The Denver Nuggets haven’t had a lot to celebrate to start the 2013-14 NBA season. Though they have a 3-4 record, which certainly isn’t as bad as it could be, they have looked like one of the most uncomfortable teams in the entire league in terms of how they mesh with the system that is in place.
I’ve talked before on how Brian Shaw’s system seems incredibly forced with this Nuggets team. Shaw is wanting them to run a more conventional offense as opposed to the high-speed, get-out-in-transition-and-attack-the-rim offense that they played under George Karl last season and had a ton of success with. As a result of that and other factors, the Nuggets’ offense has struggled mightily to start the year.
On Wednesday night, though, the Nuggets earned their third win of the season and put up 111 points on the Los Angeles Lakers. Obviously it was against the Lakers who aren’t exactly rock solid on that end of the floor, but there was a key addition to the Nuggets in that game that really opened things up: Wilson Chandler.
Nursing a hamstring injury prior to this game, Chandler made his season debut on Wednesday. He saw the floor for 21 minutes and finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals on 4-11 shooting and 4-7 three-point shooting. He wasn’t beyond-belief in his time on the floor, but he helped the team offense as a whole.
In Shaw’s system, Chandler is actually a big part. In the halfcourt, Chandler’s ability to shoot from the outside as well as attack with cuts or off of the dribble really opens up things for his teammates. As a result, his teammates are able to run the new system more effectively, which makes his return hugely impactful for this team.
The Nuggets still have their issues as they are still without Danilo Gallinari and now JaVale McGee, but Chandler being back in the lineup is huge for them. As he gets back to full health and back in a rhythm, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Denver start to have a bit more success than they have early on.