The Denver Nuggets won a franchise-best 57 games in the 2012-13 NBA season. Despite the departures of Andre Iguodala and Kosta Koufos, Denver will return the majority of their roster for the 2013-14 campaign. The key cogs are in place for another successful season. In fact, it could be argued that the Nuggets are primed for a more successful season in 2013-14, but only if the Nuggets do not add any other major pieces.
Regular season victories are all well and good, but what really matters in the NBA are postseason victories. The Nuggets have been short on playoff victories for many seasons. The expectation is that new coach Brian Shaw will change that this season. After losing Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors, it is very likely that opponents, the media and even fans will underestimate what this Nuggets team is capable of doing in the upcoming season. Lowered expectations will allow Denver to operate under the radar and could even lead to them capturing a fourth Northwest Division Title.
Iguodala is known for his defense, however, the Nuggets allowed 101.1 points per game last season, which ranks 23rd in the league. The loss of Iggy should not be considered that great since Denver was not even in the top half of the league defensively. Wilson Chandler is still on this roster and he is a defensive-minded player that can also score. He is often underrated and his defense should stand out more without Iguodala next to him.
Shaw is known as one of the best coaches in the NBA at developing young talent and this young Nuggets team will get the opportunity to develop under him. Ty Lawson and JaVale McGee will benefit the most with Shaw as coach and they play two of the most important positions necessary for NBA success.
The Nuggets currently have 12 players under contract and are required to carry a minimum of 13 players throughout the season. They could easily get to 13 players by re-signing Corey Brewer or signing their second round draft pick Erick Green. This means that Iguodala’s departure does not necessarily mean that they need to replace him with another big contract.
Signing a veteran player that will command a large salary would be a poor decision for the Nuggets. First, it would hinder the development of the young talent on this roster such as Evan Fournier. Additionally, Denver should save their money for the summer of 2014, when many talented players will be free agents again. Also, it is unnecessary to add a major piece to this team as they have great chemistry and won a franchise-record 57 games together. Adding someone new to this team such as Monta Ellis, could disrupt that chemistry more than losing Iguodala will.