Denver Nuggets are competitive and comfortable going into the post season

Denver Nuggets pre-game (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets pre-game (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images) /
Denver Nuggets pre-game (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets pre-game (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images) /

The Denver Nuggets, despite all the injuries, are a tough and competitive team. They have fully bought in and embraced the ‘next man up’ concept.

It seems like they can’t catch a break with injuries, first, it felt like the world was ending with Jamal Murray’s injury. Monte Morris was already dealing with an injury but then Will Barton and P.J. Dozier went down as well and all of a sudden the Denver Nuggets’ regular, reliable rotation of guards had to find contributions elsewhere. There have been a few key reasons why the Nuggets are still competitive and shouldn’t be taken lightly into the postseason.

First things first, the Nuggets have Nikola Jokic who should be this season’s MVP. He’s been everything the Nuggets could possibly ask for as a player and the leader of this team.

No matter who you put around him, he takes it upon himself to set them up for success. No matter what, Jokic makes it hard on teams. He truly makes opponents have to think about the way they play basketball and defend the Nuggets.

Secondly, with all these injuries, it has forced Michael Porter Jr. to step up and be the go-to scorer on the team.

Scoring is MPJ’s specialty and something we always knew he could do so in a way, it was an easy choice. He has grown so much this season and maybe the only bit of light to come out of all the injuries is that the Nuggets get to see what Michael Porter is really about. The Denver Nuggets’ dreams of winning a championship most likely will need Michael Porter to become that consistent scoring threat for the team.

Michael Porter has been more than ready to step up into this role, after all, it is what he grew up doing.

He was always the go-to number one option to get a bucket so it has been impressive that he’s bought into learning everything else about the game he never really has. It’s easy to forget that before his back injury he was only accustomed to high school ball where he was a lot of his team’s offense.

Now in the NBA, MPJ has had to learn other facets of the game like defense and learning how to essentially be a role player and fit in around others that are carrying more of the load. It has been a big learning curve, but the growth he’s shown so far this year has been promising.

The Nuggets have enjoyed others stepping up as well, many were unsure why the Nuggets brought Facundo Campazzo to the team before the season, but with the injuries and the more time he spends on the floor, you can see why. He’s an excellent ballhandler, passer, and he is the ultimate pest on defense.

Opposing players cannot coast when he’s around, he has a knack for being disruptive on defense and if there’s such thing as giving more than maximum effort all the time, that would be Facundo Campazzo.

You can see why people who watched him in the EuroLeague really like him, the more he has the ball in his hands, the more of a playmaker he seems to become.

The Nuggets are getting big contributions from Austin Rivers and Shaq Harrison as well. Both players are quick, fast, and play pesky defense. They will need Austin’s offensive spark going forward, a guard who can put the ball on the floor and get his own buckets is big.

Jokic is mainly the only other player who can get to his spots for easy baskets, MPJ is becoming a better scorer but many of his points involve screens, movement, and passing. Austin has definitely been appreciative of his time with the Nuggets taking in every moment.

Honestly, any team in the Western playoffs this year could win or lose in the first round. The West seems to be wide open this year and the Nuggets sit comfortably at the four seed and will likely play either the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, or Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

Either way, it will be a tough first round and the Nuggets surely don’t want to find themselves in similar situations as the previous two playoffs, but one can expect the series to drag out a bit. The Nuggets will have a good shot with having home court and the MVP advantage on their side.

A likely matchup with the Mavericks would be challenging as the Nuggets have had trouble defending teams that can shoot the three-ball well. Luka Doncic can get to his spots and pass as well as anybody which presents a challenge for any team.

The Trailblazers have Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as one of the better backcourts in the NBA and then the Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis who no team wants to see in the first round.

For the Nuggets, hopefully they realize that teams have to play them as well and they are a tough outing for anyone.

dark. Next. Denver Nuggets: Evaluating Austin Rivers