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Denver Nuggets Predictions: 2012 NBA Future Lines & Gambling Analysis

Denver Nuggets Season Preview – NBA Predictions

When the Denver Nuggets traded away Carmelo Anthony half way through the 2010-11 NBA season, their future was up in the air without their true superstar. Either the young talent they acquired would develop, or it would show just how desperate the team was to move on from the “Melo Drama” that plagued their organization.  

Two seasons later, the team has grown together nicely, and the recent acquisition of Andre Iguodala puts them one step closer to challenging the elite teams out West.

Odds to win (By bovada.lv)
2013 NBA Championship: 66/1
2013 Western Conference: 33/1

The Denver Nuggets fell just short of a second-round berth in last season’s playoffs when they pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to a seven-game series in round one. Their roster has been touted for its depth over the past two years, but while they’ve been deep enough to hang around, they’ve lacked a star player as their go-to option late in games.

Iguodala may not have always been a No. 1 option with the Philadelphia 76ers, but his style of play is perfect for what they do in the Mile-High City. He plays with incredible speed and tenacity, and even when his shot isn’t falling, you know he’s going to attack the rim in both fast-break and half-court settings. Defensively, he’s just as driven to succeed, which is a dimension Denver has been lacking from their roster for quite some time now.

If Iguodala is unable to prove he can take over the role of superstar, the team has an up-and-coming point guard who is ready to take his game to the next level. Ty Lawson had a career year in 2012, averaging 16.4 points, 6.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 36.5 percent from the three-point line. His game is based on speed and quickness, but his efficiency is good enough so that even when the game slows down, he can still make a difference.

Having star players is crucial in this league, but it’s still the depth that will be the backbone of the Nuggets. Veteran point guard Andre Miller just signed a new deal with the team, indicating that he’s ready to accept his role as a backup and do whatever it takes to win an NBA championship. [ad-6571516]

JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried are two promising players who, while still raw, can create points and possessions off energy alone. On the perimeter they have Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. These two may have different styles of play—Gallinari is a shooter while Chandler defends with his athleticism—but their differences complement each other nicely.

Quite frankly, this team is stacked, and if they can utilize each individual skill set and blend as a team, they’re going to be incredibly tough to stop for anybody looking to get in their way. The only spot in their schedule where they could falter is toward the end of the regular season—unfortunately where it counts most. In the final month of the year, they encounter sure-fire playoff teams—as well as a few wild cards—almost exclusively. The Nuggets are going to look good throughout the year, but a tough stretch at the end will be a true challenge as to where they belong in the race to the Finals.

The Nuggets went 38-28 last season with a winning percentage of .576. With the addition of Iguodala (without the subtraction of any major pieces) and the continued maturation of the team’s young players, there’s really no reason to believe this squad will take a step back. They’re not going to be top-tier on the defensive end, but with enough of a presence on the perimeter—as well as down low with McGee blocking shots—head coach George Karl should motivate the team to get it done on both ends of the floor. This team is going to be about as exciting as it comes to watch this season, and if they play defense, it will just add to their chances of competing late in the year.

Prediction:

The Western Conference has gotten stronger, which makes the Nuggets a tough bet to win it all. However, the second round is much more attainable at this point, and they’re going to be a dangerous team if they’re clicking come playoff time.

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