It could be a huge blow to the Nuggets and, consequently, to the competitiveness of the Western Conference beyond the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
Gallinari has obviously been a big part of that success. With 51 more 3-pointers than any of his teammates, he’s the one guy who can really space the floor. And Denver has been a better team, both offensively and defensively, with him in the game.
Nuggets efficiency with Gallinari on and off the floor
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
The Nuggets with Gallinari on the floor have the point differential of a 62-win team. The Nuggets with Gallinari off the floor have the point differential of a 44-win team.
But, as a starter, Gallinari has played most of his minutes with his best teammates, which can make his make his on-off-court discrepancy look more drastic than his actual value.
Most minutes with Gallinari
|Player||MIN||% of DG’s minutes|
The Nuggets are obviously deeper since Chandler returned in mid-January. Even without Gallinari, they still have three wings – Iguodala, Chandler and Brewer – who George Karl can trust. And Evan Fournier has shown some flashes of an ability to contribute over the last week.
Karl’s ability to go small, however, is now a bit limited. The Nuggets have played 870 minutes with three of the four veteran wings on the floor together, most of those (597) with Gallinari as one of the three. Those have been great minutes for the Nuggets, played at a very fast pace.
Nuggets efficiency with three of Brewer, Chandler, Gallinari & Iguodala on floor
|Brewer + Chandler + Iguodala, no Gallinari||273||100.4||107.1||93.9||+13.2||+51|
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
Without Gallinari, the trio of Brewer, Chandler and Iguodala will have to take on a larger load. The good news is that the Nuggets’ defense, as you might expect, has been excellent with those three on the floor together.
The Nuggets still need a healthy Ty Lawson to pose a serious threat to the top two teams in the West, but improved defense could help absorb the loss of their second leading scorer.