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Denver Nuggets Media Day Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Can Facu Campazzo irritate opponents offensively as much as he does defensively?

Facu enthralled the crowd with flashy passes and great defensive efforts. Now, can he adjust to modern NBA offenses?

Facu Campazzo 2020-21 per game statistics

Season Games Minutes Points Rebounds Assists FG% 3P%
Season Games Minutes Points Rebounds Assists FG% 3P%
Regular Season 65 21.9 6.1 2.1 3.6 38% 35.20%
Playoffs 10 27 9.3 3 4.1 39.20% 39.60%

Overview

At the age of 29, Facu Campazzo graced the NBA stage for the first time. His flashy passes, pesky defense, and big smile helped him become adored by the Nugget faithful but his game is anything but cute. He is known as a guy you love to have on your team but hate to play against because he is always in your space defensively and is physical for his size.

His impact isn’t measured by the box score, nor should it be. In fact, if you look at his numbers they are quite underwhelming for a guard but if there was a stat for energy and intensity he would be among the league leaders. Defensively, he has incredible technique paired with a strong will to prevent the opposition from getting by him. He gets under the skin of a lot of his opponents and if you watch a full Nuggets game, you will see Facu’s opponent jawing at him at some point.

The Nuggets needed a guy like Facu and every team needs a guy who is willing to do the dirty work with enthusiasm. His intangibles are in part what makes him a fan favorite, but the more physical aspects of his game are not his strengths. He’s not a great shooter nor a good finisher, and bigger opponents will find their way against him. In the NBA, he’s probably never going to be a guy you count on for 12 points a game, but if he can hit timely shots and play great defense, he will be executing his role.

Best Case

If Facu can make the defense think he is an offensive threat at any time during a possession that is a win. He has not provided Denver with consistent shooting so defenders don’t respect him as much right now, but that gives him the opportunity for some open looks this season. If he can make 2-3 threes a game on 5-6 attempts, defenders will have to start respecting him.

With a glass half full approach, you have to think Facu put in a lot of time working on his shot this offseason. With added practice and experience at the NBA level, Facu should increase his three-point percentage by a couple of points. The absolute best-case scenario is that he shoots 40% which would make him a near-elite threat but if he can hover around 38%, that will help Denver’s bench production tremendously.

The Nuggets' largest issue is the lack of production when Jokic steps off the floor. Facu will bring the defense every night, but he needs to provide some scoring off the bench to keep Denver afloat offensively. Since he is a professional basketball veteran, I do not foresee a sophomore slump for him. Instead, I see him jumping to around 38% from three and around 42% from the field.

Worst Case

The worst-case scenario would be if Facu’s production declines because he already has such a slim margin for error. His defense is a great value for this team but if he is a minus on the offensive end, it will be difficult to leave him in the game. As I said before, he needs to add some sense of an offensive threat to his game but as of now, he does not really have one. Facu has some games where he will hit three threes, but he misses a lot of layups and his outside shooting has been very inconsistent.

The defense will always be there for Facu because that’s his mentality but he can’t just will shots to go in. That’s more of a skill and he needs to develop that or some of Denver’s young guards will overtake him on the depth chart. If he regresses or even remains the same, Denver will continue to struggle off the bench.

This is an important season for Facu and one that might decide whether he is a fit on this team. Personally, I love Facu and the defensive mentality he brings but Denver is not much of a defensive team these days. They will have to keep pace offensively to beat opponents because they do not have a lot of defensive talent. If Facu can’t help this team keep pace then Malone will find someone else that will, so keep a steady eye on Facu’s offensive progression this year.

Bold Prediction

Facu presents his off-season work ethic by shooting 40% from three and floats around five assists a game. He becomes Denver’s most consistent bench piece.

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