This got to be one of my favorites bets for the upcoming season and usually those do not fail. Denver Nuggets are one of the most deep teams in the league and in my opinion they have a good chance to finish with the best record in the league next year. Maybe some of you believe that I am too optimistic but this roster is constructed perfectly for the regular season. In the playoffs their chances to win won’t be this high considering their young core and lack of elite defensive players. However, in the regular season a Jokic led offense with so much firepower combined with one of the most deep benches in the league will be a nightmare for the NBA non elite tier teams. I expect this team to destroy weak defenses scoring 120+ points easily and winning in blowouts.
The bookies have the Nuggets at 52.5 wins which is way too low. Last season they managed to win 54 games despite the fact they were pretty bad in the last 2 weeks with 5 wins and 6 losses. This season they should improve considering they did not lose any important pieces and added a very underrated player in Jeremy Grant. They have a very young core with Nikola Jokic (24), Jamal Murray(22), Garry Harris(24), Malik Beasley(22) and some other very young guys that do not have a central role yet. Jokic and Murray are the central pieces for the Nuggets and I think both can take another step forward in their development this upcoming season. They already showed that they can lead a very good regular season team in the past, but I was the most impressed with them when I saw them debuting in the playoffs. Both were absolutely incredible with Jokic averaging 25 points, 8 assists and 13 rebounds and Murray adding 21 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Jokic will be a legitimate MVP candidate this year while Murray will make his way to the top 6-8 point guards in the league.
Next I will present some of the main reasons I believe this team will be one of the strongest in the league next season:
- At Point guard they have Murray who I already said I am very high on. This guy is the perfect partner in crime for their superstar Jokic considering he is not a very high usage pointguard. He is more of a scorer than a passer and this fits perfectly with the best passing center in the history of humankind. Backing him up they have another favorite of mine, Monte Morris. This guy spent almost all his rookie year playing in the G-league but played all 82 games last year as a sophomore. The time in G-league really helped him, considering his great stats as a point guard. He had the second best assists to turnover ratio in the whole league and shot over 41% from the 3 point line. Having a backup that is so efficient is very important and I believe Morris has a good chance to play a similar role to the one Fanvleet played for the NBA champions, Toronto Raptors.
- At shooting guard they have 2 players that could start for a lot of teams in the league in Garry Harris and Malik Beasley. Harris is the more established player but did not have the greatest season because of injuries. However, I love his chemistry with Nikola Jokic and he actually had a pretty impressive end of the season playing good in the playoffs. Some people thought Malik Beasley was kind of a bust before this season but almost everyone changed their minds. Beasley took advantage of Harris injuries and had some great performances reminding people of his potential. Like Monte Morris, Beasley managed to elevate his 3 point shooting with a 40.2 % percent(top 20 in the NBA) while he also went career highs in all major categories. Beasley had some amazing performances when he started averaging almost 16 points per game
- Small forward may be this team biggest weakness, but they still have 3 guys who can play this position at a decent level. The starter is Will Barton who had a good season starting for the first time for the Nuggets after some years playing as the 6th man. He is a good scorer, but he can’t defend elite wing players from the other team. Torrey Craig will be his backup, and he is the opposite of Barton with great defensive abilities and a limited offensive game. The third guy that can play this position is Juancho Hernangomez. I always liked this guy and considered him a steal for the Nuggets in the 2016 draft. So far in his NBA career he had some good moments but also struggled with shooting slumps and injuries. Juanchois clearly a great third option for this position and I believe there are teams who will value him pretty high, so we could see him being part of a trade too.
