What a difference a year makes for the Denver Nuggets and their starting lineup configuration. Riddled with a variety of injuries to different players, the George Karl played 23 different starting lineups. With roughly a month left in the regular season, Karl has only played seven starting lineups so far.
In the 23 Denver Nuggets starting lineups last year, the one that was used most often consisted of Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Nene Hilario, and Timofey Mozgov at 13 times. This particular lineup won 53% of their games. A more successful lineup was played, particularly near the end of the season, consisting of Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, and Kosta Koufos.
George Karl has definitely done a great job of capitalizing on what worked toward the end of last season. The Denver Nuggets acquisition of Andre Iguodala, to replace Arron Afflalo, brought a more versatile shooting guard to the team. Andre's ability to bring the ball up the court and dole out assists, coupled with his effective defensive plays made him an invaluable addition to the team.
There's a reason George Karl is keeping this lineup together...they are doing a great job playing together. Ty Lawson is averaging 17 points, 7.1 assists, and shooting 46% from the field. Andre Iguodala is contributing an average of 13 points, 5.1 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Averaging 16.4 points per game, Danilo Gallinari is shooting 38% from 3-point land. Kenneth Faried is really close to averaging a double-double, with 11.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. The man in the middle, Kosta Koufos, has been making 61% of his field goals as he continues to refine his hook shot.
The same could be said for the 6th - 9th men on this deep bench. When Andre Miller, Corey Brewer, JaVale McGee, and Wilson Chandler come in to play together, there have been games when they have outscored the starters. These four Nuggets go-to guys on the bench are their own team and have every capability of coming in and outscoring the starters on any given night.
George Karl mentioned, during an interview, that he never draws plays up for Corey Brewer, however, the guy is just so on it and all over the ball that he creates awesome plays for himself. Corey is a guy who often ends up at the right place at the right time and lays it up or slams. His long arms also affords him many steals. Corey's energy, combined with Wilson Chandler's cognitive play, JaVale's entertaining slam dunks, and Andre Miller's ability to dish the ball out night after night makes this Nuggets bench second to none.
The Nuggets of late have been an extremely fun team to watch. They are getting better and better as the year goes on. Perhaps having a stable and healthy starting lineup makes all the difference!
Ty Lawson - Point Guard
Andre Iguodala - Shooting Guard
Danilo Gallinari - Small Forward
Kenneth Faried - Power Forward
Kosta Koufos - Center