Will Barton needs to stick with the Denver Nuggets—which is sensible. They helped salvage his profession after he came visiting from the Portland Trail Blazers as a part of the Arron Afflalo commerce. He’s since morphed into one of many NBA’s most plucky bench contributors, even garnering some Sixth Man of the Year consideration over every of the previous two seasons.
Knowing all this, certainly Barton and the Nuggets will discover widespread floor in free company this summer season. He could have turned down an extension final offseason, however the market isn’t anticipated to be notably strong this yr. A happy-medium worth has to exist.
And maybe it does. But that received’t cease Barton from exploring his choices. He needs a everlasting beginning position, which may lead him to depart Denver, per The Denver Post‘s Gina Mizell:
“We’re building something real special here,” Barton mentioned Thursday. “I love playing with (Nikola Jokic) and Jamal (Murray) and Gary (Harris). The guys we have in the locker room, I like being around. The coaching staff has really come a long way with trusting me and me trusting them. Just the whole organization, I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.” . . .
“If I would be able to know I would be a starter coming into next season, that would push me in the offseason,” Barton mentioned. “It’s something that I’ve never been before or done before. That’s what makes me who I am and what makes me better every year. That will definitely be a goal of mine.”
Barton’s want to begin, whereas comprehensible, might trigger some points for the Nuggets. Four of their 5 starters are locked and loaded, assuming nothing drastic modifications between now and subsequent yr: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic. That fifth spot doesn’t essentially have to belong to Wilson Chandler, who may be a free agent himself (participant possibility). But the Nuggets would in all probability favor it go to a more true wing who can sort out among the hardest defensive assignments.
That, in spite of everything, was their largest Achilles heel this previous season—wing depth. The four-starters-plus-Barton lineup completed the yr with a internet ranking north of 30, however it additionally solely appeared in 13 video games and doesn’t appear to have the defensive versatility to survive long run. If Murray makes a defensive leap and Millsap stays wholesome, maybe it might work. But then who do the Nuggets flip to as their second-headliner? And how a lot are they prepared to make investments in Barton and this theoretical starting-lineup mannequin?
Questions abound in Denver this summer season. It’ll be fascinating to see whether or not the Nuggets are prepared to commit the cash and position required to hold Barton in city.
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