The Denver Nuggets have talent, but their problems are in the range of not being able to put it on the floor. The Nuggets main contributors in 2015 managed to miss a combined 80+ games; then many wonder why they finished the season 33-49 in a tough Western Conference.
But everything could change in 2016.
The team appears to have cleared their health issues, as Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Jusef Nurkic should all be ready to go come Training Camp. What this means is that the Nuggets will throw one of most versatile teams on the floor in 2016. Gallinari, despite his injury history, is still the leader of this team and what was expected of the Nuggets after losing 20 points per, but the loss/win column was affected by more than Gallinari. Chandler is a huge reason for their troubled season as he and Gallinari shared war stories on the bench.
What they did or didn’t accomplish last season is out the window, but what should the NBA expect in 2016? The Nuggets will be a competitive team, to say the least. In the backcourt is youth and athleticism with Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, and Will Barton. Mudiay proved last season that he was capable of being the full-time starter at PG with pers of 13 points and six assists. While Harris may start, it’s usually Barton who finishes, with ’16 averages of 14 points and six rebounds compared to Harris and his 12 per game.
But if you’re wondering how I think the Nuggets can make the playoffs, it’s the same reason I believe The Golden State Warriors won’t win the West. This is not the same conference as last year. The Houston Rockets will not be a contender and neither will the Dallas Mavericks, meaning there will be two vacant spots up for grabs. The Jazz has a respectable team but if the Nuggets can light a fire under Kenneth Faried and get solid production from Nurkic and Nikola Jukic the playoffs are not out of the question.
Hopefully, we will get to see a full season of Mudiay, Chandler, Faried, and Gallinari and watch as they build that all-important on-court chemistry. The Nuggets will be as diverse as any team in the NBA as each player brings their certain element to a unit that will be fun to watch. Mudiay has the speed, Gallinari, the range, Faried the power and Chandler, the finesse. On paper, the Nuggets look average like they might be headed towards another lottery pick in ’17, but we saw last season that there’s fight in this young team.
They key to stay healthy.