2015-16 NBA Previews – Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets were, let’s say, dysfunctional during the 2014-15 NBA season. A change in head coach, a few player moves and a decent selection in the draft have given this squad a puncher’s chance at a more respectable season in 2015-16, but there’s still much to be desired without a true go-to option to be found on the roster.
Denver Nuggets Season Preview
Head Coach: *** Michael Malone
2014 Record: *** 30-52
Nuggets Odds to NBA Title: *** 25,000
Nuggets Odds to Win Conference: *** 12,500
The Denver Nuggets want to operate with a fast-paced offense this season. This is a huge advantage to any team playing in the Mile High City, as the elevation is going to cause other teams trouble — even if those teams are more talented.
Sticking with the theme of a fast-paced offense, this roster is set to do just that. Kenneth Faried is a beast in transition.
Emmanuel Mudiay, despite having not yet played a game in the NBA, appears to be of similar abilities.
This team could also play a bit of small ball with the perimeter-oriented Danilo Gallinari earning time at the 4.
Despite finishing 2014-15 28th in three-point shooter, this squad has more of a perimeter presence than you’d think by simply looking at the stats.
Gallinari (when healthy) will combine with Wilson Chandler (who survived last year’s trade deadline rumors), Jameer Nelson and even the underrated Randy Foye as a solid group who can challenge any team from behind the raindow.
Don’t be shocked when this team improves from three-point range this season.
Frontcourt depth is also going to be an asset for this Denver team. J.J. Hickson and Darrell Arthur have a chance to complement the starters. Faried will likely continue to find himself in trade rumors.
Defense, defense, defense. That’s where this team is going to struggle the most throughout the 2015-16 season.
Denver was 27th in points per game allowed last year and 25th in field-goal percentage allowed.
As good as Mudiay could be with the ball in his hands, you still have to question who will handle the ball when scoring is needed, and who specifically will be a go-to scorer in crunch time.
Gallinari is certainly an option in this scenario, but there’s a chance neither of them end up being true go-to presences at this point in their respective careers.
Nuggets 2015 Betting Prediction:
Denver is currently slated to finish dead last out West, tied in odds, according to Bovada, with the Sacramento Kings. This isn’t shocking considering the fact that this squad has not improved much following its disappointing season in 2014-15.
When it comes to championship odds, you’re looking at the fourth-worst team in the NBA — but also tied with the Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers at +25000 odds.
Don’t consider this team a favorite by any means, but don’t think this group will be quite as bad as a the last-place Sixers, either. Think of the Nuggets as stuck in NBA purgatory — not good enough to make the playoffs; not bad enough to earn the best odds at earning the No. 1 pick.
Nuggets Key Personnel Losses:
The Nuggets have lost Ian Clark from last season. And in case you’re wondering, absolutely no casual fan will wonder about that.
What all fans will be paying attention to is the play of Mudiay, as the rookie point guard is set to take the place of Ty Lawson, — the now-Houston Rockets point guard who was supposedly supposed to be a future All-Star in the Mile High City.
Nuggets Top Newcomers:
Emmanuel Mudiay. This is the guy who’s supposed to put them out of their misery when it comes to the post-Ty Lawson era, and he’s the one who is going to apparently lead them into a new level of success.
This team is also adding Nick Johnson and Nikola Jokic, but neither of those guys will gather the same type of hype as Mudiay throughout the 2015-16 season.
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