Obviously, nothing about what the Nuggets will do this summer is set in stone, but coach Brian Shaw has a couple of things on his wish list.

"There are some things that we drastically need," Shaw said. "We need one or two players to come to the forefront as leaders, policemen, whatever you want to call them. We need that. It can't come from the coaching staff.

"So, whether that's a veteran presence that everybody would respect immediately, that's going to come in and hold everybody accountable, we need that. We need a perimeter defender, (off guard or small forward), who's a lock-down defender. We don't have that. So those couple of little tweaks or changes on top of what we have, I think we'll be OK."

The massive number of injuries to key players this season has Shaw confident an extreme makeover isn't necessary.

"I think there has to be some change," Shaw said. "It doesn't mean that we have to have a face-lift and change everything."

There is an order to all of this, of course. The Nuggets are five games from the end of their season. Then there is the draft lottery May 20, when they will find out which lottery pick they will have. From there, things can begin to happen. The draft is June 26. Free agency starts in early July.

The injuries have made roster evaluation tough.

"That's the frustrating thing about even going into this offseason, looking forward to next season still having question marks as to what we really have," Shaw said. "Didn't see (Danilo Gallinari) at all. Had JaVale (McGee) for five games — and he was already a question mark as to if he was capable of being that starting center. We still don't know."

What Shaw does know is that he would like to find out what the majority of these guys, altogether next season, can do when healthy.

"Even with the question marks that we've had, I've said I loved the depth of this roster when I first got here and if everybody is healthy and we have everybody available, then I still love it," Shaw said. "Because I think that we have pieces that are very interchangeable, very versatile."

For example, Shaw said, "There's things I had in mind of being able to do with Gallo and Wilson (Chandler). Our motto was, with our depth, wear 'em down and then wear 'em out with the second unit. We never really got to that."

Christopher Dempsey: cdempsey@denverpost.com or twitter.com/dempseypost


7 p.m. Wednesday, ALT; 950 AM

Spotlight on Omer Asik: He was a one-man rebounding band in the first half of the Nuggets' 130-125 loss at Houston on Sunday night. Asik has always been that way, but he ripped down rebound after rebound on his way to 23 in the Rockets' win. He had 17 of them in the first half before the Nuggets got him under control. They'll look to do so earlier this time.


Nuggets: Guard Ty Lawson (ankle) is not expected to play against the Rockets. "He's doing better but still not well enough to (play). ... I don't think he's close to getting back on the court at this time," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. ... Forward Darrell Arthur did not practice because of a sore knee, but he is expected to play against the Rockets, Shaw said.

Rockets: Houston comes into this game on the second of a back-to-back set, with a game scheduled late Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. Houston did not suit up Dwight Howard (ankle) against the Lakers, and he is questionable to play against the Nuggets. ... The Rockets are 8-11 at the Pepsi Center in the past 12 seasons. 

Christopher Dempsey, The Denver Post