The landscape in the Western Conference was altered by this week's injury news regarding the Denver Nuggets' Danilo Gallinari and Los Angeles Clippers' Chauncey Billups. Gallinari's ankle problems are supposed to sideline him for a month; Billups is definitely out for the rest of this season and may never play in the NBA again.
The Nuggets and Clippers were among a handful of teams capable of challenging the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder in the postseason, so where do these injuries leave them? The situations are completely different, so rather than compare them, we'll just deal with one team at a time.
The Nuggets' calling card ever since last season's blockbuster Carmelo Anthony deal has been depth, which means Denver is likely to come out of Gallinari's absence just fine, right? Perhaps, but to assume that is to underestimate just how good Gallinari has become. He's not only increased his usage rate this season, but he's done so while using his possessions as efficiently as ever. His .597 True Shooting Percentage is right on target with what he put up two seasons ago, when he was using 3 percent fewer possessions.