The Denver Nuggets players are almost all being analyzed by other coaches and general managers ahead of the NBA trade deadline, with contendors looking to add a piece or two to make a run at a championship.
Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler are the two most attractive players on Denver, and both are reportedly available for a first-round pick.
The question on many a fan’s mind–what would Afflalo or Chandler bring to my team if they are acquired?
Here’s a breakdown of their skills, and weaknesses.
Afflalo, 29, has a polished offensive game that includes a career 38 percent 3-point stroke. That has dipped to 33 percent this season, but a change of scenery could easily see it return to better levels. In fact, Afflalo has shot over 40 percent from long-range in four of his eight seasons so far, including 42.7 percent last season. 37 percent of his scoring comes from 3-point land.
Afflalo, listed as 6’5″ and 215 pounds, was the featured player on the Orlando Magic the past two seasons before being traded back to the Nuggets for Evan Fournier and a draft pick. His featured role spawned a career-high 43-point game in December 2013, and he also made a career-high 8 three-point shots in a different game.
Afflalo can be a playmaker, but hasn’t been much of one when paired with Ty Lawson, one of the leaders in drives and assists. Afflalo drives about twice a game, and averages just 1.9 assists in 33 minutes a game–while also averaging 1.6 turnovers. He did make more plays with the Magic, averaging a little over three assists per game but also averaging a little over two turnovers a game.
Afflalo would likely thrive on a playoff team either in a starting role or as one of the first players off the bench. The latter role would require an adjustment because he’s started every game he’s played in since the 2009-10 season.
Chandler, 27, is actually more of a shooter than Afflalo, despite having a career percentage of just 33.8 percent. And he’s only been above 40 percent one year in his career. Still, he takes 5.5 three-pointers a game, mostly on catch-and-shoot according to player tracking data from Sport VU. He actually gets 43.5 percent of his points from 3-pointer, despite the relatively low shooting percentage.
Chandler can also drive, logging 4.3 drives per game–around the same number or even higher than many point guards and the likes of Kevin Durant. Chandler keeps the ball on most of these drives, and also has a horrible assist to turnover ratio of 1.07.
Chandler possesses more athletic ability than Afflalo, who is pretty athletic himself, and combined with his height and strength, can often be seen finishing a drive with a dunk.
Chandler would probably be more comfortable in a role off the bench, having been placed in that role under Mike D’Antoni on the Knicks before he was traded. He also came off the bench for the Nuggets last season.
Defensive Deficiencies and Strengths
Afflalo’s defensive strengths–he’s been known at times as a lockdown defender, and even earned an award based on his defense in college–have supposedly declined as he focused on his offense. His low steal and block numbers over his career have also led some to question his effort on the defensive end.
But Afflalo has maintained that he’s capable of being a strong defender in the right situations. “I’ve always been, more or less, what the team needed. So if you needed scoring, I could do that. If you needed a defender, I could be that. If you needed a shooter, I’ll be that,” he told ESPN last year.
Afflalo can guard three positions, although not small forward if it’s a big player or a point guard if they’re particularly fast. He’s best sticking with shooting guards.
Chandler, on the other hand, is more versatile and can guard 2-4, playing power forward in small-ball lineups.
Chandler rebounds well, averaging six a game, and can also guard well when he’s focused. His versatility enables his team to switch more easily, which can present problems for opposing offenses.
Chandler has posted great blocks and steals numbers at different points in time–1.4 blocks per game in 2010-11, 1 steal per game in 2012-13–but was slowed a bit by a hip injury.
Afflalo and Chandler both present intriguing prospects, if teams are willing to take chances on them. Afflalo has a player option for next season, making a trade for him a risk, while Chandler is the more long-term potential addition with two more seasons on his contract after this one–and a team option as opposed to a player option.
The Trail Blazers, Clippers, and Bulls are among the teams that have been linked to Afflalo, while the Clippers and Blazers are also among the teams linked to Chandler.
The Grizzlies, Thunder, Pelicans, and Raptors are also thought to be in the trade market–among other teams–but haven’t been linked specifically to Afflalo or Chandler.
Unlike teams like the Nets, the Nuggets are content to get mostly draft picks in return, making their players even more attractive to some teams.