clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Preview: Denver Nuggets


Record:  45-37, 2nd in Northwest Division, 6th in Western Conference

Statistical Comparisons:


3rd in the league in scoring (105.4 ppg)
26th in opponent scoring (103.7 ppg)
28th in three-point %  
5th in assists
2nd in steals
28th in turnovers
4th in opponent turnovers


9th  in ppg differential (+1.6 ppg)
7th (tie) in field goal %  
15th in opponent field goal %
8th in blocks
Good offensive rebounding team
Low-Average defensive rebounding team

Significant Additions:  
Chucky Atkins, Steven Hunter, Von Wafer

Significant Subtractions:
Steve Blake, Reggie Evans

George Karl

Key Players

PG:  Chucky Atkins, Anthony Carter
SG:   Allen Iverson, J.R. Smith, Yakhouba Diawara, Von Wafer
SF:  Carmelo Anthony, Eduardo Najera
PF:  Nene Hilario, Linas Kleiza, Kenyon Martin
C:  Marcus Camby, Steven Hunter

Comments:  Let's get something out of the way up front.  I don't like the Nuggets.  I don't want to like the Nuggets.  I'm not really fond of Allen Iverson.  It's not so much the lifestyle or the coach killing, it's more the "30 points on 30 shots" mentality I've always bristled at.  I've long thought Carmelo Anthony was over-hyped.  J.R. Smith is a headcase.  Kenyon Martin is a headcase and a knee-case.  Every fiber in my being urges me to type the words "Overrated, not enough chemistry, going down in flames mwah-hah-hah!"  (sigh)  I can't.  They're decent.  They might be more than decent this year.  Oh, the humanity.

On most teams with two "shoot first, shoot always" superstars you'd predict chemistry problems.  It ain't happening between Carmelo and AI.  They both averaged an obnoxious amount of points and shots playing together last year.  Plus the team was near the top of the league in assists.  The solution was so simple it makes you smack your head.  Get more shots up and there will be enough for everybody!  They play decent defense, especially for a high-octane offensive team.  Their frontline is capable and occasionally imposing.  With guys like Kleiza and Diawara growing into their roles they're deep enough to survive the season.  Chucky Atkins was even a good pick-up for them...a guy who doesn't need the ball but can score with sizzle when he does get it.  Kenyon Martin coming back in any kind of condition to play would just be icing on the cake.

They do have some weaknesses.  Unless Von Wafer plays himself into a more prominent role they're still lacking great deep shooters.  But then a team this athletic shouldn't be chucking from deep anyway.  Drive and draw fouls.  They're not great defensive rebounders and that probably won't change.  They turn the ball over a ton but then again look at how opportunistic their own defense is.  It pretty much evens out.

Denver is not really a threat to contend for a title.  There are too many talented, rock solid teams ahead of them.  But with another year together Denver is going to be that team that nobody wants to face in the playoffs because they can blister you on any given night.  They should find a great deal of regular season success.  If they remain healthy it wouldn't surprise me to see them up their win total over the coveted 50 mark and give Utah a run for the division title.

--Dave (