Dallas Mavericks biggest threat in Western Conference: 4. Nuggets
Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic will have Denver near the top of the West again this year. The Nuggets tied with the Clippers for third last season but will have to play without starting point guard Jamal Murray as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered in April. Murray could miss a significant portion of the regular season, but the Nuggets have the depth to stay in the hunt.
Michael Porter Jr. is a burgeoning star. The 23-year-old averaged 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season with fantastic shooting percentages, but he has struggled on the defensive end of the floor. MPJ should be even better as he looks to be the team’s second star this season.
The Nuggets have Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, and Monte Morris to round out their starting five with Jeff Green, JaMychal Green, and Facundo Campazzo coming off the bench. Denver has a fantastic homecourt advantage, and the Nuggets will be back near the top of the Western Conference standings this season.
Can they win 50 regular-season games without Jamal Murray? Denver finished five games ahead of the Mavericks last year, but maintaining that gap will be difficult. No team is looking forward to facing the Nuggets and the impossible to guard Nikola Jokic. Expect Denver to be a tough opponent for every team, even minus Murray.