Denver Nuggets power forward Darrell Arthur can fill a huge defensive void for the squad in the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season. Arthur, who was selected 27th overall out of Kansas in the 2008 NBA draft by the now New Orleans Pelicans, saw his draft stock drop due to an alleged kidney issue. Well, it turned out his kidney was a non-issue causing many teams with higher draft picks to pass him up. Most recently with the Memphis Grizzlies, Darrell thrived as a pick and roll defender as well as being a rock solid and physical defender altogether. Standing 6-foot-9 and 235 pounds at the young age of 25, he will be the cornerstone for what the Nuggets want to accomplish defensively in the upcoming season. Denver acquired Arthur’s rights via a straight up trade with Memphis that sent the 7-foot and 265 pound power forward/center Kosta Koufos to the home of rhythm and blues. Alright, let’s not forget barbeque — Memphis is the home to some insane BBQ. Okay, I’m moving on to the point of my article.
Look at the numbers for both Arthur and Koufos from this past season: Darrell averaged 6.1 points per game and 2.9 rebounds per game compared to Kosta’s 8.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. So, if we go by sheer numbers, Koufos would stand out as the better player. However, sometimes you have to look beyond the numbers, especially in basketball. What these statistics don’t show you is Arthur’s tremendous impact on the defensive end of the floor. Darrell can change the dynamic and pace of a game due to his defensive fundamentals, physicality and effort. Most would agree with me by saying that defense in the NBA is all about effort.
Watching the Nuggets this past season, it would be hard to argue that their Achilles’ heel was a lack of defensive fundamentals, physicality and effort at times. Mr. Arthur will provide this Denver squad with these key components on defense in the 2013–14 NBA season. Secondarily, pick and roll defense killed the Nuggets this past season. If it wasn’t opposing point guards attacking the lane off the pick and roll, it was the screener getting easy looks at the basket down low and shooters stretching the floor from beyond the arc. These defensive half-court breakdowns must improve this year, and Darrell will be the key contributor and part of the solution.
The Denver Nuggets will have a much needed defensive addition to the team this season in Darrell Arthur.