Nuggets coach Brian Shaw calls Darrell Arthur his "safety net." That's good for long-term roster security, but it can mean trouble on a young team. Namely, trouble getting on the court.

That cost Arthur some playing time early, but he's seen the court a lot more with the injury to JaVale McGee shortening the big- man pool. In the first four games of the season, Arthur averaged 11.5 minutes. Starting with the Phoenix game, which McGee couldn't finish because of a stress fracture, Arthur has averaged 17.6 minutes.

He's shown himself to be arguably the Nuggets' best big man in the pick-and-roll defense. And he's a reliable shooter.

"He's a safety net for us," Shaw said. "With him, he might be kind of, without a better way of saying it, he was the sacrificial lamb early on. But I know what I'm going to get out of him.