Related Tags: The Denver Nuggets
The success against the Orlando Magic on Thursday night extended the Denver Nuggets’ hot streak to 7 straight wins. Labelled as a sensation of the first part of the season, the future looks bright for the Nuggets. The team from Colorado is sitting atop of the heavyweights-crowded Western Conference. But do they have what it takes to stay there at the end of the regular season?
The 2017-2018 campaign was another disappointment for their fans as the team failed to secure a playoffs spot. However, only several months later, the Nuggets are currently the hottest team in the NBA, playing aggressively on both ends of the court. Finally, it seems that everything is in place for the first time in the post-Carmelo Anthony era, when they reached the Western Conference finals.
The impact of the coach Michael Malone, especially on the younger players, is more than evident. Keeping essentially the same roster as the last year, the Nuggets managed to dramatically improve on the defensive end, which is the main reason behind their early success this season.
On the offensive end, the Nuggets do excellent job in sharing the ball and looking for open shots with a lot of movement off the ball. Even though they are not on the top in scoring, they are among the league’s best team in passing the ball, with an average of 27 assists per game.
What’s the most impressive in Nuggets’ recent run is that they managed to beat every single contender at the West: Thunder, Clippers, Warriors and LA Lakers, all of them placed from second to fifth place respectively. In addition, Denver also won against the first placed team in the East, the Toronto Raptors.
Denver is one of the youngest teams in the league. Although the teamwork is their main trademark, we must mention that the franchise is building a long-term strategy around Nikola Jokic. The Serbian center is probably the best passing big man in the NBA, standing at nearly 8 assists per game. The Joker has improved his scoring abilities, both inside and outside the paint. But the thing that makes him stand out is his great vision on the court – which is of enormous benefit for the whole team.
Jokic has excellent companion under the rim in the face of Paul Millsap. The experienced forward is averaging almost 14 points and 7 rebounds per game. The outside line is also performing on high level – most notably Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, who are often the most dynamic players for the Nuggets.
But will the Nuggets find strength to stay at the top of the fierce Western Conference? Well, if they manage to keep the momentum during the Christmas period, a top-four finish will be probably a reality for them, which then opens great possibilities in the playoffs. No matter what, one thing is sure: the Nuggets will be a tough matchup for each opponent in the playoffs.