Nuggets

Denver’s Dominant Deadline Reinforces Contender Status

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The Denver Nuggets were one of 23 teams active on Thursday’s Trade Deadline.

By acquiring a range of talent, Denver has emerged as legitimate title contenders in this ever-changing NBA season.

JaVale Returns

One of the first trades on Thursday saw JaVale McGee return to the Nuggets for a second stint in Denver.

McGee was traded from the Cavaliers in exchange for 22-year-old Isaiah Hartenstein and two future second-round picks. After losing Mason Plumlee to the Pistons in free agency, the Nuggets have failed to find any defensive presence from their big men. Hartenstein averaged just 9.1 minutes per game from the bench, failing to find his feet in Denver.

Despite the success of the Nuggets’ first-team unit, their bench has often struggled this season. This only emphasizes the McGee’s role and the impact he will have on Denver’s roster.

Firstly, the statistics speak for themselves – JaVale spent four seasons in Denver and has since enjoyed success with championship-winning teams. McGee has won three NBA titles in the past four seasons and knows exactly what it takes to succeed on the big stage. The seven-footer will therefore provide experience to what is a relatively young Denver squad, especially throughout the playoffs.

Additionally, JaVale is a fantastic rim protector and will help to provide defensive security from the Nuggets bench.

In terms of value, it’s hard not to like this trade. For what Denver gave up, McGee slots perfectly back into Denver’s rotation – providing both experience and interior defense.

Air-Gordon set to land in the Mile High City

The addition of forward Aaron Gordon has raised many eyebrows around the basketball world, with the trade symbolizing Denver’s intentions to win their first-ever NBA title. Gordon, who was also linked with the Boston Celtics and the Portland Trail Blazers, was traded to the Nuggets alongside Gary Clark. In exchange, Orlando received guard Gary Harris, rookie R.J. Hampton and a future first-round pick.

Following the loss of Jerami Grant in free agency — also to Detroit — Denver has suffered defensively this year. Gordon looks to resolve this issue.

Gordon is a versatile defender and fits perfectly into Denver’s starting five. The former Arizona Wildcat will aim to fill Grant’s void, leading Denver back to another deep playoff run.

Alongside his defensive strengths, Gordon also aids the Nuggets on offense through his athleticism and solid three-point shooting. In the 25 games that Gordon played this season, he is currently shooting a respectable 37.5%, his best ever from behind the arch.

Gordon is still just 25 years old. Despite enjoying his best season from three-point territory, the forward is also enduring his best campaign as a facilitator, averaging 4.2 assists per game. Gordon still has time to continue evolving his game, which will be encouraged by the likes of All-Star Nikola Jokić.

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As mentioned, Gary Clark will also be joining Gordon in Denver.

Clark joins the Nuggets as an initial ‘extra piece’ to the trade. However, he will more than likely find himself out of Michael Malone’s rotation.

Regardless, it is another great trade by the Denver front office. Not only have the Nuggets acquired everything they need in Aaron Gordon, they have also managed to offload Gary Harris’ hefty contract. Harris served the Nuggets for just under seven years, but has seen his last few seasons riddled with injuries.

Dominant Denver

Alongside Chicago and Miami, Denver was one of the standout teams on Thursday’s Trade Deadline. The Nuggets’ front office did a great job in addressing the team’s defensive problems, whilst also providing experience and offloading Harris’ contract.

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About Ryan Bellenie

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