Denver Nuggets rank top five in one pre-camp power ranking
Get the hype train rolling on the Denver Nuggets season!
Oddsmakers are giving the pickaxes about the ninth-best shot of winning it all this coming season. But the chances the Nuggets win their first-ever NBA championship are not as good as what one expert thinks about Denver heading into preseason camp. Longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein released his pre-preseason power rankings on Sunday, and he is high on the Nuggets.
Stein’s list places the Nuggets at No. 4, behind Golden State, Milwaukee, and Boston. Two clubs who have just won the Larry O’Brien Trophy and another who was playing for it this past summer are the only ones ranking ahead of Denver.
While Stein cautions that this is not his prediction for how the season will play out, he says the power rank should read as a big-picture outlook on the team, factoring in how well a team’s offseason went and their current health.
“Getting Jamal Murray back from a full-season’s injury absence figures to rival any free-agent signing in the league,” Stein writes. “A more wary approach is wise to maintain when it comes to Michael Porter Jr.’s comeback — let’s see first if he is healthy as he proclaims to be — but new Nuggets lead executive Calvin Booth is off to a promising start thanks to the acquisitions of Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to spruce up Denver’s wing depth beyond the anticipated returns of Murray and Porter. Two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokić will have far more help than he did when we last saw him. The short-term reward is this heady boost into the top four.”
Oddsmakers have the Nuggets slated for around 52 wins, which is second-best in the west to the Suns.
Obviously, folks are excited about what Jokic and Murray can do together again once they are reunited. Jokic’s level at Eurobasket has been better than even his MVP seasons form.
It’s hard to say how much Murray and Porter will play as the Nuggets will manage their recoveries, but it is certain that their on-paper roster is terrific when healthy. As the season nears, it’ll be fascinating to see how other national voices feel about Denver.