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5 reasons why Denver Nuggets can be surprise contenders for the NBA championship in the 2021-22 season

Denver Nuggets in a game against the Sacramento Kings
Denver Nuggets in a game against the Sacramento Kings

The Denver Nuggets have established themselves as NBA postseason regulars. In the last three years, the Nuggets have appeared in one conference finals and two conference semifinals. No doubt they will again make it to the playoffs, but the question remains, how well will they perform once the tough seven-game series begins?

The team from Denver had a 47-25 win loss ratio the previous season and managed to be placed third in the Western Conference. They went on to win the first round of the playoffs against the Damian Lillard-led Portland Trail Blazers. However, the Phoenix Suns, with the help of their star duo Chris Paul and Devin Booker, utterly dominated the Denver Nuggets by taking the conference semis without losing any games.

Denver Nuggets can be surprise contenders for the NBA championship in the 2021-22 season

It must be observed that the Suns were having an invincible run right before their matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks. Such a run shouldn't be considered a case against the Nikola Jokic-led Denver Nuggets' championship dreams.

Denver has, in past seasons, established itself as a force to be reckoned with. Jokic won the 2021 MVP for his incredible season-long performance for the Nuggets. In 2020-21, the Denver Nuggets registered the lowest number of losses since 2013-14. They have constantly improved their winning percentage.

As of now, we are not saying that the Nuggets have an undenable probability of winning the upcoming championship. We are merely pointing out that there are ample of reasons to suggest they could very well surprise us and stand at the top once the dust settles post the 2021-22 battle.

Here are the top 5 reasons we believe Denver can be surprise contenders for the NBA Championship in 2021-22:

#5 Least Opposition point on second chance in the league

The Nuggets are an incredible team on follow-up defense. With ball collectors like Michael Porter Jr and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets are capable of stopping follow-up shots or second attempts on their basket.

The team had, along with the LA Lakers, the lowest number of points per game scored on them by the opposition on the second attempt. What this means is that the Denver Nuggets has a solid defense post the first attempt and can quickly assemble and stop the opposition from scoring again on the second attempt.

#4 Noteworthy rebounding

Any team that can gather rebounds consistently on both sides of the court can control the rhythm of the game, as well as break the offensive groove for opponents, and create more scoring chances for themselves.

The Denver Nuggets have a good rebounding squad. Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr. and JaVale McGee are a good rebounding trio and a great asset to the Nuggets squad. The combined ability of the three could come in handy during a championship bid.

#3 Influential playmaking

Nikola Jokic was all smiles in the 69th NBA All-Star Game
Nikola Jokic was all smiles in the 69th NBA All-Star Game

The Denver Nuggets have one of the greatest big man playmakers in the history of the NBA in Nikola Jokic. He can create plays and open passing lanes or take on the responsibility of a feeder himself. Jokic averaged 8.3 assists in the 2020-21 season and led his team in assists.

With Jamal Murry, Will Barton, and Facundo Campazzo, the Denver Nuggets have highly reliable and resourceful playmakers capable of taking the onus of facilitating scoring from Jokic's shoulders.

#2 Air-tight paint defence

The team from Denver does not have the best overall defense nor the worst. Their defensive weakness lies in pick-and-roll and perimeter play. Their best defender Jokic is slow and not very quick in defense.

However, it is a completely different story near the paint. The Denver Nuggets are capable of stopping brilliant bucket driving players. With players like McGee, Aaron Gordon (one of the newest well-known names to join the team), and Jokic can push scorers out to the perimeter.

Their stature and overall presence discourages opponents from carelessly rushing to the basket. A team like the LA Lakers that statistically favors paint scoring will be pushed to the arc to avoid blocks and misses in the paint and restricted area. This will become a key element in the Denver Nuggets' championship campaign.

#1 Offensive Power

The Denver Nuggets are without a single doubt one of the most formidable offensive teams in the league. the presence of the Joker and Jamal Murray in their ranks makes them one of the most lethal scoring machines in the league.

With the addition of Gordon, Morris, Barton, and Porter Jr. as the secondary scorers, the team can easily overcome big scores. However, in Jokic and Murray, the team has two very different kinds of scorers.

Jokic, in the context of a big man, is a versatile scorer. He can land a couple of threes every game, attempt fadeaways and jumpers from mid-range, and attack the rim for easy hooks and dunks.

Meanwhile, Jamal Murray is the creative offensive scorer for the Denver Nuggets. He is a high-flyer that can make spectacular layups while falling down or spinning away from the defender in the air. He is also a good mid-range and arc shooter.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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