Nuggets playoffs: Mapping easiest and toughest paths to repeating as NBA champions

Boston Celtics v Denver Nuggets
Boston Celtics v Denver Nuggets / Brendall O'Banon/Clarkson Creative/GettyImages
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Round 1: Easiest - Pelicans, Toughest - Lakers

Some are probably thinking the Nuggets own the Lakers, why wouldn’t that be the easiest matchup? And realistically these should both be fairly easy. But the Lakers still have two All-Time greats on the team who have both had excellent seasons. They’ve finally surrounded LeBron and AD with shooting and the results over the second half of the season have been great.

Despite constantly losing to the Nuggets, they do always seem to make the games close. It’s also not fun to go up against a team that gets every single call. So while it wouldn’t be a particularly hard series, it would likely be an annoying series and one that makes the Nuggets work unnecessarily hard for the first round.

The Pelicans on the other hand have very little reliable size as Jonas Valanciunas is easy work for Nikola Jokic. The team is also unproven and Zion Williamson has been mostly disappointing in big moments so far in his young career. Their other star, Brandon Ingram is green as well. And the only key player on the team with real experience is CJ McCollum.

The Pels at their best have looked great this year, but they’ve struggled with consistency and I just don’t trust them to show up and play their best for a full series.