Arthur, Arthur: Darrell becoming dangerous from deep

Denver Nuggets forward continues hot stretch against Washington
by Aaron Lopez

During his four seasons in Memphis, Darrell Arthur accepted his role as a pick-and-pop shooter who specialized from 15 to 18 feet.

Given more freedom to expand his range, Arthur has become a true “stretch 4” for the Denver Nuggets.

After making five 3-pointers during his time in Memphis, Arthur has more than doubled that total in a two-week stretch. He went 3-for-4 against the Washington Wizards on Sunday and is 11-for-17 from long range over the past seven games.

“This system is a little more spread out than Memphis,” Arthur said after Denver’s 105-102 victory over Washington. “In Memphis, I knew where I was going to get my shots. It was basically stretching out to the free-throw line extended. I never really stepped behind the (3-point) line like that.”

After joining the Nuggets in a draft-night trade last summer, Arthur started working more on his 3-point shot, but he still utilized it only sparingly during his first 50 games with Denver.

Before his recent binge, he was 4-for-12 on the season.

“I was working on it this summer, but I never really stepped behind there and shot those shots,” he said. “I’ve been feeling a little more comfortable. Guys are sagging off and I’m knocking them down.”

Arthur’s ability to hit the 3 does wonders for Denver point guards Ty Lawson and Aaron Brooks. With the defense having to respect the perimeter threat, Lawson and Brooks are able to use their quickness to get to the rim.

And because Arthur works diligently on his 3-point shot in practice, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw will continue to give him the green light to shoot it in games.

“He’s still catching teams off-guard,” Shaw said. “Teams are used to our power forwards always in the paint, so their instincts are to protect the paint. So when he goes in, we want him to find a rhythm behind the 3-point line.”

Arthur’s third 3-pointer of the game against Washington capped a 9-1 run that turned a one-point deficit into a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

The Wizards tried to rally late, but the Nuggets connected on 7-of-8 free throws in the final 60 seconds to secure their fifth straight home win.