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BSN Nuggets weekend mailbag: 2017 free agency, a proposed US vs World intrasquad scrimmage & more

Harrison Wind Avatar
September 3, 2016

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This weekend’s mailbag hits on a number of subjects including a 2017 free agency preview, who has the best hair on the Nuggets roster, players that Denver could target that have a James Harden-like leap in them, and more. As always, submit your questions to me during the week on Twitter @NBAWind or @BSNNuggets.

Looking at the top 2017 free agents, who are the Nuggets likely to make a run at – zoeyversustheraccoon on Reddit

That list most likely starts with Paul Millsap, who the Nuggets reportedly tried to acquire earlier this summer. Millsap is 31-years-old and doesn’t exactly fit the timeline in Denver, but would instantly be the Nuggets best player and fits in well with their current roster. Blake Griffin is another name that will be highly coveted and at 27-years-old, he’ll still be in his prime through this next contract, but next year will be key in learning how his game ages with an athleticism that’s bound to start declining as he approaches his 30’s. Nerlens Noel will be a free agent as well and could be on his way out of Philadelphia if Joel Embiid is able to play this season and Dario Saric and Ben Simmons prove their worth. Noel would likely command a max or close to a max deal.


If the Nuggets scrimmaged the Americans vs the foreign-born players, who would win? – tron7 on Reddit

First, let’s set the teams. The foreign-born roster only has six players, so we’ll look at each team’s starting five, plus a sixth man.

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I give the US-born team a bit of an edge here, but it’s close. Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic would dominate Darrell Arthur and Kenneth Faried inside, but the advantage Mudiay and Harris have against Jamal Murray and Axel Toupane would be too much to overcome. Add in Will Barton off the bench and you could spread out Gallinari, Jokic, and Nurkic, leading to easy buckets. Gallinari and Chandler probably cancel each other out on both ends of the floor when healthy.

Who is the next James Harden type talent the Nuggets will trade for? A player not yet considered a superstar but has that potential if given the playing time? – eg14000 on Reddit

This is so tough because general manager Daryl Morey and Houston were in the minority in thinking Harden could ascend to the level he’s at now. Who knows if they thought he’d even be this good, but the Rockets deserve all the credit for thinking ahead. In this scenario, you’re looking for someone who’s still young and most likely 23 or 24-years-old at the most, in a situation that limits his productivity, and has the skill set to seemingly make a leap. Kris Middleton and Victor Oladipo are two guys that come to mind but are already 24 and 25-years-old respectively. Rodney Hood is someone that I think has another level to his game, but good luck getting him out of Utah.

A guy I think is gettable, who fits that Harden timeline is Zach LaVine. He’s just 21-years-old with room to grow on both ends of the floor, but time will tell if his career follows Jamal Crawford or Harden’s path. He needs more consistent looks offensively to determine his trajectory. Who knows if Denver will look to make a trade for someone who hasn’t achieved All-Star status, but I’d bet they’d rather bring in an already established star-level player if possible.

What does the hiring of Chris Finch from Houston mean for the Nuggets offense next season? – Lauren Rawls – Denver, Colorado

When I spoke with Wilson Chandler earlier this offseason he told me he didn’t have a feel of how the offense would look next season because what they ran in 2015-16 was largely Chris Fleming’s responsibility. Fleming left the organization earlier this summer to join the Brooklyn Net’s coaching staff and the Nuggets brought in Finch, who’s known as an advanced offensive mind, to replace him.

Finch brings a wealth of coaching experience to Denver including a stint in the D-League and most notably as an assistant with the Houston Rockets since 2011. Houston has attempted either the most or second-most 3-pointers per game since 2012, while Denver was never top-5 in that category in the last five season. We’ll need to hear more from the new coaching staff to accurately determine how the offense will look next season, but I feel safe in saying the Nuggets will attempt more threes than 23.7 they shot last season, nearly eight less per game than the Rockets.

Stack rank the top three haircuts on the roster. – IdRatherBeLurking on Reddit

First off, let’s refer to the rankings my colleague Nate Timmons put together last year on BSNDenver. He ranked Joffrey Lauvergne No. 1, but with the Frenchman now in Oklahoma City, it’s an appropriate time to re-visit this discussion. Since Timmons’s rankings, Denver has added Toupane, Mike Miller, and Juancho Hernangomez, who all have hair worth discussing. Faried is obviously still in the discussion for the top spot, but I’m giving it to Miller, who’s gone through many hairstyles throughout his career, but sported a fade that was on point for much of last season.

It’s hard to move Faried out of the second spot, but No. 3 is legitimately up for grabs. Gallinari, who held the title last season and went to a more emphasized mohawk this summer with Italy, but Hernangomez is hot on his tail. I fully expect Hernangomez’s hair to develop as the season goes on and eventually challenge Gallinari for a top-3 ranking.

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