After securing the second seed in the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets are looking to make a deep playoff run, here is why they can do it.
The Nuggets impressed many this season as they played their way to the second seed in the West, and the fourth-best record in the NBA. They were able to do this without ranking in the top-5 in either offensive rating or defensive rating. So, how does this team, which doesn’t seem to dominate either end of the floor, make a run in the playoffs?
The same way they’ve won all season, a simple formula, that mostly revolves around playing the game of basketball the way it was intended.
5. Not helping other teams win
The Nuggets don’t foul. They will not send other teams to the line to get their free points, it just doesn’t happen. Mason Plumlee is the only player on the Nuggets that averages more than three fouls per game, and he is just over that mark at 3.1. As a team, the Nuggets only commit 20 fouls per game, a statistic only bested by only one Western Conference team, the San Antonio Spurs. No team can expect that they will be able to easily bait the Nuggets into putting them on the free throw stripe.
Secondly, the Nuggets rebound the ball well, limiting opponents second chance points, and helping them defensively. A defensive stop only ends with a rebound, because forcing a shot means nothing if the other team gets the ball back. Well, the Nuggets rank fifth in the NBA in second-chance points allowed, which makes possessions against them count a lot more.
Lastly, the Nuggets are also a top-10 team in terms of turning the ball over, they commit just 13.4 turnovers per game, limiting the fast break opportunities that other teams get. So, by not fouling, not allowing second-chance points, and not turning the ball over, the Nuggets force other teams to play at a high level in order to win. Teams cannot make mistakes against the Nuggets offensively otherwise they simply won’t get enough chances to outscore them.