A Season in Review: Why the Denver Nuggets Season was Successful
The Denver Nuggets found themselves in yet another postseason dogfight. They went blow for blow against the Portland Trail Blazers but were able to withstand Damian Lillard‘s heroics. Whether it was weathering his step-back threes with hands in his face, or managing a back-court decimated by injuries. The Nuggets stayed resilient and put the Blazers away in six. However, the momentum slowly faded as the team fell short in the semi-finals to the Phoenix Suns. Promptly ending a Nuggets season that despite the overall outcome, should be considered successful.
Denver Nuggets’ Season in Review
Overcoming a Slow Start
After a shaky start to the season, probably attributed to a shorter off-season, the Nuggets found their stride. Nikola Jokic displayed consistent MVP-like numbers and led the team through a difficult pre-All-Star break stretch. Whatever the team needed, Jokic provided. Whether he needed to score, pass or just hold his teammates accountable. Jokic took the next step, which was needed for the Nuggets to be successful. He was not just an All-Star anymore, he became an MVP caliber superstar.
As the team rounded into form, it became clear that this was the nucleus ready to contend. However, the team still needed to address some holes. The team lacked a big, versatile wing that could defend the other superstars of the league. They also lacked a true rim protector that could help balance Jokic’s one true weakness.
Tim Connelly and the team assessed these issues and addressed them at the trade deadline. The team acquired Aaron Gordon and Javale McGee. Two perfect moves that forced the NBA elite to consider Denver as a true contender in the Western Conference.
When Prediction Turned to What If?
After a handful of games, the growing pains appeared to subside. Gordon found his rhythm alongside Jokic and the team began to hit its stride. That was until a game against the Golden State Warriors, where Nuggets’ Nation experienced yet another “Nugg Life” moment.
A poor performance by the team put the Nuggets down late. However, a young and hungry Jamal Murray refused to give up. Pressing his body to its maximum, the superstar guard tore his ACL following a drive to the basket late in the game. The Nuggets’ world hit the largest speed bump imaginable. Losing Jamal Murray immediately meant the Denver Nuggets would fall back into pretender status right?
Well, that’s what everyone thought, but not the Nuggets. The Nuggets knew that Jamal Murray is the key to being successful in the long term. However, they were not going to just fold up the season and give up, that is not the culture this team created. This team has displayed resilience over the years. From managing untimely injuries to their core guys to delivering two 3-1 playoff series comebacks in last year’s bubble. This team does not know how to quit, and Nuggets Nation is right along with them.
So even though the Nuggets enter yet another offseason without the Larry O’Brien trophy, the team showed they will never stop fighting. Up until their last breath, they will not fold, even when faced with adversity. They prove again and again that they deserve to be in these playoff races, and that they will be ready come next year. This Denver Nuggets season should be considered successful, and the team should enter the offseason with their heads held high.
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