MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Center Nene was Denver's leading scorer among players with the team the entire season. Nene averaged 14.5 points, just shy of his career-best of 14.6, and 7.6 rebounds, just off his career-best of 7.8. Nene still had problems with inconsistency, which has plagued him his entire career. But he showed that one day he could be an All-Star.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER
There were high hopes when Denver signed forward Al Harrington to a five-year, $33 million contract as a free agent last summer. But Harrington's scoring average dropped from 17.7 last season with New York to 10.5. His minutes were erratic after the Nuggets got a lot of depth back in the Feb. 22 trade of Carmelo Anthony to New York. Having entered the NBA directly from high school in 1998, Harrington is an old 31.
The Nuggets need a go-to guy for down the stretch, but those players are hard to find. The Nuggets likely will have to develop one. The Nuggets also must take a serious look at their future when it comes to post players. Do they want to bring back free agent Kenyon Martin, and can they continue to count on often-injured Chris Andersen? Or do they want to give bigger roles to young Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos?
FREE AGENT FOCUS
Forward Kenyon Martin (unrestricted) wants to return, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be willing to take a big enough salary cut from $16.55 million to make it work. Guard J.R. Smith (unrestricted) had wanted to return and the Nuggets wanted him back throughout the regular season. He had a playoff blowup, but still could re-sign. Center Melvin Ely (unrestricted) is unlikely to return because the Nuggets have better post players who can't get playing time. Guard Arron Afflalo (restricted) is likely to return. While not as likely as Afflalo, prospects still look good for forward Wilson Chandler (restricted) to be back. Gary Forbes (restricted) has a chance to return unless another team puts down an offer that is deemed too rich for Denver.
--C Nene is continuing to ponder what could be a tough decision. If Nene doesn't get a contract extension to his liking, he must decide by June 30 whether to opt out of a contract that would pay him $11.6 million next season in its final year. What makes the decision so tough is Nene doesn't know what will happen after the collective bargaining agreement expires June 30. NBA owners want to cut salaries.
--C Timofey Mozgov plans to represent his native Russia in the European Basketball Championships, which start Aug. 31 in Lithuania. Russia's first game is that day against Ukraine. Mozgov played for Russia in last year's World Championship in Turkey.
--C Kosta Koufos might have been born in Canton, Ohio. But Koufos plays for the Greek National Team due to his family's background. Koufos plans to play for Greece in the European World Championships this summer in Lithuania. Greece's first game is Aug. 31 against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
--C Timofey Mozgov (left knee and ankle sprains) didn't play after being hurt April 5 against Oklahoma City. He could have played had he been needed, although he wasn't at full strength in the playoffs. However, he soon should be fine.
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