It’s been three seasons since the Denver Nuggets last made a playoff appearance, which in NBA time feels more like 17.
Many of the core pieces of that George Karl-led 2012-13 squad that went 57-25 and fell to Golden State in the first round are long gone, including Andre Iguodala, Ty Lawson, Andre Miller.
As NBA free agency winds down, Denverite decided to take stock of where the key players on the Nuggets’ last playoff team ended up.
Let’s start with some of the guys who’ve left the Mile High City.
Andre Iguodala: Iguodala’s career has taken on a new life since he left for Denver in a sign-and-trade in 2013. He accepted a sixth-man role with the Golden State Warriors, who, if you’ve been living under a rock for the last two seasons, have won a championship and set the regular-season wins record.
Iguodala is entering the final season of the four-year, $48 million deal he signed, and it promises to be an interesting one. Golden State recently signed Kevin Durant, one of the best three or four players in the league. Durant will join Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Iguodala on a Warriors team that is the without-a-doubt NBA Finals favorite heading into next year.
Ty Lawson: While Iguodala’s career has taken off since the 2012-13 season, Lawson’s has crashed and burned. Lawson has continued to deal with some drinking issues — he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving for the fourth time in July 2015 — that have played a part in that derailment.
Denver sent Lawson to Houston last summer for a first-round pick. He didn’t make much of an impact with the Rockets and was released. He finished out the year with the Indiana Pacers. Now the 28-year-old is a free agent who’s still looking for his next deal.
JaVale McGee: Like Lawson, McGee has had a rough go of it since leaving Denver. He was traded to the basketball wasteland that is Philadelphia in February 2015. The Shaqtin’ A Fool regular appeared in just six games with the 76ers and 34 games with Dallas last season.
Andre Miller: The Professor! Miller has played for four franchises since Denver traded him in February 2014: Washington, Sacramento, Minnesota and San Antonio. The 40-year-old, a favorite of NBA nerds’ for his effectiveness despite not being able to jump over a deck of cards, has enjoyed a remarkably long professional basketball career.
Sadly, it might be coming to an end. Last we heard, Miller was contemplating retirement after the Spurs lost to the Thunder in the playoffs.
Corey Brewer: Brewer was part of the massive front office/coaching/player turnover after the 2012-13 season. He signed a two-year deal with Minnesota, then a three-year contract with the Rockets when that was up.
Little has changed about Brewer since he left. He’s still a high-energy wing who compensates for his lack of outside touch by getting to the rim like a madman. He played a big role on Houston’s 2014-15 Western Conference Finals team. He still has two years remaining on his contract with the Rockets.
Danilo Gallinari: Oh hey, somebody still on the Nuggets’ roster from 2013! An ACL tear cost Gallinari the entire 2013-14 season, and he’s played in 59 and 57 games in the two years since. Gallinari is great when he plays — he averaged 19.5 points and 5.3 points last season and shot a respectable 36.4 percent from deep — but he’s struggled with health issues throughout his career.
Will we ever see him suit up for 75-plus games in a Denver uniform? We might not get that many more chances to find out. Gallinari is under contract through this season and has a player option in 2017-18. He’s also a name frequently listed in trade rumors.
Kenneth Faried: Another guy who is still around. The last three seasons must have been strange for Faried, who’s morphed from Denver’s starting power forward of the future into a guy many believe will be traded. Part of that is the way the NBA has changed. Power forwards today must be able to switch pick and rolls, shoot from outside or, preferably, do both (a la the Warriors’ Draymond Green). Neither of those areas of the game are Faried’s strong suits.
The Nuggets have drafted several solid front court players in the last two seasons, including Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic, which is why there are always whispers about a Faried trade. It’s worth noting that Faried is under contract through 2018-19 on a deal that looks downright cheap with the way the cap is changing.
Wilson Chandler: Chandler came to Denver along with Gallinari in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster deal. He signed a $46.5 million extension last summer, but a hip injury forced him to miss the entire 2015-16 season.
Chandler is on track to play this year, and he figures to be a big part of the rotation. He’s capable of playing both forward positions at 6-foot-8 and has shown the ability knock down the 3 in the past.