The Nuggets have had quite the unique stretch since December 15th. During this time frame, they have won three straight, lost the next two, won the following two, dropped the next five in a row, and then have won the last two consecutive games. As discussed throughout the season, the Nuggets’ starting lineup hasn’t been very consistent. However, since the 15th of December (aside from a game against the Thunder), Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic, and Danilo Gallinari have started every game together, which has created some continuity in the starting unit. The fifth spot has been very much up for grabs. Yes, still. The leading candidates so far this year for that fifth spot have been Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried.
Here is a breakdown of the Nuggets record with both players in and out of the starting lineup.
Both coming off bench/DNPs: 4-9
Faried Starting: 5-8
Both Starting: 1-1
Chandler Starting: 6-5
This past Thursday, the Nuggets completely obliterated the Pacers, scoring 140 points, with Chandler in the starting lineup. He was 8-13 from the field with 21 points. Despite his success in the starting lineup for that game, Malone started Faried Monday night in a win over the Magic. Faried played very well and was very efficient, but what more does Chandler have to do to keep his starting spot? What made Malone (despite a huge win) decide to place Faried in the starting lineup for Monday night’s game?
Chandler provides more versatility on the offensive side of the ball. He provides shooting and can score when called upon. Faried provides the energy boost and is terrific when it comes to hustle plays but the Nuggets have shown more success when Chandler starts. He spreads the floor out nicely and provides another weapon for great passers like Jokic and Mudiay to pass to. The Nuggets provide major problems for teams when Gallinari and Chandler are on the floor together. They are match up nightmares because they both have such multifaceted offensive games. Although this fifth spot hasn’t been stable, Chandler has shown that he is the best candidate for the job.