The Denver Nuggets tip-off their 2019-20 season on Wednesday with a road clash against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nuggets are coming off one of their best seasons in which they won the Northwest Division and the second-seed in the NBA Playoffs. However, they were eliminated in the second round by these same Blazers. Denver enters the season with lofty expectations, unlike previous seasons. And with a roster that has gained valuable experience last season, there is no reason to believe they can’t win the West. Here are three reasons why the Denver Nuggets will win the Western Conference.
Any discussion about the Nuggets starts and ends with the dynamic duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Jokic was a triple-double machine last season, and is the proven leader on this team. He sets the plays, controls the defense, and hypes the team up when it is needed. He did all he could in the seven-game series against the Blazers, finishing with two triple-doubles and six double-doubles. Jokic averaged 20.1 points and 10.8 rebounds last season en route to finishing fourth in NBA MVP voting. Jokic will look to win the trophy this season.
Jamal Murray is the other leader on the Nuggets. He averaged 23.6 points in the series against the Blazers, and provided clutch shooting at the end of games. As the point guard he is the leader on offense, and knows who to look for to shoot and knows when to take the open shot. Murray rested his body in the offseason, choosing to skip the FIBA World Cup to be fresh and ready for this season. The Nuggets will once again rely on Jokic and Murray to lead this team to the postseason.
As with Jokic and Murray, the rest of the roster is unchanged. Gary Harris, Will Barton and Paul Milsap all return to the Nuggets this season. The benefit is each player knows the other and can get off to the hot start needed in the NBA, while the rest of the Western Conference is still learning each other. The injury bug hit Will Barton and Gary Harris last season but they were still effective when they were available. Both will look to stay healthy and play maximum games this season. Milsap averaged 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds last season. The veteran also provides leadership in the locker room.
The bench is also still intact from last season. Malik Beasley was very effective filling in for an injured Murray and Harris last season averaging 11.3 points and shooting 40.2% from three-point range. Monte Morris was another who stepped up when the injury bug hit the Nuggets last season. Morris averaged 10.1 points and hit 41.4 percent from three-point land last season. Mason Plumlee returns as well. Last season he averaged 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. He is versatile and can play the center for Jokic or power forward for Milsap.
The sky is the limit this season for the Denver Nuggets. They enter the season as one of few teams to make little to no changes to their roster. While the rest of the Western Conference made numerous changes, the Nuggets stayed pat. And for that reason, the Denver Nuggets will win the Western Conference this season.
Featured image courtesy of USA Today
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