Nuggets Using Playoffs to Find Center of Future

Nuggets Using Playoffs to Find Center of Future

At times, it plays like the Three Stooges vs. the Lakers. Even when you're already 7 feet tall, growing up is hard to do in the NBA playoffs. Ask Denver centers Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov, who are enduring painful lessons.

"They're going to get smacked in the nose," Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri told me Monday. "But this is one of the reasons why we wanted to get in the playoffs."

Who is Denver's center of the future? Nobody knows.

The three centers don't know. Ujiri doesn't know. All we know: Nene is gone, and he's not coming back.

When the Nuggets put Nene and his hefty new contract on the trade block, the team's primary targets were Atlanta center Al Horford and power forward Josh Smith. Either player would have been a major upgrade for Denver. But the Hawks replied: No way.

So it was on to Plan B. The result is an open tryout on a big stage against Los Angeles stars Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

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