Wilson Chandler Working Toward Full Comfort as Starting Small Forward

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider

Admittedly, the adjustment is a bit more challenging than he originally thought. Wilson Chandler has two new layers to sort out this season. First, he is beginning his first season as the fulltime starter at small forward. Second, he’s doing so while figuring out how to navigate the court with Paul Millsap out there as well.

“I’m just trying to find my way with all of the new guys, and stuff like that,” Chandler said. “Just getting a feel for it. A little bit of spacing, knowing where guys like to be on the floor, stuff like that.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone has repeatedly said he’ll help that process with plays called specifically for Chandler to ensure the veteran stays a significant part of the offense.

“Wilson Chandler, if he’s just out there being passive, he’s not having the impact that he needs to have,” Malone said. “So that’s where within our offense, our equal opportunity offense, he needs to find ways to be more aggressive. And I have to do my part to make sure that he’s getting touches and getting play calls to where he can be aggressive and exploit that matchup that he may have on a given night.”

Chandler is taking a practical approach.

“I think it will come,” Chandler said. “I think the most important thing is getting Paul situated, and making sure Nikola is situated. Then everything else will fall into place.”

No starting PG yet. Coach Michael Malone stayed coy about who he’s chosen to start at point guard when asked about it following Sunday morning’s practice.

“I’m going to tell my wife,” Malone said. “And hopefully she doesn’t get on her Twitter account and let everybody know.”

Everyone healthy. The Nuggets, Malone said, will go into Wednesday’s regular season opener at Utah with a fully healthy roster.

“We have guys that we keep our eyes on, guys that maybe have a history of medical issues. But as of right now, everyone is fully healthy going into the beginning of the season,” Malone said.

If he could have knocked on wood, Malone probably would have.

“It definitely helps,” he said. “Injuries are part of every NBA season, we’ve had our fair share in my two years here. … Right now the fact that we’re healthy we are thankful for that, and hopefully it can stay that way as long as possible.”

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