2017-18 Nuggets Player Breakdown: Darrell Arthur

Darrell Arthur’s evolution from leading solely – or mostly – by example, to finding more instances to be vocal, started in earnest last summer.

That was when Arthur, the veteran Nuggets forward, dipped his toe into the world of coaching, hanging around the Nuggets summer league, giving pointers to the young players and getting a clearer view of what it might be like to coach. As it turned out, Arthur would put a lot of that to practice during the 2017-18 season – and excel in the role.

A glut of forwards on the roster suppressed Arthur’s playing time on the court. He appeared in 19 games. But he stood out in his worth in the locker room. And that quickly earned the respect of Nuggets coach Michael Malone.

“He’s putting the team above everything, above himself, which, when we talk about our culture — our work culture, a trust culture, and a selfless culture — he embodies being selfless,” said Malone during the season. “He is putting everybody else above his own personal wants and needs which you have to admire and respect. I think, even though he’s not impacting us on the court… his impact off the court, in the locker room, and in the practice court is tremendous.”

And when he was on the court, Arthur flashed the reliable jump shot and steady defense that has become his calling card. In pick-and-roll situations, the majority of which Arthur popped out for a jump shot, he averaged 1.333 points per possession and shot 63 percent. The best example of that was his 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting overall – 2-of-3 from the 3-point line – in a Nuggets’ win over Charlotte on Feb. 5 at the Pepsi Center. He added two steals in that contest.

But it was his work in pregame 3-on-3 contests, which helped keep teammates ready to play, plus his advice and general support that were his most important contributions.

“What really separates him, I think, is that the players have so much respect for Darrell Arthur,” Malone said. “Because every single day whether it’s a (practice) day…when we are not doing a lot or days when we are going hard, he goes 110 percent. So when he does speak, players listen to him, because he is doing it.

“There are guys that are telling you what to do, but they are not doing it themselves. (Arthur) sets the example first and foremost, and then he gets on guys – whether it’s to hold them accountable or to encourage them. With all our young players, they listen to him. His voice carries weight and I think it really starts with the fact that he sets the example every single day and that’s why the players respect him so much.”

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.