As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold.  This open is especially witty for the Nuggets – and hey, look!  We’re at the Nuggets!  We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…

Denver Nuggets (33-49)


Key Acquisitions:

G Jamal Murray (Rookie)

G/F Juan Hernangomez (Rookie)

G Malik Beasley (Rookie)

Key Losses:

F/C Joffrey Lauvergne

Can still having Manimal on your roster count as a “key loss”?

Well, a team doesn’t HAVE to bring in any free agents, amiright?!  No seriously, am I right?  They didn’t bring in any FA of note?  Weird.  And just not much of an overhaul on this team at all!

Beyond that little nugget (too much fun!), Denver is assembling quite the young team.  We obviously LOVE their front line (minus Manimal), Mudiay still has upside, and mmmmmm, those wings!  I like the wings wayyyyy more than the drumsticks.  And you gotta get bleu cheese.  Ranch is sacrilege!  Wait, where is this going?!  Can you tell I wrote this while mad hungry?!  There’s more than one reason why I have an insatiable appetite while writing about Denver’s team!  Here’s how the Nuggets roster is coming together:

PG – Projected Starter – Emmanuel Mudiay

As mentioned in the top-100 ranks, Mudiay ended pretty strong going 16.5/3.8/4.9/0.6/0.4 hitting 1.7 treys and shooting 40.8% over the final 22 games.  The D-stats and FG% drain were annoying, but this was always a stiff test for the youngun to start out of the gate.  But there’s still upside here, as he nudged his way into the back end of my top-100.

Key Reserves – Jameer Nelson

Right now Jameer is your backup and that’s pretty much it, but expect the Nuggets to reel in at least one more scrap-heap PG.  I know, I know, it’s apparently against the team strategy to sign anyone.  Bring Lawson back!  On second thought…  Um, no.  The fact they haven’t brought in more depth I think is a nice little sign for their faith in Mudiay.

SG – Projected Starter – Gary Harris

As I’m sure you can tell, I’m not great at preparing and I’m doing these team previews and ranks concurrently.  So I’m only a few out from finally having Harris ranked, and I’ll have a more sound defense of not being in love with him as much as Razzball Nation in the top-150 post.  That’s called a tease!  But we can go ahead and take 32+ MPG to the bank and another solid-ish season.

Key Reserves – Wilson Chandler, Jamal Murray, JaKarr Sampson, Malik Beasley

Wings-hoard approach, energize!  Dude, I don’t even know where to start…  I actually think Chandler might be the first SG off the bench, depending on the health of his hip.  Dude likely can’t start anyway, so find ways to bring him off the bench, and keep him used to that bench role, even if something happens to Harris.  Then to the high-picked rookie Murray – he had a nice Summer League, but unless they want to bring Harris down under 30 MPG, I just don’t see a huge role.  I think the Nuggets would rather play Chandler to drum up some trade excitement, then move to Murray playing backup SG post-ASB.  Sampson will probably stick as an 11th or 12th man since he can play SG & SF and emergency PG, and Beasley is likely heading to the D-League.

SF – Projected Starter – Danilo Gallinari

Ohhhhh, the fun Gallinari days of August 2015, where I envisioned if everything went right, it could be a shocking surprise.  Well, he was top-50!  Then, yet again, got hurt…  I’ll file that one in, “kinda close, could’ve been worse”.  On the second and last year of a cheap deal, and with the way the Nuggets have shown no inclination of building for near-term success with their lack of FA buys, I think they want to dump Gallo at the deadline too.  Unlike Chandler who is blah and Manimal who is atrocious on defense, Gallinari could fit on any team at SF or PF.  As a starter, or a 6th man.  But until then, I think we get something close to last year which was 45th in per-game, with the risk of injury/trade keeping him well below the top-50.

Key Reserves – Will Barton, Juan Hernangomez, Axel Toupane

This will be entirely Barton’s show, and I doubt we see much of either of the other two.  Despite a rough finish, Barton was actually BETTER than Harris in per-game metrics, despite playing 4 fewer minutes.  He had a really underrated season that I think a lot of people will shrug off as a points-only contribution on a bad team.  But he chipped in 5.8 REB, 2.5 AST, 0.9/0.5 STL/BLK, and 1.4 treys in 15-16!  I expect a similar output this season.

