The Denver Nuggets traded French center Joffrey Lauvergne to the Oklahoma City Thunder, shipping out one of head coach Michael Malone’s favorite go-to players off the bench.

Lauvergne was a solid player over the course of the Nuggs previous season, averaging 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game off the bench, all while battling injuries throughout the entirety of the season.

Malone showed a ton of confidence in the Frenchman’s game, and that was a reflection of the praise Malone would give Joffrey off the court.

“I think every opportunity you give Joffrey, he kind of takes advantage of (it), and I think he’s played well,” Malone told Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post during the season. “What I love about him is what fans and most media don’t see: how hard he works before practice, off days, after practice. The guy is really, really committed to improving as a player. And that’s who we’re trying to be. That’s the kind of culture we’re trying to create, a work culture. And Joffrey really embodies that. So when there’s an opportunity for him to play, and a matchup for him to play against, we’re going to try to get him out there and let him do his thing.”

The Nuggets needed to trade Lauvergne. They simply had too many bodies in the rotation at the four and five positions.

With Joffrey gone, Malone will have two go-to guys off the bench for the Nuggets in veteran Darrell Arthur and rookie Juancho Hernengomez who will be expected to soak in most of the action.

This will be better overall for the team, because a bump in playing time for Arthur leads to a boost in veteran leadership on the floor for the Nuggets, something they don’t have a lot of on the roster.

As for Jauncho, the departure of Joffrey will help in the progression of his game. By playing more, the Nuggets will be expediting his development.

Joffrey was a nice player for the Nuggets, and will be a good fit in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s system. It just seems as if a mix of depth and potential overshadowed what kind of a player Joffrey could be in the NBA.

Malone and his Nuggets are on the upswinging, meaning rookie potential and veteran leadership are going to be needed at his disposal, making Juancho and Arthur Malone’s go-tos off the bench for the coming season.