2017-18 Nuggets Player Breakdown: Wilson Chandler
As the longest-tenured Nugget, Wilson Chandler has a view of the team that no current player, coach or front-office exec not named Josh Kroenke has.
“I’ve been through a lot with this team,” Chandler said.
He has been through three coaches, two general managers and a roster that has no players on it from the time he arrived in Denver via trade in February 2011. He has played in big winning seasons, rebuilding seasons and, now, on a team he looks upon fondly.
“Right now, I think the future is bright,” Chandler said. “Just name a guy. The young guys on the team, they’re really good. Jamal (Murray) has come a long way. Gary (Harris), (Nikola) Jokić, Trey (Lyles), Will (Barton). Just name a guy. I think the sky’s the limit for the team. You’ve just got to keep growing together and keep playing for one another.”
Chandler got better as the season wore on. He turned up his play in the second half of the season – more specifically, the post All-Star portion – to help the Nuggets make a run to 46 wins and a near playoff berth. Here’s how that looked:
Pre All-Star: 9.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 42.8 percent shooting, 32.9 percent 3-point shooting.
Post All-Star: 11.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 48.1 percent shooting, 41.2 percent 3-point shooting.
The Nuggets’ starting small forward had four of his five games of 20 or more points after the trade deadline. He had 16 games in double-figure scoring in the 54 games prior to the trade deadline, and 17 in the 28 games after the deadline.
Overall, Chandler averaged 10.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his seventh season with the Nuggets.
OFFENSE: Chandler has always been something of a Jack of All Trades, a player with the ability to do a little bit of everything on the offensive end. And that is reflected in the distribution of his offensive actions used – at least seven percent in seven different types. Spot up shooting was by far Chandler’s most-used action, however, at 27.2 percent as he settled into a complementary role, supporting Murray, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap (or Will Barton) and Nikola Jokic, who took the majority of the shots among starters.
As such, he excelled in the ‘movement’ play types. He shot 55.7 percent in transition, 60.3 percent off of cuts, and 49 percent in hand-offs. Additionally, Chandler was effective in post ups, shooting 51.1 in those actions.
DEFENSE: Perhaps Chandler’s best value to the team was on the defensive end. He had the quickness and length to guard high-scoring opposing perimeter players. He had the size and strength to hold off bigger players on the block.
As a pick-and-roll defender – guarding the ball handler – Chandler helped force turnovers on 18 percent of those actions and hold teams to 0.74 points per possession. Overall, Chandler had 39 blocked shots and 43 steals.
He reflected on the season.
“We had our chances,” Chandler said. “Kind of don’t want to hang it on one play or even one game. If we win the Phoenix game, Memphis game – a lot of games that if we win we probably wouldn’t be in this situation right now. So, we can’t blame it on just one play or one game.”
And yet, Chandler said, “You see situations like this; young teams turn into good teams.”
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter