With the regular season winding down, the Denver Nuggets currently sit head and shoulders at the top of the Western Conference. The team is being led by leading MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and is healthy with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back from injuries that kept them out of the lineup last season.
Despite the West having a major shakeup to a lot of the teams in the conference, the Nuggets have still been able to keep hold of the number one seed.
The West has a lot of star players in their conference, but none of their teams match the depth and talent the Nuggets roster possesses.
While a lot of people would look at teams like the Lakers, Suns, and Clippers as the favorites to be the Western Conference Champions, the Nuggets should still be the clear favorites to take the conference for a few reasons.
1. Star Players’ Health
Some of the toughest teams the Nuggets can face in the playoffs might not be the healthiest when the postseason comes around. Players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant have been dealing with injuries for several portions of the season and those problems might linger into the playoffs.
A team like the Lakers might not be able to play to its full potential due to the injuries that the team has. They are a team that many teams would not want to see, but the health of Anthony Davis and LeBron are worrisome when that time of year comes around.
The Clippers have a similar problem. While Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have been healthy for a good amount of time, their health has not been the best for the past few years and could come back to bite them down the line. If they find themself in a long series with a team like the Nuggets in the playoffs, their bodies might break down on them the longer and more physical it is.
The Suns might have made the biggest move at the trade deadline ever when they traded for Kevin Durant, but he recently returned from injuries and injured himself again in warmups. The team also traded away key players like Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson to acquire him, and not having them will make it harder for them to make it far in the playoffs if they don’t have KD back by then.