Return of Arthur, Robinson helps solidify Nuggets bench strength

by Aaron Lopez
Nuggets.com

With three-plus months remaining until the start of training camp, things are already starting to take shape for the Denver Nuggets.

Darrell Arthur and Nate Robinson became the latest roster pieces to fall into place this week when they both exercised their player options to return to Denver for the 2014-15 season.

The moves were expected, but important nonetheless, as the Nuggets construct their roster for next season.

Robinson was a catalyst off the bench during his first year in Denver, providing instant offense and energy before tearing the ACL in his left knee on Jan. 29. With Aaron Brooks set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, Robinson and Ty Lawson are the only point guards on Denver’s roster.

Coach Brian Shaw played Lawson and Robinson together at times in 2013-14. While the two are undersized defensively, they caused matchup problems with their speed in the open court and ability to penetrate and create for others.

Arthur, meanwhile, arrived in Denver last summer with a reputation as a versatile defender who could disrupt the pick-and-roll on the perimeter or hold his ground on the low post.

In addition to his defensive work, Arthur became a nice offensive option, averaging 5.9 points in 17.1 minutes per game. Always a solid mid-range shooter, Arthur extended his range, hitting 20 3-pointers in Denver’s final 17 games to give Shaw a nice “stretch 4” option in the half-court offense.

With Robinson on track to return from his knee injury, he and Arthur can be penciled in as key contributors off the bench, which was one of Denver’s biggest strengths before injuries depleted its depth last season.

Shaw began the season with philosophy that the starters could wear the opposition down and the reserves could “wear ‘em out.”

Now that Arthur and Robinson are back in the fold – along with returning rotation players Lawson, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Evan Fournier, Danilo Gallinari, J.J. Hickson, Randy Foye, JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov – that becomes a real possibility once again.

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