Nuggets feel Mozgov has the ability to join front-line rotation 29  april  2011
For years, the Nuggets' low post has been occupied by Kenyon Martin and Nene, but it's possible that one — if not both — won't be with the Nuggets next season. Yet even if both big guys return, Denver still feels that Timofey Mozgov can crack the big-man rotation. And maybe even Kosta Koufos too.
Mozgov, the 7-foot-1 Russian rookie, started 14 times for New York before the Carmelo Anthony trade in February, averaging 5.0 points per game and 3.7 rebounds in 17.9 minutes as a starter. He played sparingly for Denver — and battled an ankle injury down the stretch — but Nuggets coach George Karl was complimentary about Mozgov's play in a victory at the Lakers.

Asked if he sees the 24-year-old Mozgov growing into a role in Denver's rotation, Nuggets executive Masai Ujiri said: "No question. Mozgov and Koufos, every day you see them battling it out. And when you have bigs who sleep in the gym, there's always room for success. Those guys bring that. They work and work and work."

The 22-year-old Koufos, also a 7-footer, played well in Denver's final three games, averaging 14.3 points and 7.0 rebounds against the lottery-bound Timberwolves, Warriors and Jazz.

Country pride.

Four Nuggets will spend the summer playing for their national teams. Danilo Gallinari will play for Italy, while Mozgov will play for Russia. Koufos is from Ohio but will play for Greece, and Gary Forbes, also American, will represent Panama in international play.

Gallo's goals.

It's arguable that of all the Nuggets, Gallinari has the biggest upside. The forward said there are many facets of his game he will try to improve this summer: "I especially want to work on my body and try to get my body stronger in order to play all 82 games — and be ready throughout the playoffs and regular season. And I want to work on my post game too."


Nuggets assistant coach Stacey Augmon said he's still up in the air about whether he'll take a job as an assistant at UNLV, his alma mater. Karl said he's waiting for a decision. Augmon is about to undergo knee surgery. . . . Karl also said Arron Afflalo, whom Denver likely will re-sign, is a top candidate to be a Nuggets captain next season.