Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavs

Though Paul Millsap has proven repeatedly his worth as part of the Nuggets mix, it’d be hard to argue that Kevin Love is not a superior basketball player, and with fairly similar contracts, it would be easy to make a swap and bring a little more offensive firepower to the Rockies. This too would be a defense-for-offense exchange, though Love is a better defender than he gets credit for, and is not nearly the liability LaVine is. With his legitimate three-point range, Love might just change the geometry enough for Jokic to get his groove back.

Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies

If the Nuggets wanted to do a bit more promoting from within, they could use the Gary Harris contract to get Iguodala, elevate Malik Beasley to the starting line-up, and use the veteran former-Nugget Iguodala off the bench. If the Nuggets are worried about the $17 million price tag that Harris carries, this might be a creative way to inject some newness, youth, and athleticism into the line-up, while strengthening the bench with a battle-hardened veteran.

DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, San Antonio

You would sit up real straight on your couch if you saw this come across the bottom of your TV screen. With San Antonio looking increasingly like their playoff streak may be at its inevitable conclusion, DeRozan could find himself on the move to a team that would make better use of his talents than the lotto-bound Spurs. Though he carries a big price tag -- $27 million per year -- DeRozan earns it. He’s still a 20-5-5 player at 30 years old, and the unconventional offense in Denver could slot him right in. With a few big contracts on their books, the Nuggets would have an easier time than most putting together the package to pry him loose.