Denver Nuggets: 5 Positions, 5 Words: Small Forward

The small forward position marks the third post in the 5 positions, 5 words series. Here are links to the other positions

Point Guard

Shooting Guard

The word small forward is:


There are three small forwards on Denver's roster, and all of them could make the argument that they deserve solid playing time. Let's start things off with Danilo Gallinari.

Gallo started the year off on an absolute tear despite not being his usual self from behind the arc. Gallinari averaged 18.6 points per game in the month of January while shooting 33% from 3-point land (his career average is 37%). Then Gallo was sidelined for a month due to an ankle injury. Once he returned, things started to look like business as usual before he injured the thumb on his non-shooting hand. He never really looked the same for the rest of the season.

In  my opinion, Gallinari has the ability to be the closer that critics have been saying the Nuggets lack. Gallo has severely improved his all-around game in recent years. He is no longer just a sharpshooter. Gallinari has shown his ability to create off the dribble and is getting to the line more often. He recorded a career-high in assists per game last season as well. If Gallinari can develop a post-game, he could truly be a lethal scorer. Gallinari will turn 24 in August so he should be able to improve and grow as a player.

Next on the list is the ever-so-interesting Wilson Chandler. The 25-year-old played a total of eight games for the Nuggets between a stint in China and then a season ending hip injury. During his eight games he averaged 9.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. This is hardly exciting considering he was once considered a potentially more valuable trade asset than Gallinari.

In all fairness, it's hard to transition from the level of competition in China to the NBA. But at the same time, he can only blame himself for choosing to go play in the Chinese Basketball Association knowing full well the ramifications.

To be honest, I expected Masai Ujiri to trade him on draft night. Despite me somewhat bashing him, Chandler deserves to start in the NBA. That isn't possible in Denver, and his contract isn't any reason to prevent him from moving. I still expect Chandler to be moved by the time the 2012-13 season rolls around. It the biggest reason is because of the word above, the position is just too crowded.

Next on the list is Corey Brewer. Brewer wasn't the most consistent player in the world, but he is a player that fits perfect in Denver's run and gun style. Brewer's best two assets are that he is a solid defender and plays well in transition. These traits that George Karl loves, and the result was Brewer seeing his fair share of minutes last year. Another reason why Brewer saw so many minutes was because of the absences of Chandler and Gallinari.

If Gallinari is healthy (fingers crossed), and especially if Chandler stays a Nugget, it is unlikely Brewer will see the floor as much as he did last year.  Nevertheless, he proved that he belonged last year and earned a spot for next year.

Finally we have Denver's 39th pick of the draft, Quincy Miller. Miller is expected to play in the D-league next year. Even if he does earn a roster spot, it is unlikely he will see much time on the floor. Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington have also seen time at small forward when the Nuggets go small and big respectively.

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