We've looked at the Nuggets roster a few times this offseason, and it's time to revisit the roster with a look at the depth chart. Again, the Nuggets can carry up to 20 players in the offseason, but must trim the roster down to 15 players by opening night.

Point Guard:

1.) Emmanuel Mudiay: The Nuggets traded Ty Lawson to clear the way to hand the keys over to a rookie? I think so. We will likely see Mudiay start, and hopefully coach Michael Malone will be willing to live with some growing pains. There are many great debates about how to develop talent, but no real proven way. So, if Mudiay starts from the jump, that's great. If he begins the season coming off the bench, that's fine too. But expect Mudiay to be given every opportunity to start the season as the team's top point guard.

2.) Jameer Nelson: He turns 34 years-old in February, but still showed plenty of game last season. Perhaps Nelson wasn't given the opportunity to stay on in Orlando with the drafting of Elfrid Payton, but when he left to join the Dallas Mavericks, it appeared he wasn't ready to give up his starter status in the league. But Nelson appears to be ready to mentor Mudiay, and he will be able to teach the talented rookie plenty. But Nelson will also log important minutes for the Nuggets under Malone.

3.) Erick Green: His contract is now partially guaranteed for $845K as the Aug. 1st deadline has come and gone for his deal. Green is now guaranteed $100,000 until Jan. 10, 2016 and after that it becomes fully guaranteed for the season. So, there's still a chance Green isn't on this roster come opening night, it'll cost Denver $100K to waive him, but it may be an option depending on how a few roster spots shake out. Green has shown growth in his game since his true rookie season where he played in Italy, to last season, and he looks even more comfortable on the floor heading into his second NBA season. He can play some point guard, and is good off the ball, too. He thrives in the mid-range game, and will have to impress in camp to make the team as the third point guard.

Shooting Guard:

1.) Randy Foye: It's likely Foye's job to lose, but he could be the opening night starter that provides spacing next to Mudiay. Foye is the most proven shooting guard on the roster, but there's no guarantee that he'll start for Denver. Foye also can run a little point guard, and his utility-ness (new word?) could appeal to Malone.

2.) Will Barton: During a Q&A on Twitter, Barton said he wants to be in the running for sixth man of the year; meaning he's fine coming off the bench. The perfect change of pace guy, Barton injects energy into the game when he's on the floor and it'll be interesting to watch how he develops under Malone.

3.) Gary Harris: His second season should go better than his rookie campaign where he never really had a defined role under Brian Shaw. Harris played in just 55 games last season, and only averaged 13 minutes per contest. Foye's presence might harm Harris' production from a minutes standpoint, and Denver must decide if they want to develop Harris or continue to play the veteran Foye. The Nuggets have a little time with Harris, as he's just 20 years-old, but if the team was ready to hand the keys to Mudiay, they should be ready to do the same with Harris and see where it goes.

4.) Nick Johnson: The athletic guard can play both positions, and that should help his case for making the team. At just 6'3", Johnson fits into the theme of undersized shooting guards for the Nuggets, not a great thing. It'll be interesting to see where the Nuggets envision Johnson playing: point or off-ball. He'll be 23 years-old come December, and entering his second NBA season.

Small Forward:

1.) Danilo Gallinari: Fresh off a newly signed contract, Gallo looks to be the starting small forward for the Nuggets. Brian Shaw didn't seem to emphasis Gallo's role with the team, as he was working his way back from an ACL injury and then a meniscus tear. Let's hope that Gallinari catches a nice wave of health and can get back to being the player that we all expect him to be.

2.) Wilson Chandler: He also received a contract extension this summer, and won't be headed into a contract season with the team. Like Gallo, Chandler is another player the franchise tabbed to build around. Chandler and Gallo play well together, and I wonder if Malone will realize that and play them on the floor together, or how he'll handle his lineups. Whatever the case, Chandler is a great option off the bench, and provides the team with good two-way play.

