The Denver Nuggets experienced a tough losses at two different moments over the summer. Because of that fact, 2013-2014 will be much different on defense — specifically on the perimeter.
The first loss came when Andre Iguodala joined the Golden State Warriors. Iguodala was one of those guys that wasn’t necessarily going to be an offensive juggernaut, but could hold his own when push came to shove. However, on the defensive side of the ball, he was probably the Nuggets’ top perimeter defender — likely even their top defender overall.
Iguodala was a guy that Denver could count on to guard players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Now, they’ll have to look to that of either Wilson Chandler or Danilo Gallinari, both of whom are offensive-minded first — yikes.
Secondly, and probably one of the more underrated losses of the offseason around the league, was that of Corey Brewer reuniting with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Aside from Iguodala, Brewer was their second-best perimeter defender. That’s what he specialized in. He hounded opposing wings night in and night out, not needing to necessarily be a force on offense.
The Nuggets have plenty of firepower offensively, and can still score in the paint like nobody’s business. But, their best defense now lies in the paint. Not only will Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee be counted on to score the ball in the post, but to protect it as they could very well be the Nuggets’ best defenders in terms of guys getting the most playing time.
This will be a different year for Denver. They’re going to have to find their identity defensively without their top two defenders from a year ago. Who will step up? We’ll have to wait and see.