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Then and now, a look at the new Nuggets improvement

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Yep, this guy plays for the Nuggets.


Today I will be dissecting the pre-draft pro's and con's  of each new Nugget acquisition, and see how they have came along since being members of the Denver Nuggets.   Since each player is young, with Raymond Felton being the oldest of the group at the age of 26,  I think that that each player still has upswing, and I just wanted to give my take on how far they have improved up to this point and what they still need to work on to become even better.  I will be using the scouting reports of the very reliable and very useful website www.DraftExpress.com  which gives a vast array of insight on players just before the NBA draft comes along.  Most of the opinions are objective and are very accurate from my experiences, so check it out sometime.   I won't look at Felton though because I think he is about as polished as he will get at this point.

 

 

So,  shall we Jump?

 

Welcome to those who dared to take the jump, where Wilson Chandler's voice box is worth a large sum.  Where Danilo Gallinari is a rooster, and Mozgov is a God.   No but really this is just a pretty objective piece so work with me, this might be a long read.  Also if any New York Knicks fans want to give insight, it would be very much appreciated.

 

1. Wilson Chandler- Age 23 - Height 6'8 - Weight 210 lbs - Drafted 1st round, 23rd pick - College Depaul

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Draft Express-

Overview:A physical specimen of a combo forward. Possesses a great frame, long arms and freakish athleticism. Very young, but seems to be making great progress considering where he was picked in the draft. Given plenty of playing time very early on to aid his development. Somewhat of a limited offensive player, primarily a spot-up shooter and off-ball role player. Not an efficient option offensively just yet, but can come up with some big scoring nights from time to time. A little bit stuck between the 3 and the 4 offensively, due to inability to create own shot or knock down long-range jumpers consistently. Very versatile defensively, and shows great potential on this end of the floor. Still has to find his bread and butter in the NBA, as well as mature, gain experience and become a more polished all-around player. Played just two seasons at DePaul, deciding to leave before making much of an impact at the collegiate level. Received a late first-round promise very early on in the draft process from Isiah Thomas—who knew him thanks to mutual acquaintances in Michigan-- and thus refused workouts with every NBA team.

 

Offense: Capable of putting up scoring numbers, but has yet to learn how to do so efficiently early on in his career. Relies extremely heavily on his jump-shot as his main source of production, but is not very consistent from beyond the arc just yet. Very solid from mid-range on the catch and shoot, but is extremely streaky from 3-point range and struggles pulling up off the dribble. Cannot create his own shot off the dribble, possesses a quick first step, but is a poor ball-handler, particularly with his left hand, and cannot change directions on his way to the basket. Does not get to the free throw line much at all. Terrific in the open floor, and is a fantastic finisher around the basket if he has space to operate. A good fit in Mike D’Antoni’s offense for that reason, especially if he can improve his perimeter jumper. Shows potential in that regard from time to time, but shot-selection and consistency still leave a lot to be desired. Decent passer and not too turnover prone. Would be wise to develop a back to the basket game, in order to take advantage of mismatches at the SF position.

Defense: Has phenomenal tools on this end of the floor, and is already used in a multitude of ways by Mike D’Antoni for this reason. Shows great potential as a one on one perimeter defender. Guards virtually every position from 1-4, can switch on screens with ease, and is quick enough to stay in front of almost all perimeter players. Terrific combination of wingspan and lateral quickness gives him the ability to sag off his matchup and tempt him to settle for long pull-up jumpers, being just long enough to still close out and get a hand in his face once he does. Seems to lose focus from time to time, getting out of his stance, showing poor awareness off the ball, and not always showing the same intensity. Teams like to post him up inside when presented with the opportunity to do so, and he struggles denying space in the paint and not being backed down. Could still stand to get tougher on this end of the floor, as well as add weight to his very promising frame. A good, but not great rebounder at the forward spot.

the biggest knock against Chandler has always been his tendency to coast through games and not assert himself. He’s an extremely reserved, quiet person off the court, and this unsurprisingly lends itself perfectly onto the basketball court as well.

Continuing with his perimeter skills, we find Chandler’s biggest weakness—his ball-handling. Chandler is a poor ball-handler right now any way you slice it, looking out of control trying to create his own shot and make his way all the way to the rim. He lacks complete control of the ball and therefore is slowed down by it substantially, which nullifies what would otherwise be a fantastic first step. With a clear path to the rim, he can take a long stride or two and come up with a highlight reel caliber finish, but anything more advanced than that—particularly with his left hand—is out of his repertoire for the most part.

My input-  Chandler still has problems with his dribbling abilities, as we have seen from yesterday's game in Atlanta, 5 turnovers and 3 were travels.  I think his athletic ability has improved since joining the league, and he works well within a system that hide's his obvious flaws of dribbling ability, especially that of Karl's, which is very efficent with the basketball, George Karl preaches for as few dribbles down the court as possible running down the court, and since Chandler is an excellent shooter,  he does not need to dribble the ball that much, most of his points in Colorado have came from Felton finding him in the corner, or driving it to a few feet out of the low post and taking a jumper he makes most of the time.  He also is good at spot up shooting from the wing.   I think that with two point guards who love to play the open court, he will benefit greatly rather than playing in a slow downed half court game.   So far he has shown incredible grit in every aspect of defense,  he has blocked very well, and his man to man defense is very handy in guarding almost every position except center, making it safer for Karl to play Lawson and Felton at the same time in burst's.  His turnover's have been bad though as he has averaged around 3 turnovers a game, that won't cut it against better teams.

