Last season, no other team shot in the paint and restricted area more than the Denver Nuggets.
Their run ‘n’ gun style of play usually leads to buckets in transition and having players that work well in slashing helps a lot as well. But in light of the summer of changes they’ve gone through, will they balance themselves out with more of an outside shooting game?
Firstly, there have been a couple subtractions in the paint due to the loss of Andre Iguodala to free agency and Danilo Gallinari to an ACL injury that will keep him out for about a couple more months into the season at least. Iguodala shot 37.77 percent of all his shots in the restricted area while Gallinari shot 34.83, both percentages at least 20 percent more than the next spot on the court for each player.
Randy Foye was the main difference in the shooting guard spot in the trade involving Iguodala and is expected to be a key part of the rotation. Foye shot more at the top right of the key spot alone in 3s than he did in the restricted area last year. He also shot above league average in percentage from the center of the floor to the left corner 3 spot.
If Foye and the other outside shooters can step up for Denver, it can either open up the paint even more, set up a more dynamic offensive game with more shooters beyond the arc, or both. Along with Foye, other key acquisitions this summer were J.J. Hickson, a big man who shot just a little less than 80 percent of his shots in the paint, and Nate Robinson, who is remembered for being able to throw it down in spite of his height.
While losing some power in the paint, it’s very possible that Nuggets make up for it in outside scoring. But even though they’ll need shooting from distance, can players learn to create space by developing a reliable outside shot? If not, it could be another way in which the season spells demise for Denver.