1. The Denver Nuggets will not finish at the top of Group C.
Though the Denver Nuggets are coming off of their first-ever NBA title, they may not be able to run through this tournament quite as easily as they did last season’s playoffs. Just four teams in each conference will advance from the group stage. Can they be one?
The Nuggets got a pretty tough draw, having to face off against the likes of Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Fred VanVleet, for a chance at the knockout stage. Now, there’s no guarantee that all of those stars will be healthy — particularly Williamson. But, with the tournament being held so early in the season, all signs point to the best health possible.
While the Clippers were the only team besides the Nuggets to find a spot in the playoffs last year, it seems as if the group’s not playoff teams improved enough to make the reigning champs sweat a bit.
Dallas had a tremendous offseason, landing former Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams and the sharpshooting Seth Curry. Houston seems to be ready to vault into competitiveness, as they added Vanvleet and Dillon Brooks to an already promising young core. Plus, New Orleans should finally be healthy with Williamson returning to the lineup.
Yes, the Nuggets are the best team in Group C, but there’s no guarantee that they finish on top of it.