Denver Nuggets predicted to decline as a team according to ESPN

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The Denver Nuggets are ranked as one of the NBA’s best teams, considering that they are the defending NBA champs. They’re projected to have one of the best records in the NBA, which makes sense. With Nikola Jokić still playing at an MVP-caliber rate, there’s no reason that the Denver Nuggets should not make the playoffs at the minimum.

Some are not too confident in Denver’s team, though. Kevin Pelton of ESPN wrote recently that the Denver Nuggets could be one of the few teams in the NBA to see some regression in their team.

Having a slight regression when it comes to Denver’s success could make sense. More people have a lot higher expectations now for the team, considering they are NBA champions. Now that Denver has been recognized as a powerhouse team and a true contender, people will want to see more out of them.

In theory, Denver’s bench should be a bit worse this season. Unless a major trade occurs, the Nuggets’ bench will be more lackluster, considering both Bruce Brown and Jeff Green left in free agency. Brown was Denver’s sixth man and designated glue guy. His impact off of the bench in the playoffs was no joke, which helped him secure a massive bag from the Indiana Pacers this offseason.

Christian Braun is slated to be the Nuggets’ sixth man at this point in time, as he was the only regular member of Denver’s rotation when the playoffs came around. Other names on the bench are a bit old, while the others are inexperienced. DeAndre Jordan and Reggie Jackson are too old to be in the rotation, while Zeke Nnaji, Julian Strawther, and Jalen Pickett are all too young and inexperienced to be a regular member of the Nuggets’ rotation.

The starting five, though, looks to be impenetrable. Jamal Murray looks to be an All-Star this season, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a reliable 3-and-D swingman, Michael Porter Jr. has taken strides on both sides of the floor, Aaron Gordon is becoming one of the NBA’s most versatile forwards, and Nikola Jokić is in MVP conversations yearly at this point.

Realistically, even if the Denver Nuggets do have a slight drop-off in success, there’s no reason they should be written out and not be considered a contender come playoff time. This roster has proven that they can be successful and win when they need to most, so why would they not be considered title favorites?

Next. Nuggs assistant stands by Jokic's decision. dark

The Denver Nuggets may see a bit of a drop-off in their win total, which is okay. They already etched their names in NBA history, and they no longer have anything to prove.