Six months before training camp, the position battles have already begun.

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw acknowledged Saturday that he is intrigued by the competition that figures to take place when Denver reconvenes with a healthy roster next fall.

He spoke specifically about Timofey Mozgov and JaVale McGee going head-to-head for the starting job at center.

McGee started the first five games of 2013-14 before being sidelined with a stress fracture in his left tibia. He eventually needed surgery and never returned to the lineup.

Mozgov, meanwhile, has been one of Denver’s most improved players while playing all 80 games this season. He followed up his 23-point, 29-rebound game against Golden State with another double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) Saturday night against the Utah Jazz.

Over his past seven games, Mozgov is averaging 17.4 points and 9.6 rebounds.

“I told JaVale even before he had season-ending surgery, ‘Timo’s coming for you. It’s not a given that anything is going to be handed to you when you come back.’ ” Shaw said.

“Timo’s had his struggles, but he’s had his bright moments and he continues to work and continues to improve. JaVale is still a question mark. It’ll be a very interesting competition next season once everybody comes back healthy.”

McGee is one of three Denver rotation players who will miss at least 38 games due to injury this season. Forward Danilo Gallinari (knee) has not played all season and guard Nate Robinson appeared in 44 games before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 29. In addition, forward J.J. Hickson will end up missing the final 13 games with his own ACL tear.