Season preview: Denver Nuggets

Season preview: Denver Nuggets

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Season preview: Denver Nuggets

STAYING: Will Barton, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig, Gary Harris, Juan Hernangomez, Nikola Jokic, Tyler Lydon, Paul Millsap, Monte Morris, Jamal Murray and Mason Plumlee.

ADDED: DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (Bakken Bears), Trey Lyles (Utah), Michael Porter (Missouri), Xavier Silas, Emanuel Terry (Lincoln Memorial), Isaiah Thomas (LA Lakers), Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky) and Thomas Welsh (UCLA).

GONE: Darrell Arthur (Phoenix), Wilson Chandler (Philadelphia), Kenneth Faried (Brooklyn), Devin Harris (Dallas) and Richard Jefferson.

STRENGTHS: They are stacked with quality players … Just phenomenal depth … They doubled down on their young core and traded away veterans … It’s a gamble that should pay off … Offensively, Nikola Jokic is one of the most gifted basketball players … Basketball IQ is off the charts … Can rebound and pass the ball with the best of them … Could probably score more with added selfishness/aggressiveness … It’s not that Denver will hurt for points, anyway … It’s an extremely potent offense with many players who can shoot the ball and/or create off the dribble … Additional firepower if Isaiah Thomas can get back near his All-Star level … They outrebounded opponents by 2.9 boards per game on average last season … That was the second-best mark in the league … A healthy Paul Millsap boosts the team’s defense … With so many assets, they should be players at the trade deadline if a star becomes available.

WEAKNESSES: Defense … Perimeter D specifically … Nuggets come off a season in which they were the worst NBA team at defending the three-point shot … They finished No. 26 in defensive rating overall … Denver is first-round fodder at best if that doesn’t improve … Such amount of talent is typically a good thing … Sometimes it can hurt chemistry, though, with not enough touches to go around … They will play in the conference where pretty much all superstars are … As of now, they don’t have any.

PREDICTION: 3rd in the Northwest Division, 6th in the Western Conference.

SALARIES: 

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