- At Power forward the Nuggets are also covered with veteran leader Paul Millsap, athletic new signing Jerami Grant and talented sophomore Jared Vanderbilt. Paul Millsap will start at the 4 for the young Nuggets and his experience will help again. This guy only played for winning teams in his career and his great defensive discipline probably helps his team-mates play better on that end of the floor too. Jerami Grant will be one of the best PF backups in the league this season. I can’t wait for him cutting to the basket for some easy dunks and alley-oops from Jokic assists and I truly believe that he will fit instantly with this team philosophy. Jared Vanderbilt is also a very interesting player that was drafted in the second round by the Nuggets in 2018. He was supposed to go way earlier but an injury made teams to pass him. This guy was compared to Ben Simmons due his great vision for a big man and while his role will be limited this season I believe he is a unique player that will have a nice NBA career.
- At center the Nuggets have one of the best players in the league in Nikola Jokic . He is one of my top 3 favorites players in the league along Harden andKawhiso I may be a little subjective when I talk about him. However, I think everybody should agree that there was never a better play making center in the league. If you need proof besides his 7.3 assists last season just watch some highlights with him and you will be convinced he is special. He is the kind of player that makes his team-mates better and an offense led by him is really entertaining to watch. Backing him up they will have Mason Plumlee who is a very good player for his role. 2 season ago he was a starter for the Trail Blazers and could probably still play a more major role for some other teams in the league. He is also a competent play maker for a center so the Nuggets can play a similar type of basketball even when Jokic is resting.
This one is pretty straight forward. The Nuggets are clearly the team with the best chemistry along the elite tier teams in the league. All the other title contenders lost or signed stars. Clippers, Lakers, Rockets , Jazz, 76’ers, Warriors, Celtics , Nets and Heat all lost or got some stars or superstars and will need time to adapt and learn to play with their new rosters. I did not mentioned the Bucks who are also elite because they only lost Brogdon who is not considered a star yet. However this guy was phenomenal for them last season joining Larry Bird,Mark Price, Dirk Nowitzki, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry in the 50,40,90 club. That means he averaged at least 50 FG% , 40 3PT% and 90 % FT! The Nuggets offense got better every season with Jokic learning how to give the best passes to his shooters. Jokic connection with Murray, Harris or Barton is a thing of beauty and it seems that the chemistry between the superstar center and his shooters only gets better every year. Jokic and Murray were by far the most prolific two-man assists combo in the playoffs and should continue that great cooperation in this regular season.
3. Diamonds in the rough!
Nuggets already have some amazing young players that proved their worth in the NBA and also have great depth. Besides those they have 3 guys who may just transform them from one of the many contenders in the league in the team to beat. I am talking about Michael Porter Jr., Bol Bol and Jared Vanderbilt. Those guys all had the potential to be drafted way higher in the draft but for different reasons the fall and Nuggets grabbed them. Just imagine this incredible Nuggets offense get another elite scorer with super star potential! This is exactly what Michael Porter Jr. may become. He was supposed to go top 3 in a draft that also had Doncic, Ayton , Young , Jackson Jr. or Bagley. He is athletic and fast, he is projected to become a very good shooter and also fits Nuggets biggest need playing Small Forward. If this guy ever reach his potential the Nuggets will be very scary! Mark my words! The latest reports says that he is healthy so if nothing bad happens he should be ready for the upcoming season. He won’t play a major role at the start but if he proves that he is 100% I expect him to play more as the season goes on.
Another player with incredible offensive potential is Bol Bol. Let’s start by saying that I do not believe he will play this season in NBA but I had to mention him. I can say I have never seen anybody so young and tall having the kind of touch around the basket and 3 point shooting ability. His problem is his body type and injury proneness. He is very, very skinny with long legs and strong NBA players would easily bully him and potentially injure him right now. If he can gain some weight and improve his core strengh his skills should make him an instant weapon on offense. Like I said I never saw a player with his skills and his height so the potential is clearly there.
The third guy I want to talk about is Jared Vanderbilt. He may have the least potential of the trio but he is also the one with the best health right now. I already talked about him a little and I will just add that a front court with him and Jokic will be intriguing. Like I said his playmaking is great for a big man while he is also athletic so I believe he fits well with the Serbian superstar.
Tip: Nuggets over 52.5 wins – 10 units – 1.83 odds at 888sports