5 Denver Nuggets Who Will Benefit From Andre Iguodala’s Departure
Players Who Will Benefit Without Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala has decided to leave the Denver Nuggets after one season and join the Golden State Warriors for four years and $48 million. Many can only see the negatives of losing Iguodala for the Nuggets. However, there are many other things at play here. The Nuggets did not want to mortgage their future by signing Iggy to a large contract that he may or may not have been worth. Denver is protecting not only their financial flexibility in the future and in the short-term by letting Iguodala walk to the Warriors, they are also protecting the future of their young, developing talent.
When the Nuggets chose to fire George Karl and hire Brian Shaw as their coach, they decided to take the franchise in another direction. This would be a direction that they had longed to take, but Karl was insubordinate to management's wishes and that is why Shaw is the perfect choice for what Denver is trying to do. The Nuggets want to see what they have in their young players and allow them to flourish into the stars that Josh Kroenke believes them to be.
Iguodala's departure will give Shaw more flexibility in developing these young players to their full potential because he now has more minutes to dole out to deserving players than he would if Iggy decided to stick around. This also will help the Nuggets with the free throw and three-point shooting woes that they experienced in the 2012-13 NBA season. The positives are there if you are willing to look at the situation with a glass half full mentality.
Here are five players that stand to benefit from Iguodala's choice to depart for the Bay Area.
Jordan Hamilton was predicted to have a breakout season in 2012-13. That did not happen largely because the bulk of the minutes at shooting guard were taken by Iguodala. Hamilton looks to get back on track in 2013-14 and should flourish under Shaw's leadership.
Wilson Chandler should be the starting small forward for the Nuggets to start the season while Danilo Gallinari recovers from a knee injury. If Denver had retained Iguodala, his minutes would likely have dwindled after Gallo's return. Now that Iggy has bolted, Chandler should see a featured role in the lineup all season long.
Denver made re-signing Iguodala their number one free agency priority. This signaled to most that Corey Brewer's days in Denver were done. Now that Iguodala is Bay Area-bound, it looks as though the Nuggets might choose to bring back the defensive-minded swingman. This could also mean more minutes for Brewer.
Perhaps no player will benefit more from Iguodala's exit then Evan Fournier. As a rookie last season, Fournier saw very limited minutes throughout the first three quarters of the season due to George Karl's disdain for rookies. Once Gallinari went down with a season-ending knee injury, Fournier was inserted into the lineup, at times even as a starter.
With Iguodala out of the picture, Fournier is the projected starter at shooting guard. This bodes well for the 20-year-old Frenchman as does working with Shaw on his development. Fournier could be a star in the making.
Ty Lawson is the most tenured player on the Denver Nuggets and should be looked at as the undisputed leader of this team now that Iguodala is out of the picture. While Lawson and Iggy formed a formidable backcourt, there was always a sense that Lawson felt like his role as a leader was in doubt with Iguodala around. Now, there is no question that Lawson will lead this Nuggets team to success.
Expect Lawson to play with a chip on his shoulder after Iguodala essentially said with his choice that Steph Curry is a better guard than Lawson. The former North Carolina Tarheel wants to be considered an elite point guard in the NBA and he could very well prove to be that this season.
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