Healthy Arthur has big role for Nuggets
Darrell Arthur has played plenty of good basketball in his career, so he won’t easily say these are his best days. But he’s playing at a high level. Arthur’s 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds are his best averages since the 2010-11 season. His field-goal percentage (.485) is the second-best of his career, and his 3-point percentage (.421) destroys his previous career high of .375. He made only 23.6 percent of his shots behind the arc last season.
“He’s been shooting the ball from the field, from the 3 very efficiently,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone.
The biggest reason for Arthur’s reliability? Good health.
“I feel like I’m getting my legs back under me,” Arthur said. That has been a big deal. For the better part of the past two seasons, one injury or another impaired his ability to get in any kind of offensive rhythm. He would be missing time rehabbing or playing through injuries that didn’t allow him to be as effective as he could be.
That hasn’t been a problem this season.
Arthur has missed only three games, and he has been counted on more because of injuries and absences to other members of the Nuggets’ frontcourt. In the past two games, Arthur is averaging 18.0 points and 9.5 rebounds. He is shooting 69.6 percent from the field in that span. The rebounding stands out. “The knock on D.A. is always ‘He’s this, he’s that, but he’s not a big rebounding forward,’ ” Malone said. “Well, I tell you what, when Kenneth (Faried) was out when his wife was having the baby, and (last Wednesday against Golden State), D.A. has shown he can shoot. You can trust him, and he can also rebound the basketball at a fairly high level.”
Arthur, a 6-foot-9 forward, scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Nuggets’ 98-95 loss to Miami on Friday.
“My legs are feeling good. I think my teammates are doing a good job finding me,” the Kansas product said. “I think we’re doing a great job of moving the basketball.”
Arthur has been everything the Nuggets hoped he would be when he re-signed with them last summer, a two-year contract in the neighborhood of $6 million, with a player option. Arthur was close to signing with the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent, but after talking to Denver general manager Tim Connelly and Malone, Arthur was convinced the Nuggets were on the right path. He said he wanted to be a part of that.
Lately, he has been a big part of what the Nuggets are doing on the court.
“I have trust in him as a defensive anchor, as an offensive anchor,” Malone said. “You feel good when he has the ball. You feel good that he’s going to communicate on defense. He’s going to step up and make the right play. He’s been tremendous lately. I can’t say enough good things about D.A.”
Darrell Arthur, right, is playing well for the Nuggets at age 27. He is averaging 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 37 games, including nine starts. David Zalubowski, The Associated Press