Denver Nuggets position preview: Guards
Coach Brian Shaw will have experienced backcourt to lean upon
With the additions of guards Randy Foye and Nate Robinson and forwards Darrell Arthur and J.J. Hickson, the Denver Nuggets are once again one of the deepest teams in the NBA heading into the 2013-14 season.
First up, the backcourt.
Returning guards: Evan Fournier, Ty Lawson, Andre Miller.
Newcomers: Foye, Robinson.
Nowhere on their roster are the Nuggets more experienced than at the guard position.
Miler is one of eight players in NBA history with at least 15,000 points and 7,500 assists, and he remains one of the game’s best passers as he enters his 15th NBA season. Robinson brings eight years of experience after a strong playoff run with the Chicago Bulls, while Foye set a career-high by making a Utah franchise-record 178 3-pointers in his seventh NBA season.
Lawson, 25, and Fournier, 20, are the youngsters in the group. Lawson set career highs in nearly every statistical category last season (his second as a full-time starter), and Fournier came on strong near the end of his rookie year in 2012-13.
Lawson is the clear-cut starter at the point, with Foye expected to get the first opportunity at shooting guard. The combination could be similar to when Lawson played alongside Arron Afflalo in 2011-12. Like Afflalo, Foye is a solid perimeter defender, but he was brought in primarily to help Denver improve upon a 3-point field-goal percentage that ranked 25th in the NBA.
As reserve floor leaders go, Miller and Robinson are two of the best. Miller continues to make everyone around him better with his court vision and timely scoring, while Robinson changes the pace with his speed, energy and 3-point shooting ability.
That leaves Fournier, who plays with maturity beyond his years. With a nice outside shot and above-average playmaking skills, he can play either guard position and will be ready in case of injuries to the more experienced guys ahead of him.
It will be interesting to see how first-year coach Brian Shaw utilizes his guards. Former coach George Karl frequently employed three-guard lineups during his nine seasons in Denver, and Shaw could do the same depending on matchups.
If there’s one concern, it’s the lack of size defensively. At 6-foot-6, Fournier is the tallest member of the backcourt, but Lawson, 5-11, and Robinson, 5-9, compensate with their tremendous quickness.
Shaw will have the luxury of seven preseason games to tinker with his backcourt combinations and see what works best at both ends of the floor.
All in all, the ball will be in very good hands with the guards that Shaw has at his disposal.