Denver Nuggets position preview: Forwards

Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried headline group of athletic big men
by Aaron Lopez

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.

As training camp approaches on Oct. 1, we will take a quick glance at the outlook at the guard, forward and center positions.

Next up, the forwards.

Returning: Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Jordan Hamilton, Quincy Miller, Anthony Randolph.

Newcomers: Arthur, Hickson.

Super athletic and highly energetic.

That’s the best way to describe Denver’s impressive crew of forwards.

Training camp promises to be filled with competition as the big men work to prove themselves worthy of minutes under new coach Brian Shaw.

With Gallinari out indefinitely while recovering from a knee injury, Chandler is expected to get the first shot at small forward. Chandler was slowed by his recovery from hip surgery for the first half of 2012-13, but came on strong down the stretch. He is one of Denver’s best 3-point shooters and a versatile defender who is also comfortable playing near the rim.

Faried is the incumbent starter at power forward, but he will be pushed by fellow double-double machine Hickson.

Hickson was outstanding last season, despite playing out of position at center for the Portland Trail Blazers. He averaged 12.7 points and a career-best 10.4 rebounds while ranking seventh in the NBA with 40 double-doubles.

Faried posted career-highs in scoring and rebounding and finished with 31 double-doubles, including a 19-point, 19-rebound game on Jan. 9. He runs the floor as well as any big man in the league and goes full speed on every possession.

The same can be said of Arthur, who was acquired in a draft-night trade that sent center Kosta Koufos to Memphis. Arthur isn’t a high-volume scorer, but he sets solid screens and can knock down mid-range jump shots. Defensively, he rebounds well and is excellent covering the pick-and-roll.

Hamilton, Miller and Randolph were not part of the regular rotation in Denver last season but could emerge in 2013-14.

Hamilton is the best 3-point shooter of the group and can also be used as a shooting guard, while Randolph has a nice mid-range shot, runs the floor well and is an above-average shot blocker. Miller spent much of the summer working on his perimeter shot and improving his ball handling skills. At 6-foot-10, he could develop into a valuable “stretch 4” who can spot up beyond the 3-point line.

Like the guard position, the Nuggets are stocked with options at the forward spots. Distributing the minutes will be a challenge for Shaw, but it’s a problem that any coach would love to have.


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