PF – Projected Starter – Kenneth Faried

Well, Faried might play like 20 MPG, so “starter” is only relative to “standing there on the opening tip”.  Manimal might top my list as someone who needs a fresh start on a new team.  They jacked his contract then leaked they don’t like him.  Such bipolar dynamics going on!  Yet another guy they obviously want to move ASAP.

Key Reserves – Darrell Arthur

I guess Darrell Arthur was a free agent who signed!  But he didn’t want to go anywhere else, and got a nice little piece of change to remain in Denver as a PF/C backup.  We obviously rave and rave on the guys we’re about to talk about, but Arthur was fairly serviceable last season.  0.6 3PTM 0.8 STL 0.7 BLK is nothing to sneeze at in the deepers, and 21:39 MPG could happen again.

C – Projected Starter – Nikola Jokic

Again, this is all relative, as we could see Nurk coming in for Faried as an early sub and move Jock Itch to the 4, and more Joke playing the 4 with Faried more as the 5; it’s just a floating system.  But of these two young, buzzy, Euro bigs, I think Jokic plays more minutes.  As I raved about in the top-50, Joke Itch was 66th in per-game last year despite playing 21:39 MPG last season (just now seeing he and Arthur played the exact same MPG, weird!).  He was fantastic post-ASB, especially in April, and here’s to hoping we get a lot more Nurk/Joke minutes than not.

Key Reserves – Jusuf Nurkic

The young Nuggets team is going to have a pretty fun second unit.  You yank out Gallo and Faried at the 5:00 minute mark, and put in Barton and Nurk.  Pretty fun times!  A big reason I’m not as bullish on Nurk vs. Jokic is Nurk has battled through several injuries and is stuck at C-only.  A Nurkic/Faried frontcourt is pretty blah for floor spacing.  So sub in Nurk for Faried to bang around second units, and I think we see an improved REB rate, much better FG%, and if this 35-pound weight loss is for real, a healthy season let’s hope!


JB’s 2016-17 Projection: 39-43

A team on the right track…  On the “high ark” if you will… But it’s still a ton of youth, and I think their ideal plan would be to move all the vets at the deadline.

  1. Lasandro says:

    Woah! Just clicked refresh and BLAM, this article appeared. Must be my lucky day 🙂

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Lasandro: Hah awesome! Yeah the overnight-for-me posts that go up midnight pacific time is right in your Razz-hour haha

  2. Lasandro says:

    How good are chicken mcnuggets? I once ate two 20-piece boxes, while driving to Sydney for the weekend. Much like you during your time writing this article, I was borderline hangry. All I can say is that eating ANY fast food while crammed into a driver’s seat is not advisable..

    The fact that we’re already at a point where Lawson is a butt of Denver jokes is sad. I owned him two seasons ago when he was a dub-dub machine with volume fts and early-round value. He may have a very productive start to the season in SAC, for however long Colli is out. He’s a great drive-and-kick PG. Here’s hoping.

    You project Harris getting 32min+ yet don’t think he belongs in the top 100? Oh boy, can’t wait for @Slim to chime in on this.

    I’m as big a Barton-whore as anyone I know, but with Willy returning and Gallo back to full strength (for now), I just don’t see him coming close to those sweet numbers from last season. He just needs to be a #2 option on another squad because he’s easily one of the most fun offensive players in the L. I bet he would slaughter at those Drew League outings. Just he and Jamal Crawford in the backcourt and you’ll have 100pts in the bank haha.

    Honestly speaking, would any of these Nugs be worth drafting in a 10-12 team roto L? I know you have Jokic mad high, but isn’t that dependant on a few factors? If I knew Nurk would be getting 30min per, I’d be on him no doubt. Gallo is fine for pts, 3s and FTs, but SFs like Gordon, Ariza, Wiggins may interest me more. This season is filled with too many “upsidey” picks, not as many sure-bets are seasons before.

