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  • Jan 21:
  • Nuggets Mailbag: How many No. 1 draft picks will Denver have
    this summer?
  • Apr 2:
  • Nuggets Mailbag: Who will be the next head coach of the Nuggets?
  • Mar 19:
  • Would non-guaranteed player contracts have changed Brian Shaw's fate?
  • Mar 5:
  • Nuggets Mailbag: Was Brian Shaw's downfall related to ego management?
  • Jan 22:
  • Nuggets Mailbag: Does the Timofey Mozgov trade help in the long run?
  • Jan 8:
  • Nuggets Mailbag: Why threaten this talented team with dissolution?
  • Dec 25:
  • Nuggets Mailbag: Any chance Melo regrets forcing trade to N.Y. Knicks?

Denver Post Nuggets writer Christopher Dempsey answers his Nuggets mailbag throughout the season.

You can pose a Nuggets or NBA-related question for the Nuggets Mailbag here. Follow Chris for more daily updates on Twitter.

Hi Chris, going into the trading deadline where should Tim (Connelly) be looking to improve the roster? Moreover, if Danilo Gallinari is still on the team, because the Kroenkes always trade when a player is worth the most, do you foresee next year's starting line up Emmanuel Muudiay, Gary Harris, Wilson Chandler, Gallo, and Jusuf Nurkic ? Second unit, Kenneth Faried, Will Barton, Jameer Nelson, Nikola Jokic, and we need to find a backup small forward. Would love to hear your thoughts. Future will be bright in Denver sooner than later.

— John Bacarella, New York

What kind of activity should we expect before the trade deadline? What are the biggest opportunities for the Nuggets?

— Josh Jacobsen, Denver


Josh and John: I'm going to answer both questions right here. I don't expect much at the trade deadline. The Nuggets are in a unique situation. This isn't what we'd all view as a regular trade deadline for them because they are at the beginning of their lifecycle with this bunch. There's not that move to make them a contender that's out there, or quite frankly, needs to be forced right now. So, outside of the expectation to deal J.J. Hickson, I don't know there's much else that will be done -- unless, say, an injury dictates a move needs to be made. They want to get a season-long look at the young players -- Mudiay, Jokic, Lauvergne, Nurkic, Harris, etc. -- so those players will play. They want those players to grow with the organization, with their teammates and gain experience. And they need to have a better view of what each of them might grow into. If a playoff run this season happens as a result, all the better. But they won't sacrifice the future for something short-term. There is always stuff floating around about, say Kenneth Faried or Danilo Gallinari, has been for years, but they are not shopping either one of them.

Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried celebrates after scoring following an offensive rebound against the Chicago Bulls late in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Feb. 5, 2016, in Denver. (David Zalubowski, Associated Press file)

In last Sunday's NBA column I covered the expectations of what the Nuggets might be doing at the deadline. Outside of a blockbuster offer for one of the veterans I don't know that anything will happen. And that's okay, because all of those same resources, plus draft picks, can be used as assets after the season. That's where I expect most of the roster re-tooling to be done. It's also a time when you'll know what other big-name players may be available. I fully expect the Nuggets to make another run at acquiring a big-name in the offseason. But in general, they need shooting, shooting and more shooting and added athleticism. And shooting. As far as lineups are concerned, I'd look at the next couple of years being ones that firm up Nikola Jokic in the starting lineup, so not on the second unit. The question there is: Will he be the starting center or moved to power forward? Nurkic's development will have something to do with that decision. Wilson Chandler's return will help. If they did nothing, I'd say this team should be a playoff team next season. But they'll try and make some moves to acquire elite talent from somewhere for sure after the season is done.

Why does Chris Marlowe say some variation of "when Hector was a pup" during the broadcast? Thanks!

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— Kenneth Menze, Denver

Kenneth: Funny you asked this, because we were chatting about it not too long ago. It is a mini-tribute to Chick Hearn, the late, great Lakers play-by-play announcer. Hearn used to say it during broadcasts, one of his many sayings that came to be known as "Chickisms." Basically it was said to denote something that hasn't happened for a long time.

Chris, Was just wondering why JJ Hickson isn't playing more. JJ always plays hard and is a great rebounder. Why is he in Malone's doghouse?

— Jim Swartzendruber, Silt

Jim: He's not so much in Malone's doghouse as he is just caught up in a situation where there are too many bigs to play them all meaningful minutes. Hickson has just found himself on the outside of the big man rotation. But as you pointed out, he is a capable player. The Nuggets are likely to trade him with the hope of getting him to a team that can, and will, use him. He's too good to be sitting around.

What is your take on rarely seeing the Nuggets attack the rim on 3-point shots? More often than not, a 3-point shot is taken and the entire team falls back on defense. I would like to see at least one team member following the shot to the rim in an attempt to get an offensive rebound.

— Len, Westcliffe

Len: Some of it is to ensure that they are back on defense in transition, which was a problem early on this season. Particularly in identifying and getting out to 3-point shooters on the possession changeover, so they want to protect that end at all costs. Long shots lead to long misses and fast breaks the other way if teams aren't careful about getting back. But when Kenneth Faried is on the court he's always attacking the offensive glass -- a top-five player in snatching offensive boards (3.5 per game going into Wednesday night at Detroit). And overall, as a team the Nuggets are fourth in the league in offensive rebounds and 10th overall in rebounding. So this is a clear strength of the squad.

With Stan Kroenke moving the Rams to Los Angeles, is there any chance he would try and move the Nuggets or Avalance to California as well? Seems like he is buliding a very nice facility.

— Blake, Littleton

Blake: Neither of those two things will happen.

Hey Chris, I wanted to get your opinion on the NBA Slam Dunk contest since one of our own is competing. How do you think Will Barton will do, and what are your thoughts on the contest? Thanks.

— Ben, Denver

Ben: I'm one of the few people out there who still really loves the slam dunk contest and looks forward to it every year. It's not always great, but I tend to view it more like going to a movie -- sometimes they aren't good, but just because this iteration isn't great, it doesn't mean movies aren't good in general. This one will be fun. You have to love Barton chances in it. But man, there are couple of high-flyers in it with the defending champion, Zach LaVine and Orlando's Aaron Gordon. Barton has his work cut out for him, but if we're to take any cues from his season so far it's this: He's fully capable of rising to the occasion.

Christopher Dempsey, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @dempseypost