Denver Nuggets Must Mirror 2014 Spurs for Championship
Coming into last season, one of the most highly anticipated teams was the Denver Nuggets. After missing the postseason by one game the year before, many had high expectations for this young team. The Nuggets did not disappoint. They sky-rocketed to a hot start and finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference. To finish the year, they made it to the second round of the postseason and it took seven games for the experienced Portland Trail Blazers to finally eliminate the young Denver team from the playoffs. So, with all of this in mind, can the Denver Nuggets eventually win a championship? Well, if so, there is one historic team they need to model their play-style after if they are going to achieve this sort of success.
The Denver Nuggets Need to Replicate the 2014 San Antonio Spurs’ Recipe
Denver Nuggets’ Ball Movement is Already Reminiscent of Spurs’ Ball Movement
The Denver Nuggets were one of the best passing teams in the league last season. When you have a center in Nikola Jokic averaging 7.3 assists per game, that tends to help matters. This is great because that is already a better assist average than anyone on the 2014 Spurs possessed. The best passer on the team that year was Tony Parker who averaged 5.7 assists per game.
However, passing success is not just coming from Jokic. This past season, Denver was ranked second in assists per game (27.4). In 2014, the Spurs were ranked first in assists per game, averaging 25.2. As one can see, the Nuggets are already on the right track in this regard.
However, there are also other factors that go into play which do not show up on the stat sheet. Players need to know when to set the right screen, cut at the right time, and simply just know where they need to be on the floor at all times. Denver is still young, so they are in the midst of figuring this process out. However, if one needs some video evidence of what is being talked about, then take a look at these highlights of the Spurs in Game 4 of the 2014 NBA Finals against a LeBron James-led Miami Heat team.
Nuggets’ Roster Must Know Their Roles
On top of knowing their roles, they need to be committed to the defensive end of the floor. We already know the Nuggets are a potent offensive team, they have finished in the top five for assists per game in the last three years. However, they need to get better defensively. They did improve last year, but Paul Millsap is not going to be around forever and Gary Harris cannot do it all alone on the perimeter. However, much of this will come in time with the team gaining more experience. They are very similar to the 2014 San Antonio Spurs, so it makes sense for the head coach, Michael Malone, to get his team to replicate the same style as this legendary Spurs squad.