Who would be the one guy the Nuggets should target and have a chance to get in free agency? I like Julius Randle, Bojan Bogdanovic and Khris Middleton as top choices.
— Rich, Lakewood
Those are decent options but so much of what they can do is predicated on what happens with Paul Millsap and his $30 million team option. If they decline it, that will leave them with somewhere in the neighborhood of $16 or $17 million to maneuver. The problem is there aren’t a ton of good options on the wing that are within their price range. Middleton may command max money, and Randle comes off the table depending on Millsap. The guy I’d look at is Toronto shooting guard Danny Green. He’s a strong defender with championship experience and an excellent floor spacer.
Do the Nuggets players get coaching and postseason counseling throughout the summer from current Denver Nuggets coaches? Are you expecting any coaching changes?
— Terry, Pasco, Wash.
Some do, some don’t. A lot of the young guys (Monte Morris, Jarred Vanderbilt, Michael Porter Jr., Brandon Goodwin and even Will Barton) have been around the Nuggets facility a lot so far this summer. Each of those guys has a lot to prove and are soaking up coaching this offseason. Having not played a second of NBA basketball, Porter Jr. is ramping up his workouts in anticipation of Summer League. A few weeks ago he said his season was just beginning.
As for the coaching staff, assistants Mark Price and Bob Weiss each did not have their contracts renewed. Both were well-liked within the team but weren’t integral moving forward. I do expect the Nuggets to announce another addition to their coaching staff in the coming weeks.
It seems to me that the easiest way for the Nuggets to take the next step into NBA title contention is for Jamal Murray to become a bonafide all-star. What do you think he needs to do to make that happen?
— Chris, Centennial
The most obvious answer is on the defensive end. Murray was a below-average defender last year. It might’ve been because he devoted so much energy on the offensive end or it might’ve been for lack of effort. He needs to improve his strength, lateral quickness and awareness on that end of the floor. He also needs to shore up his ball protection. There were dozens of instances of careless turnovers this season, either by forcing needlessly hard plays or just poor ball handling. I think this aspect is significantly easier to correct than on the defensive side.
Is there any way the Nuggets can get into this year’s draft? If so, what sort of player do you think they might target? Are you hearing any interest from them in this year’s class of rookies?
— Matt, Denver
The Nuggets could certainly wade into the second round by buying a pick or trading a future pick if there’s someone they like. (Philadelphia has four second rounders; Sacramento has three). At that point in the draft, you’re probably taking a project who you think has potential and not even considering team need. Fair to say the Nuggets have a decent track regard in that regard. One guy I think the Nuggets might consider is Admiral Schofield from Tennessee. He plays bigger than he is (6-foot-6) and can stretch the floor.
Mike, last year we took a flier on Isaiah Thomas. It didn’t pan out, but it was great to see the Nuggets go out and take a chance. Is there anyone out there on the market who you think we could go after in free agency that’s like that?
— J.D., Aurora
In that vein, why not take a flier on Derrick Rose? He’s a veteran scoring guard who could jolt the second unit. Rose found his stroke from outside this year (career-high 37 percent) and had a few turn-back-the-clock takeover games this year.
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