3.) Kostas Papanikolaou: His contract becomes fully guaranteed on Oct. 4th for $4.7 million. While Papa's contract is good trade bait, he can also play a little bit, and is just 24 years-old. As we get into the small forward and power forward spots, the prospect for minutes becomes scarce. If Denver keeps Papa, where will they play him and how will they develop him? He played some power forward with the Rockets, but he's better suited for the three. With three guys at small forward who can play the power position in smaller ball lineups, the ability to play small and space the floor is there, but will Malone and the front office take advantage of it? Could it be an advantage for the Nuggets? In almost any scenario, I'd like to see the Nuggets keep Papa and make room for him on the roster.

Power Forward:

1.) Kenneth Faried: Best guess is that this is Faried's job to lose. When you only win 30 games, there shouldn't be a guarantee of anything, so it'll be interesting to see how Malone approaches the Manimal. If Denver goes with Faried and Jusuf Nurkic, the spacing won't be as great for Mudiay to operate, but that may not be the be-all-end-all. Faried told Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post, that he plans to focus on the defensive end, and set some lofty expectations for himself, too. If he can re-dedicate himself to learning Malone's defense, he could be a key player for the team moving forward. I tend to want to see Faried come off the bench in favor of putting Gallo and Chandler into the starting lineup, but we'll have to wait and see what Malone does.

2.) Darrell Arthur (unrestricted free agent): DArth has yet to sign with the Nuggets, but reports have it that he is nearing a return. Arthur is still pretty young, he turns 28 years-old in March, and offers the best pick-and-roll defense on the team, and give the defense a different element than Faried, as far as being able to step out and hit a jumper. Arthur and Faried's presence on the roster make it difficult for anyone else to see minutes at the power spot.

3.) J.J. Hickson: Entering the final year of his deal, the Nuggets could look to move Hickson before the season starts. It's actually everyone's favorite move, but there hasn't been much in the rumor mill on him. The book is out on Hickson, he can get you points and rebounds, but will cost you on the defensive end. Denver owes him $5.6 million this season, and if the final roster spots came down to Hickson or Papanikolaou, I'd prefer to see the team roll with Papa, and buyout Hickson. If the plan is to use Hickson as an undersized center again this season, just … no thanks.

4.) Joffrey Lauvergne: The Frenchmen needs time on the floor. Malone might be able to play him at center, but he's a bit undersized there, but his strength is on point. He has shown a desire to be a three-point shooter, but the results have been mixed in his infancy in the NBA. Lauvergne is an exciting prospect because he does a lot of dirty work, and is a bit of a throwback player – as far as his willingness to fight under the glass. Malone will have his hands full finding Joffrey minutes this season.

5.) Nikola Jokic: He's not quite ready to handle big time minutes for the Nuggets, but Jokic can play, and he should. Denver can afford to be the most patient with Jokic next season, and if some position battles cost him minutes, that's okay, for now. But the Nuggets will want to see how Jokic handles himself against his peers, and hopefully he doesn't get completely buried on the bench as a rookie.

6.) Joey Dorsey: Owed just over $1 million headed into the season, it's likely that the 31 year-old journeyman gets waived by the team. Reports already have him looking for a new club overseas, but we'll have to wait for official word from the team. It seems like a safe bet that he will not be on the roster come opening night.


1.) Jusuf Nurkic: Rehabbing from his patella tear, Nurkic has been working hard in Denver this summer. The big man looked pretty lean when we saw him on draft night, and while he's got to be frustrated to be rehabbing instead of working on his game, it's important that he comes along as his body allows. No need to rush anything, let's just make sure he's healthy when he gets back on the floor. He might be the team's only true center when the season begins, so there could be a lot of quirky lineups from Malone, when Nurkic is on the bench.


Of the 17 players listed above, two will have to be traded/cut/waived before the start of the season to get the roster down to 15 players. The obvious moves will be the team deciding between two of the following guys: Erick Green, Randy Foye, Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, J.J. Hickson, and Joey Dorsey. Eliminate Dorsey and the team must decide between: Green, Foye, Johnson, Papa, and Hickson. Foye and Hickson are the two guys that don’t totally match where the team is headed, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make the final roster. But count me among those who want to see Green, Johnson, and Papa retained. It’s always smart to keep young assets who still have room to grow, and those three all fit the bill.