Timofey Mozgov stayed with the Denver Nuggets last summer and took advantage of his opportunity in the 2013/14 campaign, putting together what many consider a breakout season. He might even have been impressive enough to remain the starter next year, according to Chris Dempsey of Denver Post.
Mozgov began the 2013-14 season as a backup center with few expectations, but after starter JaVale McGee went down with a stress fracture five games in, Mozgov took advantage of having more playing time and ended the season as the front-runner to be a starter next season.
Mozgov went into the year as the third-string center, hoping to earn some minutes off the bench behind JaVale McGee and JJ Hickson. When McGee went down, Hickson got the starting nod, at least until rookie head coach Brian Shaw realized that a starting frontcourt of Hickson and Faried was a complete and utter disaster defensively.
Eventually Shaw entrusted Mozgov, who was able to make up for some of Faried’s flaws on the defensive end. Mozgov and Darrell Arthur formed a reliable defensive frontcourt and the two were Shaw’s go-to guys when the team desperately needed to step up defensively.
Mozgov also showed improvements offensively, hitting some jumpers and being able to score some points in the post and through the pick-and-roll. He received more playing time than ever in April and took full advantage, putting up 15.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, including a 23-point and 29-rebound outburst, in the final month of the regular season.
The plan for Denver was obviously to make McGee the starter and try to capitalize on his potential, but the way Mozgov ended the season he is certainly in the running for the starting duties next year.