The Denver Nuggets went 33-49 last season but started playing well at the wrong time. The team played almost .500 basketball towards the end of the season, which diminished their chances of getting a top-three pick in the NBA draft.

The Nuggets haven’t been known to attract big name free agents to the Mile High City and Denver 7NEWS sports anchor, Arran Andersen, spoke to Gil Whiteley on Mile High Sports Radio AM 1340/FM 104.7 about the lack of leadership in the Nuggets locker room and on the court.


“I think one of the biggest problems this team has is they don’t have any leadership,” Andersen said. “They have a bunch of young guys and no one to really steer that boat, and look, they’re going to have a lot of free agent dollars available but the question is going to be: Can they get a star player to come here? And I don’t know if that’s the answer.”

Andersen compared the Nuggets situation to the Sacramento Kings when they had the “dream” team of Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac, but could not get any big names to sign during free agency — Webber was acquired via trade.

“They weren’t able to get A-plus talent,” Andersen said.

One of the big questions going into last week’s draft was if the Nuggets were going to try and trade one or more of their draft picks, and possibly a player like Kenneth Faried, to a team who was willing to listen to offers for their superstar.

As Whiteley explained, though, it might be tough with Faried’s contract. Faried is owed $12 million next season, almost $13 million the year after and $13.7 million in the final year of his contract.

But Andersen was convinced that if the Nuggets were willing to give up one of their first-round picks — most likely Jamal Murray — and Faried, they could have potentially landed a star player who could bring leadership to the team.

LeBron James, who just opted out of his contract with the Cavaliers, is expected to re-sign with his hometown team for more money, and Kevin Durant hasn’t even considered Denver as a possible destination and won’t offer them a meeting.

“I don’t believe the Nuggets are in on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes,” Andersen jokingly told Whiteley.

The roster is filled with young players who haven’t had enough time to develop into stars, and as long as that is the case, the Nuggets shouldn’t expect to be making the playoffs, without a superstar, any time soon.

“I think you can get excited about some of these young guys, Mudiay certainly, down the road. Maybe they develop into great players,” Andersen said. “Right now they don’t have any superstars, and as you know, you gotta have at least one in this league to be effective and get into the playoffs.”

Andersen wasn’t so high on veterans Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, either. Both account for $26 million against the salary cap next season and have shown they cannot stay healthy for a prolonged period of time.

Gallinari only played in 53 games last year because of an ankle injury and Chandler was out for the season after undergoing hip surgery.

“Neither one of those guys is going to be an All-Star caliber player,” Andersen said. “We’ve seen the best that those guys have to offer and that’s if they’re healthy, and that’s a big if.”

When the Nuggets needed to be good, they simply weren’t, and when the team could have afforded to lose a couple more games in order to get a better draft pick, they played better. Jamal Murray is a great young talent and the Nuggets should not look at the draft as a failure, but a higher draft pick could have possibly given them a better chance at trading for a star.

“They’re not bad enough to warrant a high draft pick and not good enough to make the playoffs,” Andersen explained.

Without a superstar, the Nuggets lack a sense of leadership and are relying on their young core of Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic to take the franchise to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

“It’s probably easier for the Rockies to turn things around than the Nuggets,” Andersen told Whiteley.

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