The Denver Nuggets haven’t had the greatest of NBA off-seasons this summer. They have been able to add some complimentary pieces in guys like Nate Robinson, Randy Foye and J.J. Hickson, but they haven’t really added anything that makes up for losing their star guard, Andre Iguodala in free agency.
The Nuggets have now made another move in free agency; however, it’s another move that doesn’t really inspire much confidence. On Friday the Nuggets announced that they had re-signed Russian center and restricted free-agent Timofey Mozgov to a three-year, $14 million deal, per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.
With Kosta Koufos being dealt on the night of the 2013 NBA Draft and the likely possibility of Hickson seeing more time at power forward than center, the Nuggets were in need of a center to backup JaVale McGee. It appears that they decided to keep things in-house as they agreed with Mozgov.
Mozgov appeared in 41 games for Denver last season and averaged only 2.6 point, 2.6 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in just 8.9 minutes per game. In the 2011-2012 season, Mozgov played in 44 games, starting 35, and averaged just 5.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and one block in 15.6 minutes per game.
The only real NBA-level “skill” that Mozgov possesses is the fact that he’s 7’1” and has a good body. Other than that, he’s not a great instinctive rebounder, doesn’t have a great game around the rim, and isn’t a noteworthy defender either. In fact, he’s really best known for getting annihilated on the wrong end of Blake Griffin dunk.
It’s perfectly reasonable to bring Mozgov back as a backup center. He’s capable of playing limited minutes and not fouling up momentum or anything like that. However, for the type of player he is, the role he’s going to be playing, and the skill-set that he brings to the table, just under $5 million per year seems like a lot of money to be paying him.
Mozgov will likely see the floor more than he has in any of his previous three NBA seasons, but he probably won’t have a great impact on the box score. Ultimately, the Nuggets have had an underwhelming off-season that just continues to plateau at that level.