The Denver Nuggets are a super successful team, to the tune of an NBA championship. Nikola Jokic has been a Hall-of-Fame level player, and that case was solidified ever since he won Finals MVP a few months ago.
The Denver Nuggets as a whole team, though, are in an interesting spot. Yes, they are defending champs and do have a solid chance to win the title this year. With Jokic and Jamal Murray at the helm, there’s no reason they cannot be competitive.
What did the Denver Nuggets do in the offseason? The only things they really did in the offseason were signing veterans and drafting a few players, who might not be able to fill in the shoes that Bruce Brown left behind when we signed to Indiana.
The Western Conference added a lot of talent in total. The Phoenix Suns added Bradley Beal, the Golden State Warriors added Chris Paul, the Lakers added a lot of players to fill in some voids, and the Memphis Grizzlies added Marcus Smart.
The Western Conference is a lot more talented than it was last year, and the Nuggets might not be able to run through the playoffs like they did last year. Considering the Nuggets’ lack of acquisitions compared to others, it could be detrimental to their success.
The Ringer recently wrote an article on the five teams in the NBA to define this season the most. Other Western Conference teams mentioned in the article were the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Denver, though, did not add anyone like the Grizzlies and Thunder did. The Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks were also mentioned, which is a bit humorous considering one team was almost guaranteed to trade for Damian Lillard, while the other actually did get him.
"Denver has a few quirks in its rotation to sort out after losing Bruce Brown in free agency, but the fact that Christian Braun, Reggie Jackson, and Peyton Watson are figures of league-altering intrigue speaks to the Nuggets’ defining power in the league landscape. We live in a world where Denver is the front-runner for the NBA title from the opening day of the season. Soon, we’ll see how the entire league—including a Nuggets team new to the psychology of setting the pace—reckons with that fact."
The bench unit could be a real problem. Christian Braun is the only experienced player on the roster who could get minutes. Maybe Reggie Jackson could get some playing time, but he is well past his prime, and the same goes for DeAndre Jordan.
The Phoenix Suns were able to add a good amount of depth for minimum contracts back in the offseason, and it may not be a really good bench, but it could be enough to get by during the playoffs or if one of their star players gets injured.
Jokic and Murray could definitely carry the load offensively and would be able to carry the Nuggets throughout the playoffs if need be. Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Michael Porter Jr. can all step up in big moments, too. Braun is really talented and probably be Denver’s sixth man.
The Denver Nuggets are a championship-caliber team, no doubt. But considering the expectations and the teams around them getting better, it will be even harder to win a championship this season. They definitely are a team that can define this season.
Maybe the Nuggets will be NBA champs, or maybe they won’t be. It’s hard to say at this point in time. The team has a good chance to be really successful, but we will not know for a while how they will play as a team in the regular season.