As I referenced in my last article about Denver Nuggets new head coach Brian Shaw, I believe the future looks bright in the Mile-High-City this year and for years to come. Although I don’t believe they will be able to tie or surpass their franchise-record 57 wins in the regular season from last year, I strongly believe they will hover around the 50-win plateau in the 2013–14 NBA season. Some out there might think I’m crazy, yet the roster is set up for a surprising season this year. With Shaw’s leadership ability as well as his philosophies both offensively and defensively, the Nuggets cannot only win 50 games this year, but they will get out of the first round of the 2013–14 NBA playoffs and perhaps beyond.
Crucial to the Nuggets’ success on the floor will be the return of Danilo “The Italian Assassin” Gallinari. Gallinari’s crushing ACL tear occurred at a critical time in last year’s regular season. Gallo has made huge strides in rehab and may return to the team as soon as the end of December 2013, if not the first part of January 2014. Although the Nuggets lost key contributors Andre Iguodala and Corey Brewer to free agency, they gained viable assets with sharpshooter Randy Foye and double-double machine JJ Hickson. Additionally, they added draft pick Erick Green, who I believe will be a key contributor in his rookie season. Green has all the tools to be a legitimate backup point guard to Ty Lawson and the versatility to space the floor as a shooting guard.
Denver needs to make one more move this offseason by trading the 37-year-old Andre Miller for a wing defender/shooter, which will be absent with the departures of Iguodala and Brewer. In addition, allowing big-man Timofey Mozgov to sign with the Sacramento Kings, who are now courting his services, would be a good thing for the Nuggets. After all, Mozgov did virtually nothing to help the squad last year, and resigning him to a big deal doesn’t make sense. Letting Mozgov go would allow Denver to court another wing defender/shooter or perhaps find a replacement for him down in the trenches. No matter the scenario, parting ways with Miller and Mozgov would be in the best interest of the Nuggets moving forward. The frontcourt already looks much improved with the acquisitions of Darrell Arthur, a great pick and roll defender, and the aforementioned low post scorer and rebounder, Hickson. Let us not forget the already valued commodities of Kenneth Faried, aka “The Manimal,” and dunk machine JaVale McGee.
Looking deeper, we find Wilson Chandler, and if he stays healthy, he will have a breakout year as a 20-plus-point scorer and the go-to guy the Nuggets so desperately need.
To review, the Nuggets will hover around the 50-win plateau this season and will advance past the first round of the 2013–14 NBA playoffs. They have the potential to advance even further and become a legitimate threat in the Western Conference playoffs. Although many of you out there may not agree with me, I stand firm in my outlook for the Denver Nuggets in the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season.