Nuggets add former Magic star Afflalo to their roster this summer…
The Denver Nuggets took a backward step last season, but they will be hoping to return to the playoff mix this year behind emerging star Kenneth Faried.
The Nuggets finished with a 36-46 record last year which left them 13 wins adrift of making the playoffs in the Western Conference. Having built up some momentum in the previous years, it was undoubtedly a disappointing season and they will hope to fare better this time round.
With Coach Brian Shaw a year wiser after his rookie season in charge, he will hope to make use of that additional experience when it comes to the business end of the season. Meanwhile, he will also hope to see his players use the disappointment from last season to their advantage in the coming months.
The West promises to be as competitive as ever so it won’t be easy, but there is no denying that the Nuggets possess some talented players that can make a huge difference.
Kenneth Faried to continue his development and become franchise player
After a strong showing with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup this summer, big things are expected from Faried this season. The power forward is perhaps still underrated when it comes to comparing the best in his position, but he is certainly on the path to greater recognition.
Much will depend on his ability to show the same skills as he did this summer with the Nuggets over the course of an entire season, and after averaging 13.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game last year, he will hope to build on those numbers and continue to improve.
Nevertheless, the Nuggets have some solid weapons around him, including Danilo Gallinari who will return from his knee injury this season. It remains to be seen whether or not he can return to the All-Star level he showed prior to the setback, but he will undoubtedly play a huge role if healthy.
Aaron Afflalo returns after a spell with the Orlando Magic in which he proved he can score 20 points+ a night, while the Nuggets also have great experience on their roster with the likes of Randy Foye and Ty Lawson.
Nate Robinson is a feisty reserve who will look to bounce back from injury and try and regain his play from his Chicago Bulls days, and so overall the Nuggets can be quietly confident of competing with the best in the West if they stay healthy.
If Shaw has his entire roster available, the Nuggets will be a threat to make the post-season. However, they still don’t rank in the top five in the Western Conference, and potentially beyond that too.
As a result, they will likely be pushing for one of the final few spots come the end of the season, and depending on how other teams fare around them, they could sneak in and make the playoffs.
They’ll need to improve at home as so often teams have struggled when travelling to Denver, but a 22-19 record from last season was nowhere near good enough and so Shaw will have a lot to work on if they are to achieve their ambition.