|Fox Bet NJ||+1800|
Season Record: 54-28, 2nd in the Western Conference
Head Coach: Mike Malone
Most Frequent Starting Five (22 Games): (G) Jamal Murray – (G) Gary Harris – (F) Will Barton – (F) Paul Millsap – (C) Nikola Jokic
13 July 2018 – Traded F Darrell Arthur, F-C Kenneth Faried, a 2019 first-round pick, and a 2020 second-round pick to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for G Isaiah Whitehead.
16 July 2018 – Signed G Isaiah Thomas as a free agent.
25 July 2018 – Signed G Monte Morris to a multi-year contract.
The Nuggets Are Back on Track
In 18-19 the Denver Nuggets posted their first consecutive winning season since 12-13, where they lost in the Western Conference first round. A young team with some veteran pieces, all seemed to be in place for the Nuggets to succeed. Despite injuries and a disappointing end, their 18-19 campaign was very much a success.
All Eyes on The Joker
— Eurohoops.net (@Eurohoopsnet) September 6, 2019
Whether you’re at the movie theatre or watching the TV screen, The Joker has been thrilling fans. Nikola Jokic came into the league a pudgy and sluggish boy. He is now one of the most dynamic centers we’ve seen since Sabonis and is giving the league fits with MVP-level play.
Jamal Murray Is Dangerous
— NBA (@NBA) May 8, 2019
While the play of Nikola Jokic took headlines, Jamal Murray was near an All-Star himself this year. The Canadian has always been a deadeye shooter, but his abilities off the ball with Jokic at the helm have only improved his production. Murray seems to be Canada’s most successful basketball export in years.
The Injury Bug Hit Denver
The Denver Nuggets were able to pull off once of their most successful seasons in history. Amazingly, it came during an injury-riddled season. The combination of Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, and Will Barton missed a combined total of 83 games in the 18-19 season. It was certainly a detriment to their rhythm come playoff time.
Questions at Power Forward
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 2, 2018
With Paul Millsap injured for parts of the year, the Nuggets looked for support from other members. They failed to find that in Juan Hernangomez and Trey Lyles, who were both expected to play a more beneficial role. Neither were able to quite find the mark offensively – Lyles in particular, who shot a career-low 25.5% from three.
It Wasn’t IT Time
The Denver Nuggets were fairly swinging for the fences when they signed Isaiah Thomas to a contract. Still only 29 years old, the one-time All-Star was thought to be on the road to recovery and redemption with the Nuggets. Instead, he failed to feature significantly, with sophomore Monte Morris overtaking him in the rotation.
A Youthful Surprise
Monte Morris goes reverse then stares down Dame ? pic.twitter.com/rZPgMtIqai
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 12, 2019
Finding a capable backup to Jamal Murray was an important task for the Nuggets front office this past summer. They were able to sign Isaiah Thomas, but the true answer lied in an asset that they already had. Monte Morris grew to be a steady force for the Nuggets. appearing every game, averaging 10.4 points per game, and owning a near five-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio.
Torrey Craig Is Denver’s Enforcer
? Torrey Craig ?
? is on FIRE. ?
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 20, 2019
Denver’s Torrey Craig is generally not who you turn to for a bucket in the clutch. Instead, is the player that enforces your defensive identity from the minute he steps on the court. Craig showed he as the ability to guard one through four at times this past season. His versatility was vital to their success, while he improved offensively as the season grew on.
Mason Plumlee Was Brilliant
Dunk fest! Mason Plumlee made all 11 of his shots in the Nuggets win over the Lakers. pic.twitter.com/1MjSRiheEY
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 3, 2018
Another lynchpin to the Nuggets’ success this past year was the play of Mason Plumlee. A versatile forward-center with little technical ability, Plumlee was finally healthy and able to display his athleticism. His contributions on defense were brilliant, able to guard equally well in the paint and perimeter to help spell his less adept teammates.
The Denver Nuggets did not have a draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. They chose to acquire a new prospect via the trade route. What a prospect they acquired!
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) September 18, 2019
The sample size for Bol Bol is quite small. While he starred for the Ducks in his few games, questions were raised regarding his long-term health. What Bol Bol does bring to the table is the incredible size at 7’2 and the modern skillset of an inside-out big man. He has much to prove.
After being projected as a clear top-fifteen pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the big night went in a different direction for the son of NBA Legend Manute Bol. Falling all the way to the second round with no contract guarantee, his role is still up in the air.
Bol signed to a two-way contract with the Denver Nuggets. Which means that he will be splitting time with the Nuggets and his assigned G-League team. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, there are one of two teams that do not own a designated minor league affiliate.
?? OFFICIAL ??
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 8, 2019
While the rest of the NBA was focused on the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, the Denver Nuggets may have made the steal of the summer. In acquiring Jerami Grant, they now have one of the NBA’s premier young forwards.
Grant is coming off of a wonderful year with the Thunder. A force on both ends of the court, Grant is likely to make up for last years reserve shortcomings at power forward.
|18-19||22||San Pablo Burgos||33||22.9||10.2||3.8||1.2||.464||.333|
Draft-and-stash Vlatko Cancar here at Nuggets Summer League practice. Michael Porter Jr going through very light shooting in socks. pic.twitter.com/iXxZa8qAfm
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) July 3, 2018
Drafted in 2017 from the same club as current Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, Vlatko Cancar expects to be a versatile forward on the offensive end. He had the best season of his career last year in Liga ACB but will have to show he has the defensive capacity to match his offensive potential. That is of course if he wants to play a key role.
I see you PJ Dozier!!! pic.twitter.com/kRbXFrtbuF
— Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) April 10, 2019
Dozier joins the Nuggets as a prospective third-string point guard for the side. He rarely appeared for Boston last year but was brilliant with their G-League affiliate the Maine Red Claws. Dozier is a crafty combo-guard with a need to improve his shooting. Training camp will soon decide his fit.
The Denver Nuggets need energy bigs to make up for the sluggish pace of star man Nikola Jokic. Enter Tyler Zeller, a Plumlee-esque big man, with less athleticism but more grit on the glass. He played sparingly last season due to injury issues but impressed in limited minutes. Even as injury insurance, Zeller is a great addition.
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|Jamal Murray||Gary Harris||Will Barton||Paul Millsap||Nikola Jokic|
|Monte Morris||Malik Beasley||Torrey Craig||Jerami Grant||Mason Plumlee|
|PJ Dozier||Vlatko Cancar||Michael Porter Jr||Tyler Zeller|
|Jarred Vanderbilt||Bol Bol (Two-Way)|
Last season the Denver Nuggets finished second in the Western Conference. While they will rely on continuity in order to fuel their success, it isn’t likely they’ll catch up with the monstrous Los Angeles sides.
Denver will still rely on their unique home-court advantage at altitude and a gritty defensive effort. They will hope to finish at the top of their division, in order to secure a valuable home-court advantage.
Due to the improvement of other sides, Denver won’t likely finish in the top two. But expect significant improvements from Jokic and Murray as they lead their team into the spotlight.
Odds will be updated as they are made available.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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