The Denver Nuggets started off this season really slow and many had doubts about them at the beginning of the season. Including myself as well, many wondered if they’d have the ability to go back to the Conference Finals in the stacked Western Conference again. They lost their defensive swiss-army knife in Jerami Grant in the offseason and didn’t look like the team from last year. They didn’t look like the team that went to Conference Finals as everyone except Jokic struggled.
Jokic stayed consistent during the whole season and he’s shown why he’s worthy of being the top MVP candidate so far. While players like LeBron and Embiid have dropped due to injuries and being unavailable for their team, Jokic has been consistently elite. Jokic is putting up crazy numbers, averaging 26.5 PPG, 11.0 RPG, and 8.4 APG, while shooting 56.7% from the field and 42.9% from three. Not to mention, he also is averaging 1.5 steals from the center position, pretty crazy.
It took a bit for the other players to get going, but they’ve shown improvement in play as of recent. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. have played better and it definitely has helped their recent winning.
The trade of Aaron Gordon to the Nuggets was extremely underrated and a great move by the front office. Aaron Gordon isn’t necessarily a great defender or anything, but he’s another player that can score and help defend multiple positions in the starting lineup. Gordon also gives the Nuggets another body that can guard the LeBron’s, the Kawhi’s, the Paul George’s in the playoffs.
Are they Contenders?
The Nuggets are 8-2 in their last 10 games and 1 game behind the 3rd seed right now. They currently sit at the 5th seed with a great position to end up with a top 3-4 seed in the Western Conference. With the moves they’ve made and the improved play of the players other than Jokic, the Nuggets are back in business. It’ll definitely be hard in the stacked Western Conference, but the Nuggets have the depth and personnel to be dangerous again this season.
So yes, they are REAL contenders this season.
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