The Denver Nuggets are nowhere near where the team was last season. The franchise went through a complete makeover this offseason. Denver fired recent Coach of the Year George Karl and also lost their franchise player, Andre Igoudala, to free agency. So far, the 2013-14 season has been a bumpy one for the Nuggets. The team is out of the playoffs and has had three players undergo season-ending surgery due to injury.
Through it all, Denver’s bench has worked hard and their production is one of the only positives to take away from this season. On Sunday night, Denver’s bench was their key factor in their 105-102 victory against the Washington Wizards. In the win, Denver’s bench outscored Washington’s 52-28. The Nuggets received production from their entire bench and had three players in double-digits. Denver may only be 32-38, but their bench has recently come to life, lifting the franchise to 5-2 in their last seven games.
The defense coming off the bench was truly remarkable Sunday night. The Nuggets made Washington commit 24 turnovers and had 13 steals. Denver’s bench had nine out of their 13 steals. Denver fans should be excited about the future with this type of defensive performance. The Nuggets’ bench has proven itself to be reliable both offensively and defensively. When healthy, this team will be competing in the playoffs.
Darrell Arthur and Aaron Brooks have played extremely well off the bench for Denver. In the last five games, Arthur is averaging 11 points and and 3.8 rebounds in just about 18 minutes off the bench, while Brooks is averaging 10.4 points, 7.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds in just under 23 minutes. Both players are young and are near expiring contracts. The Nuggets should try to lock these guys up because they can provide a strong rotation for Denver in the future.
Sunday was not the first time Denver’s bench has produced. On March 15, the Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 111-107. Denver was able to take down the former champs thanks to key performances from their bench. In that game, the Nuggets’ bench outscored the Heat’s 57-40.
This has been an extremely tough season, plagued by injuries for the Nuggets. Without a doubt, Denver fans are disappointed, but one positive thing the Nuggets can take away this season is how well and reliable their bench has been.