With all the rain lately, our dusty old cow town has been a little less ... dusty. Speaking of dust, it's about time to throw the cover off our Nuggets car and take that bad boy out of a spin. The off-season is practically over and training camp is set to open in less than a month.
Aaron Lopez, from Nuggets.com, caught up with Brian Shaw and they tackled a few topics, including how Shaw will coach during games and his initial thoughts on what he starting lineup might look like. We'll focus on the lineup, so make sure to read the whole piece - here.
"If we started training camp tomorrow, the starting lineup would probably be Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee," Shaw said. "JaVale McGee has to be given an opportunity to show that he's a starting center in this league and can be a force on both ends.
"Faried, with his energy, has earned (the chance) to start, but there's competition. Darrell Arthur's a solid player. J.J. Hickson is a solid player that can play the 4 and 5. (Timofey) Mozgov, we have to give him a chance at backup center to show what he can do. All these guys are young. They have to develop. The only way they can develop is to get out there on the floor and get some experience playing."
As we've projected here on Stiffs, in our player rankings, Shaw's starting lineup offers little surprises.
SG: Randy Foye - his first season with the Nuggets after starting in 72 of 82 games for the Utah Jazz last season. A reliable veteran with above-average three point shooting. This should be Foye's job to lose with Evan Fournier and, perhaps, Jordan Hamilton pushing him for minutes.
SF: Wilson Chandler - he will get the chance to start with Danilo Gallinari rehabbing his ACL injury. Will he keep the job if he performs well? We will see. During his six NBA seasons he has started 213 of his 305 games, including 33 of his 72 games for the Nuggets.
PF: Kenneth Faried - he was the full time starter for Denver in all 80 of his games last season after starting 39 of his 46 games as a rookie. Hickson and Arthur will really challenge the Manimal and he could be great off the bench, but there is no reason why Faried shouldn't win the starting gig.
C: JaVale McGee - he has only started in five of his 99 games for Denver. McGee will be Shaw's biggest project.
How about the bench options?
Shaw also has two dependable guards in veterans Andre Miller and Nate Robinson, and he is intrigued to learn more about young players Evan Fournier, Jordan Hamilton, Quincy Miller and Anthony Randolph.
"Just trying to teach them how to play the game with a pure heart and play the game the right way," he said. "If you're true to the game, the game is going to be true to you. What you put into it is what you're going to get out of it.
The point guard conundrum created by the signing of Robinson poses some interesting issues for Shaw. It will be interesting to see if things get worked out via trade before the start of the season - Miller would be the candidate here - or if the Nuggets will enter the season with three quality point guards on the roster - who all require plenty of playing time.
I am not sure how much duel point guard lineups Shaw will employ, but that would one of the only ways to keep Miller and Robinson happy about their minutes if all three are on the roster this season. But with Lawson already being a bit undersized already, it would be hard to imagine a lineup featuring him and Robinson for extended time.
Many in Nuggets Nation have been hoping to see more of Fournier and it sounds like he'll have every chance to prove his worth, if he's working hard - as Shaw indicates with his quote above. It was a bit concerning that Evan didn't make the French National team, but hopefully he can use that to fuel his fire, even more.
Hamilton and Quincy should get ample time while Gallo is out, unless Arthur or Randolph prove they can play some minutes at small forward. The concern on Hamilton has been on the defensive end and Quincy has been working hard to improve his all-around game.
Fournier, Hamilton, and Quincy are all very young and haven't received much court time. The three must come through to give the Nuggets the dynamic bench they were able to turn to last season. Hickson, Arthur, Randolph, and Mozgov would be counted as the veteran big men - even though they are also all young.
We'll see how things shake out at camp, but it's nice to get a view of how Shaw is starting to see things.
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