Afflalo believes Nuggets can win big

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Now that he's back on the Nuggets, Arron Afflalo believes Denver has the makings of a championship club.

Afflalo was re-acquired by the Nuggets in a draft-night trade with the Orlando Magic after being traded as part of a four-team, 12-player deal in 2012 that helped Dwight Howard go to the Lakers.

Now that he's back in Denver, he's thinking big.

"Being traded for me is a positive experience," Afflalo told "I really enjoyed my time in Orlando. [General manager] Rob [Hennigan], [assistant GM] Scott [Perry], Coach [Jacque Vaughn], the assistants and all of my teammates really helped me develop as a player and as a person over the past two seasons so I'm very thankful for my opportunity there.

"I'm happy to be back in Denver, I got some very familiar teammates. I believe this is a championship team under the right mindset and coaching." 

The 28-year-old Afflalo is coming off a season with Orlando in which he averaged career highs in points (18.2), rebounds (3.6) and assists (3.4). He also made 128 3-pointers. But the Magic didn't win many games, finishing 23-59.

In Afflalo's two seasons in Orlando, the Magic won just 43 games total. In contrast, the Nuggets had made the playoffs every season since 2003 before last season's subpar campaign (36-46) that was largely a result of injuries that decimated coach Brian Shaw's team. Danilo Gallinari missed all of last season because of a knee injury, while fellow starters Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler both missed 20 games.

Afflalo, who played three seasons with the Nuggets before his trade to Orlando, said he's excited at the prospect of getting back in the playoffs. 

"It feels good because at the end of the day that's why you play the game," Afflalo told "You play the game to win it all. Individually you want to improve as a player and all of us it's a job, it's a career and that's very important but it's a team sport and you want to play for a championship and there's nothing else to say." 

He's also motivated, he says, because playing on a competitive team might help him achieve his goal of becoming an All-Star.

"I learned firsthand last year that it's somewhat of a team goal as well. You have to be on a good team and you have to be playing competitive basketball while being a good player as well," he told the website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.