The 2020-21 season saw the Denver Nuggets establish themselves as the second-best NBA team in their division and the third-best in their conference. Tailing only the Utah Jazz and 2020-21 finalists Phoenix Suns, the Nuggets roster will be looking at improving their seeding this year.
With a healthy dose of young blood on their roster, the Denver Nuggets have the liberty to experiment with their lineups and their strategies. This is a luxury in the current league where superteams are built for championships and then quickly disbanded once the goal is complete. The franchise from Denver has no such obligations or desperation. They have realistic goals and they are pursuing them with the right ideologies.
Bold predictions for Denver Nuggets' 2021-22 NBA season
As the new NBA season approaches, and the return of Jamal Murray from a devastating injury draws near, we have five bold predictions for the Denver Nuggets.
#1 Nikola Jokic will not win another MVP
The lowest draft pick in the league's history to win an MVP award, Nikola Jokic, was nothing but spectacular in the previous season. He had an incredible year and deserved the award for multiple reasons. But if Stephen Curry had taken the Golden State Warriors to the playoffs, the conversation about the 2020-21 MVP could have been much different.
The Denver Nuggets big man is undoubtedly one of the best passers and post-up players in the league. But winning back-to-back MVPs is a privilege only reserved for a few, and Jokic may not be one of them.
#2 Michael Porter Jr will average a double-double
Michael Porter Jr., in Jamal Murray's absence, has developed as an essential part of the Nuggets roster. As a secondary rebounder, he has created plays alongside Jokic all the while averaging 7.1 rebounds per game in the 2020-21 regular season. Also a phenomenal scorer, Porter has more than doubled his field goals and three-pointers.
His ability to score close to 20 points regularly in only his second season is testament to his double-double potential. If the Denver Nuggets youngster can even narrowly improve his restricted area dominance, he will without a doubt record a double-double season.
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#3 Jamal Murray will come back a better player
Jamal Murray evolved into the Joker's sidekick during the Denver Nuggets' 2020-21 season. Supporting the reigning MVP, the 24-year-old shooting guard averaged 21.2 points per game in his 48 games.
His playmaking also came in the limelight as he registered 4.8 assists, combining with Nikola Jokic's 8.3 assists per game to help the Denver Nuggets score about 68.6 points per game just off the assists.
However, a devastating ACL tear put Jamal out of action. ACL injuries usually take 7-9 months to heal and Murray is expected to join the team in January 2022. The quality rehab available to NBA stars has altered the way we view ligament injuries. They are no longer career-ending mishaps.
Jamal Murray is young and he will not only make a complete recovery but come back much better, like the Chicago Bulls' Zach Lavine.
#4 Paul Millsap will not be missed
Paul Millsap was definitely an incredible scorer and rebounder in his prime but he has lost much of his post-up game. Where he averaged 17.1 points and 9 rebounds per game in the 2015-16 regular season, he only averaged 9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 2020-21.
Aaron Gordon's score and impact on the game is already better than Millsap's, and the former Magic star registered 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds in his 2020-21 season. It's safe to assume that Paul Millsap will not be missed as much as everyone has been led to believe. The Denver Nuggets will do just fine without him on their roster.
#5 Denver Nuggets will reach the Western Conference semifinals
The Denver Nuggets were seeded third in the Western Conference ahead of the LA Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. They won their first round of the playoffs series against the Portland Trail Blazers but lost to the Phoenix Suns. However, the upcoming season will be different.
The Nuggets squad is constantly growing. The young team is seeing players approach their peak years. They have good team chemistry and can create plays for their main duo of Jokic and Murray as well as the role players. This makes them a potential team to reach their conference semifinals.
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