http://www.denverstiffs.com/2013/3/17/4116930/golden-nuggets-is-wilson-chandler-the-nuggets-mvpThe win / loss record speaks for itself.
Since returning to the Nuggets from a nasty hip injury / surgery on January 13th, Wilson Chandler has been on the losing end of a game just four times in 26 tries - an 84.6% winning record. And in 41 games played without Chandler this season, the Nuggets are 23-18 - not much better than .500.
That's astounding considering Chandler doesn't start (Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried are permanent fixtures at the two, three and four starting spots, respectively), doesn't shoot particularly well (43.6% from the field), plays less than 25 minutes per game and has given mixed signals via Twitter about his happiness being in Denver in the first place.
Moreover, Chandler - he of the flexible game and flexible salary structure - is usually at the top of the list when trade rumors surface about the Nuggets. But if the Nuggets recent winning ways with Chandler in the lineup are any indication, perhaps the Nuggets should consider trading anyone but Chandler. Because simply put, with Chandler in the lineup the Nuggets are far better than anyone foresaw them to be (including this fan).
The reasons for the Nuggets exceptional success with Chandler on the floor seem to be more subtle than stat-driven. For starters, as another small forward who can go for 20-plus points on any given night, Chandler spares Gallinari from the pressure of having to deliver those 20 himself in every game. And like Gallo, Chandler's ranginess enables him to guard the opposing team's small and power forwards, allowing Gallo to rest up a bit on the defensive end, too.
The same Chandler does for Gallo he does for Iguodala, as the versatile Chandler can guard the opposing team's two-guards, as well. And when Chandler spells Faried (and thus the Nuggets go small), Chandler's ability to make a three-pointer - where he connects an impressive 41% of the time - stretches the floor, forcing the opposition's power forward to play outside his comfort zone defensively.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, Chandler isn't afraid to take - and can make - big shots. Chandler rarely makes "the big shot" to tie or close out a game in the final seconds, but he seems to routinely make "the shot before the big shot" which often puts the Nuggets in a position to close out tight games.