While waiting for the opening of the regular season on October 18, We Sport offers you an overview of the thirty franchises that will compete for the title in the NBA. We put our suitcases in Colorado today, where Denver hopes to finally be able to count on all its vital forces.
THE BALANCE SHEET DENVER NUGGETS LAST SEASON
It can only be described as positive. Deprived of their playmaker Jamal Murray all season, long handicapped by the injury of Michaël Porter Jr, nobody expected the Nuggets so high. Seeing them achieve a 48-win regular season without two Big Three players is nothing short of a miracle. And this miracle has a name: his name is Nikola Jokic, simply extraordinary once again. He literally single-handedly carried his franchise on his shoulders and, at the same time, won a second consecutive MVP title. 6th in the regular season, the Nuggets even managed to avoid the play-in, qualifying directly for the playoffs! A feat, quite simply, made possible by the Serb. Without him, the Colorado franchise would probably have ended up in the bottom of the conference, not far from the Rockets and the Thunder. The march was unfortunately too high against the Warriors in the first round of the Playoffs, where Denver still managed to avoid the sweep by winning Game 4 at the Ball Arena. Despite everything, in view of the carnage that Denver had to face, the season remains a success.
THE DENVER NUGGETS FREE AGENCY
She did not unleash the crowds. Because Denver was especially waiting for the return of its two major injuries. The Nuggets have gotten rid of some of their big-contract players (Monte Morris, Will Barton) and have mainly focused on making some experience adjustments, as is the case with KCP, champion in 2020 with the Lakers , where Ish Smith, 34, has been through just about every franchise in the league. The arrival of Bruce Brown is not negligible either. The former Nets will be able to bring a little bit of scoring at the back. DeAndre Jordan will come to complete the few minutes where Jokic will blow, and will have to find his level of the Nets, where he was able by sequence to make differences.
The Draft wasn’t an outpouring of joy either. Only Christian Braun has arrived, and it is not certain that the rookie will have a huge playing time given the competition in his position.
Leaders : Jamal Murray, Ish Smith, Nah’Shon Hyland, Collin Gillespie (TW)
Rears : Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Bruce Brown, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson
Wingers : Davon Reed, Michael Porter Jr, Vlatko Cancar, Jack White (TW)
Power forwards : Aaron Gordon, Jeff Green, Zeke Nnaji,
Pivots : Nikola Jokic, DeAndre Jordan
coach : Mike Malone
The ambition will be to do at least as well as when all this little world was complete. Namely, a conference final, in the Orlando bubble, when the Nuggets had twice recovered a handicap of 3 wins to 1, against the Jazz then against the Clippers of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. They had fallen with honors against the Lakers, future winners, but this franchise was promised a magnificent future, unfortunately truncated by injuries at the present time. But with a Jokic still at his prime, and if Jamal Murray manages to regain his level which was his before his serious knee injury, there is no doubt that Denver will be ambitious as possible. And why not aim for the title? In any case, the Nuggets have given themselves the means, and even if a lot of things will once again rest on Nikola Jokic, the return of the injured and the arrival of experienced players make a hell of a mix that could hurt to many teams.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jamal Murray
He’s back, more than 500 days after his last game! Injured in the knee, the Canadian was sorely missed by his family last season and the situation would undoubtedly have been very different if he had been on the floor. But let’s put the bad memories aside and look forward to the upcoming season, which promises to be exciting in Colorado. Because with the return of their playmaker, the Nuggets will obviously be a whole different team. He has proven his ability to win games, and while Nikola Jokic may be at the height of his career, the pair could wreak havoc. In any case, if he finds the level which was his two years ago, the Western conference has reason to tremble.
THE CALENDAR OFS DENVER NUGGETS 2022/2023
• 21/10: Denver Nuggets @ Golden State Warriors
• 25/12: Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets (Christmas Game)
Photo credit: The Team