Last season on NBA TV's The Association: Denver Nuggets George Karl was quoted saying, "Everybody says you're gonna have three superstars on three or four teams. Well, I'm not sure Denver's gonna be one of those teams. So why should we build on that philosophy? My philosophy is why don't we get a top-10 player at every position and have a top-10 bench?"
Well, Andrew Feinstein and I decided to take a look at the Nuggets core of Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, and JaVale McGee and see how the team is developing in terms of having top-10 players at each position.
We'll start with the guy most people point to as being the Nuggets' best player - Ty Lawson.
Andrew and I will give you our rankings of the Nuggets core in regards to where they stack up with their NBA counterparts. We won't be ranking every player at every position, just until we get to our Nuggets player and a few guys after to give you a little perspective. You'll also get our take as to why we have the player ranked where we do. Let's begin ...
NBA Point Guards:
|1.)||Chris Paul||Derrick Rose|
|2.)||Deron Williams||Chris Paul|
|3.)||Derrick Rose||Deron Williams|
|4.)||Rajon Rondo||Rajon Rondo|
|5.)||Russell Westbrook||Tony Parker|
|6.)||Tony Parker||Russell Westbrook|
|7.)||Steve Nash||Steve Nash|
|8.)||Stephen Curry||Ty Lawson|
|9.)||Ty Lawson||Kyle Lowry|
|10.)||Kyrie Irving||Kyrie Irving|
|11.)||Ricky Rubio||Jrue Holiday|
|12.)||John Wall||Michael Conley|
|13.)||Brandon Jennings||George Hill|
|14.)||Michael Conley||Darren Collison|
|15.)||Darren Collison||Brandon Jennings|
Andrew's take: Lawson falls into the bottom of the "Top 10" mix alongside Curry, Irving, John Wall, Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings. Some might be surprised to see me rank Nash 7th given his age, but I'd take one season of Steve Nash over just about anyone on this list sans the top 4 players mentioned. Lawson still has big upside, but anyone who thinks Lawson is currently a Top 5 point guard is kidding themselves and Irving (and possibly Rubio) will likely prove to be a better point guard than Lawson in a year or two.
Nate's take: After the top-3 of Rose, Paul, and Williams (no matter what order you have them ranked), the rest of the guys on the list are very debatable. There is room for Lawson to grow and move up, but he also faces a ton of competition. But any way you slice it, Lawson is in the conversation of a top-10 point guard and looking to move into the upper echelon this season. Lots of folks will argue you are not a top player until you make an All-Star game; and Lawson has a real battle on his hands as there. I have four guys ranked ahead of him who are also in the Western Conference in Paul, Westbrook, Parker and Nash. If Lawson plays the way he's capable of, he could be the third point guard for the All-Star team, meaning he'd beat out Westbrook and Parker -- no easy task.
Both Andrew and I have Lawson ranked inside the top-10 for NBA point guards. Mission accomplished by Lawson, Karl, and to an extent (with a soon to be extension) Masai Ujiri. Not bad for a guy taken with the 18th pick of the 2009 draft ... and Lawson was also the seventh point guard taken in his draft (counting Tyreke Evans).
At noon today, we'll take a look at NBA centers ... you can follow our rankings on Twitter with the hashtag #NuggetsRankings
Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nate_Timmons