The Denver Nuggets made it appear that they could not live without shooting guard Arron Afflalo and big man Nene last year coming out of the lockout. The two veteran Nuggets were the organization’s top priority to re-sign heading into last year’s training camp. Nene did not make it through the end of the shortened season without being traded. Afflalo may join his former teammate as an ex-Nugget if he does not excel this year.
Afflalo signed a five-year, 43-million dollar contract last season with the Nuggets. Through the previous two seasons he had shown strong defensive abilities and scoring potential. As Carmelo Anthony made his escape to the New York Knicks, Afflalo hit a game winning shot against the Dallas Mavericks, suggesting he could be a clutch player in the future. Afflalo also fit into George Karl’s system and is among his favorite players of all time.
Afflalo missed most of training camp last year and did not appear to be mentally prepared heading into the shortened season. He improved and was a big reason for the Nuggets success down the stretch. While Afflalo’s potential has seemingly gone down, with a full season he could become the player the Nuggets were hoping would arrive last year.
If Afflalo does not develop early in the season, the Nuggets have shown that no one is safe. Denver believes that Jordan Hamilton, a second year shooting guard from Texas, could become a great player in the league. Afflalo has to show that he brings more to the Nuggets than Hamilton to avoid a trade. Players that will also see time at the two guard for the Nuggets include Andre Miller in a package with Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer and perhaps rookie Frenchman Evan Fornier.