    Great job as usual, ma man.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Lasandro: Ummm, well they’re definitely better as a kid or an intoxicated adult haha. Definitely not advisable, but long drives are an excuse to eat the fast food shit haha.

      Yeah I wish we just saw a modicum of success last year from Lawson though! Or else I would be a little more excited…

      Sure, well Harris was at 32:05 last year, I just think the FG% goes down a little, but the rest stays about the same.

      Hahahaha Barton and Crawford as a 2-person team in the NBA, They could do it! I still think they find a way to get him to 28 mins again. Jurassic park it! Life finds a way….

      Oh for sure – but the Nugs are a super young team, all those teams have upside-y guys for more touches and more a role. Jokic is DEF a Roto target – very metrics-whore. %s, low TO, etc. Nurk should be solid too, but FG% question marks and TO don’t make him quite the Roto lord.

      Thanks man, love chattin with ya! Getting pumped for REL?

    • Slim

      Slim says:


      Gary Harris .465/.820/1.7/14.0/3.4/2.2/1.6/0.3/1.4 :33

      So good! Pretty much what he did his last 2 months of the year at the ripe old age of 21! So it isn’t even that I expect him to be much better, just more consistent. Crowder has him in boards by a bit less than 2.0 but Fts/3s/pts/ast/stl/blk/TOs I’d call a push, and Harris is taking FG% by a good amount (last year was Crowders career high in FG% and Harris really turned that part of his game up shooting 48% postASB). So yeah I’d put them pretty close to each other, probably in the 70s-80s… In a punt FT build I’d take Harris over Crowder. The boards will take care of themselves with the highend punt FT bigs and the boost to FG% is noticable. But I get that some people will see Crowder as “safer” since he already put up those numbers over a full season and Harris only did it in the final 1/3rd of a season.

    • Lasandro says:

      @Slim: Interesting take, comparing Chowder and Gazza (as we’d call him in Australia). Between the two, I think Crowder is in a better position to contribute/get touches. So many moving parts in DEN. I dont doubt that Gary will get his mins, due to his great wing defense, but I think Horford’s addition in Beantown may actually help Crowder’s offensive game more. The stls should still remain borderline-elite (1.7 could be his floor this season). 3s could improve too, in volume. Just very confused about that wing situation in DEN..

      @JB Gilpin: Ok ok, I may have blown my wad a little on the McNugget love. I’m yet to taste Popeye’s actually. There was one in Saigon, but I never actually ate there during my 4yrs in the city. Just recently watched an ep of Seinfeld’s brilliant web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, where his guest Chris Rock was raving about how good Popeye’s chicken is (something along the lines of needing a mind eraser dealy from Men in Black, to prevent you from going back over and over again).

      Right – well I guess I’ll give Jokic a flier during my roto draft. Trying to translate your rankings into roto can be tedious, but it’s fun all the same. I find myself constantly having to pick between Dragic, Parsons, Russell and Lavine during my mock roto drafts. Each of them have something going for them (added PT and usage, youth and upside, etc). Any chance of ranking these guys in roto for me, or shall I just go with your current ranks?

      Sell me a little on Aaron Gordon please. I LOVE watching the kid but am still a touch confused as to how he’ll help my roto team as much as/more than, say, a Lin, Cov, Deng or Ryno.. I know he’s likely gonna be a 1/1/1 guy, with decent brds.

      Yeah man, love these chats as per usual! And my God am I pumped for REL. Trading for Giannis last season just before he really turned it on was a huge move for me. I’m very young sqaud but can’t be disappointed with a KAT, Giannis, Baze, Kanter-core 🙂 That $55 for KAT worked out better than I coulda hoped for. Elfrid and StanJo were a little too pricey for my liking..

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:

        @Slim: @Lasandro: FG% 3s Pts Stl I think are all too high. Not outside the realm of possibility of course. As I just argued, I think a lot was due to no Gallo. I think you’re selling Crowder way short on those cats too, you’re saying Harris’s upside is to do what Crwoder already did last year in his first year as a starter.

