Denver Nuggets 2021-22: Season Preview
The Denver Nuggets are hungry and ready to bring the city of Denver a championship. With all of Denver’s core players back and signed for years to come, the championship window is now. It’s no secret, the Denver Nuggets have been underrated the past three seasons, even though they finished with a top three-seed. Last season, three-time all-star, Nikola Jokić, won league MVP and led his team to the second round of playoffs. Yet, the Nuggets are still not looked at as Finals’ favorites for this season.
“They didn’t pay us (me, Nikola, Jamal) all this money not to win a championship.” –Michael Porter
A reminder that Nikola Jokić is coming off a historic season, becoming the first-ever second-round pick to win MVP, averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists while appearing in all 72 games. Next to him on the court was Michael Porter Jr, a finalist in last year’s Most Improved Player award averaging 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. Porter, in his first two seasons, shot 43.9% from the 3-point line, one of just three players to do this.
Denver Nuggets Season Preview
What to Expect
This season, with Jamal Murray most likely out until at least January, the Nuggets are looking for more players to step in and fill that role. After losing JaVale McGee and Paul Millsap in free agency, Denver signed forward, Jeff Green, and drafted guard, Nah’Shon Hyland. The most notable off-season moves were re-signing Will Barton, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr.
The big three (Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray, & Michael Porter Jr) reunion is sadly still a couple of months out with Murray’s injury. Meaning point guard, Monte Morris, will likely step up and play the “quarterback” role for the Nuggets, joining Jokić and Porter in the starting line-up. The last two in the starting lineup are Will Barton who will make up half the backcourt and Aaron Gordon who will be there to catch and throw down lobs.
The Nuggets’ new blood, Nah’Shon ” Bizzy Bones” Hyland, broke out in pre-season coming off the bench. He averaged 15.2 points, 4 rebounds, 5.7 assists while shooting 46% from the field. The 21-year-old was drafted at 26 by the Nuggets in the 2021 draft and has already made an impression on Denver’s head coach Michael Malone. “I think it’s undeniable,” Malone talked highly of the rookie guard. “I think Bones Hyland has been outstanding this preseason… Those guys [PJ Dozier and Bones Hyland] are in a really good spot.”
Denver will kick off their 82-game regular season in Phoenix on Oct. 20 and will host the Spurs in their season home opener on Oct. 22. The Nuggets’ longest road trip starts Nov. 29 in Miami and will end Dec. 11 in San Antonio, they will play seven straight games on the road. The Nuggets’ longest homestead will be from Nov. 6 to Nov. 14 where they will host the Heat, Pacers, Hawks, and Trailblazers. The Nuggets will have eight games airing on ESPN this season (Oct. 20 & 29, Jan. 5 & 19, Feb. 2 & 4, Mar. 6 & 14).
The Nuggets’ ceiling this season is finishing a top-three seed for the fourth year in a row. Taking back the top spot in the Northwest division is a must. With the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Lakers being their toughest completion this season, the Nuggets will most likely finish around 58-24.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images