The Denver Nuggets have not come out of the gate all that well to begin the season. A 1-4 start under Brian Shaw is disappointing after registering 57 wins in 2012-13 and not even three home games to start the season has been able to give them an advantage against opponents. Things may not get any better for the Nuggets either with the latest injury news for their center JaVale McGee.
The six-year NBA veteran is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left tibia. The injury leaves the Nuggets thin at center and they'll have to contemplate either moving Timofey Mozgov into the starting lineup or having JJ Hickson be an undersized starting center like we saw with the Portland Trail Blazers last season.
#Nuggets C JaVale McGee out indefinitely with a stress fracture in left tibia.— Aaron J. Lopez (@Lopez_Nuggets) November 10, 2013
McGee has struggled to see court time this season but he's one of three players that doesn't have a negative net rating when he's on the court. It's not a big sample size by any means but in five games, the Nuggets are 0.1 points per 100 possessions with McGee on the floor. Evan Fournier (+1.4) and Mozgov (even at 0.0) are the other two Nuggets that don't have a negative net rating.
The case for Mozgov is that the team has been much better defensively with him on the court than off. Denver is eight points per 100 possessions better defensively with Mozgov playing than when he's on the bench, and 7.7 better than when McGee is on the court this season. However, he's not someone that puts up a lot of big stats. That's where Hickson possibly comes in becasue he's capable of putting up double-doubles, even if it means opening up the flood gates defensively.