        Popeye’s is AWESOME! So is a place that’s more local to where I live in the Southeast US called Bojangles. It’s amazing. Ranks take too much time out of me haha, too hard to rank for all the formats, but I like Parsons of those for sure.

        Ummmm, well he’s in that same range, it’s just all about upside. Toolsy SF playing 32 minutes who could get 3 dimes if really playing a Paul George role?

        I might be interested in Elfrid, but he’s soooo expensive. I think he might go for less in the draft

  3. Philzilla says:

    I strongly feel like a couple of players like Chandler, Barton, Gallo, Faried are moved this year to make way for younger guys like Murray, Juancho, Nurkic. We could definitely see a lot of “showcasing” on the nugs this year in the first half.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Philzilla: Yup agree! I don’t know if Faried needs much since he’s played consistently at that 25 MPG level for the past few years, but the rest should get their run

  4. dan-o says:

    “mmmmmm, those wings! I like the wings wayyyyy more than the drumsticks. And you gotta get bleu cheese. Ranch is sacrilege!”….there’s a great joey diaz quote in there somewhere. look it up if yer not sure what the hell i’m talking about lol.

    here’s to you being correct about jokic and nurk!.

    and hello to you btw

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @dan-o: Hahahaha watching it now. This is awesome. Totally my take too.

      I hope I’m right on those guys too!

      Thanks for droppin by man, good to see you!

  5. Foreign Affairs says:

    Nice job sorting through this team JB, and just like a prospector sifting in the rivers this teams as risky and rewarding as a trip to the old Klondike .

    Having “enjoyed” Mudiay in REL last year that 22 game sample at the end was mighty encouraging. Him being at the back end of the top 100 is a good place to be because of the good and safe pg’s infront of him but depending on how some teams are looking in that area of the draft I think I would take him over George Hill and that crowded Utah guard crew and Derrick Rose. He shot .34/.27/.61 pre allstar break which is MCW terrible that .40/.38/.73 is a huge improvement. In those last 22 games he hit 38/100 threes when before that he had only hit 36/132. Makes me think that his fg% can get even higher if he keeps that up because they will have to not give him the rondo defense which could even help him get more asts with Nurk pick and rolls.

    Not a big fan of Harris and Barton this year, I think there going to hurt eachothers value as they take minutes away from eachother until Gallo gets hurt, especially with them needing to showcase Chandler and maybe Murray plays well enough to carve out a 15-18 min role at sg, just don’t see enough minutes there.

    I think your spot on with Nurk and Jokic, and Faried getting in the way abit, on Zach Lowe’s podcast this summer Mike Malone was on it and it sounds promising for a Jokic and Nurk frontcourt getting most of the minutes, Malone is high on Jokic’s growth and being able to be passable at defense at the 4…helps when his competition is Faried lol. He also has or had gone off to Europe to watch Nurk in euro qualifier ball and spend time with him and it sounds like if he’s moved past last years injuries, which Malone think’s he has but hadn’t seen this weight loss yet, that he likely is going to get around 30 min.

    Nurk,Jokic Mudiay and Gallo if your feeling lucky seem to be the guys for being valuable for the full season.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Foreign Affairs: Thanks man! Yup, we’re panning for gold here!

      Yeah it was really encouraging! Finding his role in the NBA. Let’s hope it can get higher to like 43%!

      The Harris debate will be an epic 2016-17 talking point for Slim and I haha. I hope we’re right!

      I think you’re spot on with those guys! I think Barton as a back end flier if you need scoring works as well – still think he gets enough run somehow

  6. Drez1 says:

    Would you guys trade Cameron Payne and Ivica Zubac for Jamal Murray in a dynasty? (standard cats, 14 team h2h). I’m basically set at PG, and while it might sting to lose a big, there’s a few on the wire I could grab if I lose Zubac (namely McCullough). Thanks.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Drez1: Nope, definitely not! I know Payne is behind Westbrook with the long contract now, but I love Zubac. I’d hold there

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