Dempsey's Deliveries: Chandler's Role, Nuggets in the Northwest, and Dempsey's Favorite Nugget.
Welcome to the post-draft and free agency edition of Dempsey’s Deliveries. In this set, I answer five questions. Keep them coming on Twitter, using the hashtag #DempseysDeliveries.
Q: Is there any chance we bring back Wilson Chandler? – Al G. via Twitter: @AIskiG.
A: Al G. - There is a 100 percent chance of that happening, chiefly because he is under contract for next season. In fact, Chandler has two more seasons left on his current contract, which expires after the 2018-19 season. I think it’s safe to say he’ll move into a starting role at small forward, given the departure of Danilo Gallinari to the L.A. Clippers. And as a starter, Chandler was good last season, averaging 16.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He started in 33 games. He also thrived playing alongside Nikola Jokić, and stands to get more of those kinds of minutes in the upcoming season. Chandler, who is now the longest-tenured Nugget on the roster, is very much in the Nuggets plans for 2017-18.
Q: Are the Wolves better than us? – The Finneser via Twitter: @gerdauz_.
A: Finneser - It is absolutely fair to count the Minnesota Timberwolves among the summer winners with what they were able to add to the team in free agency. They remade their backcourt with point guard Jeff Teague and shooting guard Jimmy Butler. They added power forward Taj Gibson as well, and those three players are expected to start alongside talented small forward Andrew Wiggins and 2016 Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns. For scoring off the bench, Minnesota signed three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner Jamal Crawford. So, on paper, this is a solid bunch of additions. However, there remain questions on where the shooting comes from in that starting lineup, will the Wolves score enough to survive in the Western Conference overall, and there remains the work of getting all of the new players in sync. I take this as a twofold question: First, can the Nuggets beat the Timberwolves? Yes. The Nuggets match up well in the starting five, and probably have more quality coming off the bench. Second, will the Nuggets finish higher than Minnesota in the standings? That answer is to be determined. If Minnesota averages, say 105 points per game, that might be enough to push them as high as the top five in the Western Conference, given that they figure to be better defensively due to a couple of players (Butler, Gibson) who know what coach Tom Thibodeau wants on that end. If they can’t score enough, then the Nuggets and a number of other teams are in prime position to finish better than them.
Q: Who’s your favorite Nugget of all time? – Wesley Erickson via Twitter: @RixonAddiction.
A: Wesley - This is a good question. There are so many. I grew up here in Denver in the 1980s and 90s. I love the Doug Moe Nuggets teams. So I’m going with Alex English. I always felt like he didn’t get the credit he deserved for being one of the best players in the league. He could score on anyone, and didn’t need to be overly athletic to do it. And he made the Nuggets bonafide contenders in the Western Conference – even if nationally, few wanted to recognize and admit that. He scored more points in the 80s than any other player. That’s a bonkers stat, when you think about it. For all of this and more, I’ll go with English.
Q: Who else do the Nuggets want to acquire in free agency/trade? – CJ via Twitter: @ChrisEspinoza78.
A: CJ - I’m not entirely clear at this point on what extra moves could or would be made. The Nuggets are one of the best organizations in the NBA at making sure their plans for roster adjustments are not easily figured out or made available. The front office has, however, talked at length about addressing roster imbalance, and those roster adjustments are still on-going. Perhaps there is some movement there with him in the next few weeks. Overall, however, there isn’t much information to be conveyed.
Q: We have promising young players, but do you think their growth will be stunted if we manage to sign a max-level player? – Travis Robert Sween via Twitter: @mr_magichands.
A: Travis – You asked this question right about the time the Nuggets had agreed to a big contract with Paul Millsap, but my answer is the same as before all of that: No. Because, to this point, the Nuggets have preserved all of playing time for their young players by not acquiring anyone who would steal minutes at their positions. As long as that remains the case, the continued uninterrupted growth of players like Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić will continue.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.