Preview of the NBA 2021-22 season over Denver Nuggets. Data, results from the previous season, a look at their squad and future free agents, the objectives of the course, the player to watch and a forecast on the franchise.
- Market movements: signing of Jeff Green and renovations of Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, JaMychal Green, Will Barton and Austin Rivers (all movements here).
- Backcourt: Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, Monte Morris, Jeff Green, Facu Campazzo, Austin Rivers, Bones Hyland y P.J Dozier.
- Frontcourt: Nikola Jokic, JaMychal Green, Zeke Nnaji, Bol Bol, Vlatko Cancar and Tarik Black.
This is how they face the season
Everything followed the script established in Denver until the final stretch of the regular season. A very unique year due to the reduced margin of rest and all those problems derived from the pandemic returned a Western Conference without a clearly dominant team in which the Denver Nuggets emerged as a legitimate candidate.
This was confirmed when, before the market closed, they closed the incorporation of Aaron Gordon from Orlando. Unfortunately, this coup of authority turned into a slight evasive throat clearing when Jamal Murray tore the ACL in his left knee within a month of the playoffs.
After that, the Nuggets appealed to the later elected MVP of the season, Nikola Jokic, and to the qualitative leap starring Michael Porter Jr. to maintain their competitive character and close the regular season in third position from the West. In the playoffs, they beat the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round before being swept away by the Phoenix Suns in the Conference Semifinals. An outcome that raised questions at different levels: would it have been different with Murray or the weaknesses of the roster, mainly in defense, would they have tipped the balance against him in the same way?
The truth is that the offseason raised by the Denver headquarters followed solid and continuous guidelines. Jeff Green emerged as the great addition to free agency although he responded to the need to directly cover Paul Millsap’s departure to Brooklyn. A change of pieces that, a priori, supposes a win for those in Colorado. Thus, the bulk of the operations focused on ensuring the continuity of the team’s backbone, highlighting the numerous renovations by Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. And it is precisely this couple on whom a large dose of responsibility will fall during the absence – still undetermined as to time– from Murray. Even with him, because an injury of such seriousness will need a gradual filming to recover the previous level.
The 207 million to which Porter Jr. will aspire will entail the obligation to offer results and maintain the upward line of the past year. Since Murray’s injury, the forward averaged 23.2 points per game, shooting 55% from the field and 44% shooting from 3s. These numbers should increase as the second offensive sword after Jokic, in addition to requiring him to develop his defensive skills.
In turn, in that defensive balance will reside the main value of Gordon, who will also have to be more incisive in various areas such as scoring, rebounding or secondary creation. However, his main role will be defending rival great forwards like LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard or Paul George when the truly hot moment of the season arrives. PJ Dozier also has the opportunity to increase the Nuggets’ collective benefits in this regard.
In parallel, the organization closed other significant renovations such as Will Barton, Austin Rivers and JaMychal Green. Three important players who will add to this cohesion and who will cover those gaps that the big stars are not able to cover. All this without losing sight of what Bol Bol and Zeke Nnaji can offer, two pieces as promising as they are difficult to fit into the system today.
However, all these movements also respond to the little financial flexibility that the Nuggets have. They have $ 139 million committed for this 2021-22 season, an amount that will skyrocket to $ 156 million the next. Thus, for example, it is understood that, instead of looking for a spare part for Murray, the front-office preferred to maintain the project and shore up the position of guard from the draft with the pick of the promising Bones Hyland, who could enjoy some importance from the first moment. However, the baton from the base position will fall mainly on Monte Morris and Facu Campazzo.
Nikola Jokic, in his capacity as 2021 MVP and franchise player, will once again be the main reference and catalyst of the Nuggets game. And on its production the roof of the team will be fixed in a main way this course. To the center Serbian has been seen more until during the preseason and, at 26 years old, it is very likely that we have not seen his best version yet.
With the debate over his quality settled, Jokic will focus all his efforts on transferring that individual success to the Nuggets as a team. Murray’s absence will weigh heavily but on that label of underdogs Michael Malone’s are very comfortable. And if it is not this season, it will be the next in which the Nuggets seek to confirm themselves, once and for all, as a legitimate contender for the ring.
The player to watch
Although Nikola Jokic is the one who establishes the how, when and where of these Denver Nuggets, it will be Michael Porter Jr. who will be in charge of amplifying this previous premise and raising the competitive ceiling of the team. His performance after Jamal Murray’s injury was hopeful but now he will be forced to give much more: for competitive needs and for his new superstar contract. Because that is the question that is asked in Denver and throughout the NBA, will he reach that status Porter Jr.?
NBA preview 2021-22 Denver Nuggets, prediction
Elio Martínez, director of Trends Wide, leaves a personal and subjective forecast on what he thinks each franchise will do during the season in the NBA 2021-22 preview.
I place the Nuggets fourth in the West by elimination. Considering that Jamal Murray may not play the entire course, I don’t see Denver in the Top-3 of the West ahead of Jazz, Lakers or Suns after 82 games. I also don’t think they can fall behind the Warriors, Clippers, Blazers or Cavs.
Previous team analyzed: Milwaukee Bucks. Next team: Brooklyn Nets.
(Cover photo by Dustin Bradford / Getty Images)