The Denver Nuggets are one of the more exciting young teams in the NBA. They have returned to their high-tempo offense, capitalizing on the high-altitude and skills of their young core. Led by analytics legend and budding star Nikola Jokic the Nuggets will be looking to avenge their 9th seed from the 2017-2018 season. If Paul Millsap can remain healthy and one of Jamal Murray or Gary Harris can take the next step to be a legitimate second option, then the Nuggets could be a strong candidate to be a playoff team for the 2018-2019 season. Because of their youth and obvious talent, the Nuggets will be a team that the likes of Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets will try to avoid in the first round of the playoffs. Here is the Nuggets Season Preview:
Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Denver Nuggets Season Preview
2017-2018 Record: 46-36 (9th in the Western Conference)
What Worked Last Season
The emergence of Nikola Jokic as an All-Star caliber player along with two talented scorers in Jamal Murray and Gary Harris was most notable last season. Jokic recently inked a five-year $148-million maximum contract extension on the heels of the 2017-2018 season. During his 75 games, Jokic averaged 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists on 50% FG% and 39.6% on his three-point attempts. What makes Jokic such a dangerous threat is his ability to pass the ball, constantly finding open shooters. The offense is completely geared for him to create for others, as he averaged 30% of his team’s total assists. The only non-point guards to average more assists per game than Jokic were Draymond Green and LeBron James, although James plays like a point guard most of the time.
Apart from Jokic, this is a team that has a lot of scoring depth. While Jokic is the unquestionably the star of the team, there were six other players who averaged at least 10 ppg in the 2017-18 season; Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Wilson Chandler, and Trey Lyles. They love to space the floor and were the seventh best three-point shooting team in the league last season. Jamal Murray continued to make tremendous strides, nearly doubling his points per game while improving his FG% by 5 points and 3pt% by 4 points.
What Needs Improvement
To say Denver was not a great defensive team would be generous. They ranked 26th in defensive rating while allowing 109 points per game. What must be even more frustrating for Denver fans is that opponents were scoring easily on them. They ranked dead last in opponent field goal percentage at 47% and dead last in opponent 3pt field goal percentage at 38%. It is a miracle that they came as close to the playoffs as they did last season …read more