Kenneth Faried was a beast. Ty Lawson was fantastic. Foye was draining threes. Chandler had a poster. The Nuggets put up 130 points on the Lakers and looked like an offensive juggernaut. If I had said all of this a year or two ago, you would have thought the Nuggets were gearing up for a playoff run against the hated Lakers who were also heading to the playoffs. What a difference a year makes...
Recently, I asked myself if the current makeup of the roster with everyone healthy could get to the second round of the playoffs? A resounding No. What if they added a stud in the lottery and I asked the same thing next year? Maybe. Past the second round? No. What if they had Kevin Love in exchange for Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and other non essential pieces? The probability goes up. No question.
Am I asking for Kevin Love? No. The premise is the same for Love, Al Horford, David West, Brook Lopez and any other possible big man to pair with Ty Lawson to take the next step. The last five champions - Miami, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, Los Angeles - Have frontcourt scorers to carry the load next to elite ball control guards and surrounded by three point shooters. The Nuggets have Lawson, an elite ball control guard, three point shooters in Gallo, Chandler, Foye, Fournier. The frontcourt scorer is where they are lacking right now. Kenneth Faried has developed a nice jump hook over his left shoulder. In a playoff setting, when the ball goes into the post for him, teams will overplay that move, and he has no counter move as of now. If he develops a counter move and some face up game, then maybe we have something. As of now though, he isn't on par with Dirk, Bosh or Gasol, nor will he ever have a trait they all have, height. I don't know if he will ever develop into a scorer that puts up 18-20 plus like those guys did on their championship runs (Bosh is the exception but we know he could). If management thinks he will, then more power to them and I guess I should trust him.
Why take that chance though when we have the assets to acquire a big time big man? Love is on his way out anyway, so maybe we can sway Minnesota with a package centered around Faried and Chandler plus picks? Horford was hurt all year for the Hawks, and they might think it's best to focus on Paul Millsap in the frontcourt anyway and acquire a defensive big man + offensive wing player. West is a tad trickier, but if Indiana is serious about keeping Lance Stephenson, then they will do whatever it takes to clear cap space, and it's safe to say Paul George and Roy Hibbert are safe. Lopez is a bit of a wildcard because the Nets are crazy, but if they want out of his contract because of his foot, then we could offer McGee, Hickson and others for Lopez. All of those guys are proven scorers on the block who also have range out to 18 feet (Horford and Lopez) or out at the 3 point line (Love and Millsap). Each player would be considered an upgrade offensively over Faried, and the best offensive player (Love) is the only one who is more lacking on defense. If it was up to me, I would be calling each of those teams and asking who they want outside of Ty Lawson and possibly Danilo Gallinari.
The point is, the Nuggets need an elite 4/5. They don't have one, and the quickest way to acquire a proven 4/5 is via trade. We have an elite draft pick in the upcoming draft, and if we don't think that anyone on the board will help us, then we could use the pick as trade bait. I know that if the 6th pick rolls around, and Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, Exum and Smart are all off the board, I can almost guarantee a trade will be made before the season starts. If we pick Tyler Ennis, then Nate Robinson or Randy Foye are likely to be traded. If it's Julius Randle or Noah Vonleh, then Faried, Hickson, Arthur and/or Randolph will be traded. Outside of those 8 players, no one else is worthy of being picked sixth as of now, so if I was Tim Connelly, I would call the Hawks up and ask them if they want a pick in the lottery plus Faried and Chandler for Horford and their pick. I would ask the Nets if they want a pick at all since theirs resides in Boston. I would make an offer of McGee, Hickson and the pick for Lopez and a future 1st. That would be great value and a way to condense the rotation while adding a proven scorer.
I'm merely speculating here, and all of this could be a moot point if Faried or McGee learn to post up well, as well as understand that fundamental defense is a part of the game too. I'm just playing the odds that they don't fully develop, and that making a trade for a top 4/5 is the best way to eventually win a championship. Hopefully we add a key cog in the draft, but if a team offers us something we can't refuse for an opportunity to jump into the lottery, I'm okay with it if it nets us one of those guys above. Or Lebron James. He would be okay too.
Leave your ideas below, but please no McGee for Lebron type atrocities of offers. I'm really curious if anyone else has a viable solution, the key being viable.