The Denver Nuggets were a second-tier contender in the regular season but they have as good a shot as anyone of breaking through and winning it all.
All due respect to the eight games of rhythm re-establishing regular season the NBA has planned, but this postseason is going to be weird. Everyone gets a training camp and some games to try and get their legs back but everyone’s also watched their momentum, good and bad, evaporate.
Talent is going to win basketball games, as it usually does, but this postseason is probably going to be more susceptible to luck, chaos, and random variance than any we’ve seen in a long time. In this context, everyone has a chance to win it all. Even the Denver Nuggets.
What could actually help the Denver Nuggets win it all?
The Nuggets have depth, versatility, a star player and the upside to win the games they shouldn’t. Here’s how they could pull it off.
5. Michael Porter Jr.
After missing his entire rookie season, Porter Jr. finally saw the court for the Nuggets this year and was shockingly impressive in his limited minutes, putting up 19.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per 36 minutes. It wasn’t just volume either, he made better than 40 percent of both his catch-and-shoot and pull-up 3-pointers and was incredibly efficient inside the arc as well. With his size, shooting and handle, Porter Jr. has the chance to be a uniquely disruptive offensive weapon, capable of destroying all sorts of mismatches.
He played a relatively small role in Denver’s rotation, seeing just 670 total minutes, but he’s going to be an enormous piece down the road for the Nuggets. He’s the kind of bit player who opponents won’t have a game plan for but with the talent to go off and swing a game or two. The rest of the NBA hasn’t really been introduced to the full range of his talents but they certainly could be this summer and fall.