The Denver Nuggets fought through injury in a tenacious manner in 2011-2012; they fought through surprise trades to propel themselves in 2011-2013; they took a talented Los Angeles Lakers team to seven games when it was expected they would be swept in round one.
The Nuggets fought through adversity last season, and more importantly, the front office of the franchise made necessary moves to improve the team, but how will that translate in 2012-2013.
Drafted: Evan Fournier, Quincy Miller
Key Additions: Andre Iguodala, Anthony Randolph
Key Losses: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Rudy Fernandez
Projected Lineup: JaVale McGee/Kosta Koufos (C), Kenneth Faried (PF), Danilo Gallinari (SF), Andre Iguodala (SG), Ty Lawson (PG)
A huge amount of Denver’s success still relies on Ty Lawson and the capabilities we all know he has, but he needs to utilize them at every shot. Iguodala is the most talented and gifted player on the team, but it’s Lawson who needs to empower himself to lead the team in a consistent manner. Lawson — when he’s aggressive — can own opponents with his speed, his slicing the defense abilities, and making”those” shots.
As much as you want Andre Iguodala to improve ALL of Denver’s defense inadequacies, it’s not going to happen. It’ going to take a concentrated effort from the entire team to improve their abysmal defense from last season; it will improve, no doubt about it, but Iguodala can only do so much by himself. Also, Iguodala is going to be productive in the backcourt with Lawson in which it plays to his strengths. He will be phenomenal in an uptempo team that is Denver as well as helping the Nuggets in their perimeter defense which was horrid last season.
The shooters, if it be Corey Brewer, Danilo Gallinari, or Jordan Hamilton, must find their stroke(s) this season as Denver’s three-point shooting was paltry last year. Sure, Lawson is the first option on offense, but he will need to be surrounded with reliable shooters. With that concern being addressed, there are a bevy of possible and probable shooters from nestling at the three-point line to attacking the basket, it’s being able to perform at a consistent pace.
This team will move from having a third-tier defense to being in the middle of the pack, as well as producing at least one breakout star this season; homecourt advantage is easily attainable for this team.
53-29; the Denver Nuggets could be fighting for the third seed, but the 4th seed seems like a realistic prediction.