He should benefit from his lack of getting to the line with George Karl, who preaches taking it to the rim and drawing fouls early and often, and I think this system fit's his style of play more than D'Antoni's.  He is 16-32 from 3 point land since joining the Nuggets.  I think that this is possibly the best system for him,  great fit for the Nuggets,  he reminds me a bit of Arron Afflalo in terms of his demeanor and poor handling abilities, though AAA has gotten much better at dribbling this year, so I expect Chandler to improve in that area if he stays with the Nuggets.

2. Danilo Gallinari -  Age 22 - Height 6'10 - Drafted Round 1 pick 6 -

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Draft Express-  His page goes much more in depth than Chandler's, so if you fancy a read,

Click here.

Strengths: Long and crafty player who has a knack for scoring Has become a very consistent shooter and can light it up from deep He is able to make shots in a variety of ways: contested, off the dribble (both ways), stepbacks, fadeaways Put together an impressive season in one of the top European leagues and has shown that he can carry the load as the primary scorer Is very mature for his age, plays with great confidence and composure Has an awkward 2 step (he is able to alter his speed and change direction once he picks up his dribble) going to the basket, allowing him to get by people and finish around the basket Shows patience when making moves, getting his defender off balance with a variety of fakes and jabs Knows how to draw contact and sell the foul to the refs When a defender cuts off his angle to the basket, he has a very effective up & under that he utilizes even out to 15 feet Anticipates well and uses his length to disrupt the passing lanes Has developed a scorers mentality, but there are obvious glimpses where he shows a good feel for the game and ability to find open teammates

Weaknesses: A high level European player does not always equal a contributor in the NBA His body has ways to go before it will be on the NBA level Athleticism and explosiveness are just average Struggles dribbling the ball against physical defenders which hurts even more considering his blow by ability is limited His secondary moves off the dribble are subpar and he is often forced to shoot difficult and offbalance shots Tends to dribble the ball high and even looks down on it as he is attacking, hurting his court vision and decision making Has minimal elevation on his jumpshot, he is more of a set shooter and his release is very robotic and lacks fluidness His legs are stiff which makes his movements seem a bit awkward and it takes away from his quickness While he has good height, he is strictly a perimeter player as he has minimal back to the basket moves and his weak frame also makes him a non threat in the post His rebounding numbers are only decent, for a player at his position, getting major minutes, they should be higher Defensively he is a liability; he gambles too much, plays with his hands down and is undisciplined Marginal foot speed and a weak body will leave his opponents salivating in excitement to abuse the mismatch

Notes: Basketball is in his blood, as his father is a former player and old teammate of current Knicks Head Coach Mike DAntoni

My input- Some might say D'Antoni's decision to draft Gallo is neoism at it's finest, but  it might not of been a bad pick at all.   Gallo posses from my viewing experiences more intangibles than any player his age,  he has a leadership ability in him that is rare amongst players his age. In the tiny sample size we have got from him,  he has posted a game where he only put up 2 points yet still had a good game in every other area of the game, and his almost heroic game in Portland showed a glimpse of a true all-star.  Unlike Wilson Chandler,  Gallo has a leadership ability to him that is hard to describe, and it is hard to predict what kind of player he will become.  I think his weakness's in this scouting report have been patched up this year, as he has gotten to the foul line much more than previous years, and is shooting near 90% from the line.   I think he also benefits well in George Karl's system, as his herky jerky driving fits well with the running style of this team.  I think his gambling in the passing lanes might really hurt or really benefit him in George Karl's defense which involves many steals.  He has the frame and height and shooting ability of Kevin Durant,  he shows glimpses of very well passing at the top of the key passing in a Hedo Turkoglu style, some compare him to Dirk and George has compared him to Detlef Schrempf, who was a very good player, but I still think Gallo has more upswing than that, then again if he turns out like Detlef, I won't complain.

So I really think if someone on this team can rise up and be the guy to average 22-24 a game, it will be him, I don't think this team needs anyone averaging more than 22 a night with a team of so much depth, but I think you need "That guy" to get you 20 a night,  in a Brandon Roy (before injuries) kind of way,  just carry the team with a bunch of depth on your shoulders, but don't force it, I can see Gallo being our Roy in a way.

 

Since I haven't since enough of Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos to make any kind of assessment,  I will just link you to their pages, and Mozgov does not seem as promising as I once thought he was reading through his page.

http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Timofey-Mozgov-5161/

 

Kosta was touted as one of the best big men before entering college, but he has since fallen off the face of earth,  still he is only 21.

 

http://www.nbadraft.net/players/kosta-koufos

 

So read up these players if you want,  it should help you better understand them better and get more familiar with them, I have come full circle since the trade first happened.

 

 

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