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Why the Denver Nuggets Are Focused on a Bright Future Instead of Dwelling on Losing

Why the Denver Nuggets Are Focused on a Bright Future Instead of Dwelling on Losing

  Jokic can sometimes wander aimlessly around the court during games. At other times, however, he finds comfort sitting in timeout huddles with opponents such as Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Portland's Damian Lillard. He's playing for something much greater than himself - becoming Denver's Tim Duncan and winning championships will require significant hard work. 1. They Have a Great Roster The Nuggets entered the playoffs confident that their roster had what it took to succeed. They made significant investments in franchise players Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray while making conscious efforts to add key role players Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown as integral parts of their lineup. No NBA team boasts an ideal roster, but this one may possess less flaws. What sets Denver apart from other teams who have faltered in these playoffs is that they do not rely solely on their stars, as evidenced by Game 2, when Murray was awful and Porter Jr. did nothing at all; still, Denver prevailed thanks to Jokic's spectacular performance but were also able to adapt when their top three weren't performing optimally. If the Nuggets can capitalize on their experience and build upon it, they could emerge as perennial title contenders. All it takes to achieve that is depth on this roster. No one should overlook the Nuggets' impressive bench talent, with players like Zeke Nnaji, Malik Beasley and Vlatko Cancar showing they could contribute significantly next season if kept around by Denver. Next season, the Nuggets have plenty of options to strengthen their roster with Monte Morris, Paul Millsap, and Facundo Campazzo all signed. The only issue with this is that Denver does not seem to utilize their depth properly, giving most minutes to their starters while neglecting role players. To combat this problem, I believe acquiring Reggie Jackson on the buyout market would be an excellent move if they want any hope of postseason success. Reggie's versatility would enable them to have a more flexible bench which will benefit Denver immensely in making any kind of run. 2. They Have a Great Coach Denver Nuggets head into the playoffs in strong condition for many reasons, but one key one is coach Michael Malone's contribution as they have become legitimate contenders for a top four seed in Western Conference. Malone's strong work ethic and traditional coaching approach provide the ideal complement to an outstanding roster full of potential. That is why he deserves all of the accolades that have come his way after finishing third in the NBA's executive of the year voting. He is an integral part of why the Nuggets are where they are today; but in order to stay there and avoid last season's playoff quicksand, more work must be done by all involved if they wish to avoid repeating history. This year's draft class has been underwhelming, leaving Denver's trade assets depleted. They gave up JaMychal Green and a future first-round pick (pick 30 in this year's weak draft) in exchange for Peyton Watson who will likely spend most of next season's time in the G League. The Nuggets may not possess many trade pieces available to them, but smaller moves could still be made without incurring too many losses should the team wish to upgrade on both ends of the floor. They currently possess a 9.1 million dollar trade exception which could help acquire a backup center. Stan Kroenke has been an invaluable force behind this team and one of the major reasons they're currently in such an excellent position to build something special. Unfortunately, however, his tendency to micromanage players and front office staffers could spell disaster; without someone intervening to create some significant distance between his ownership and other aspects of the organization this battle may become ugly and disastrous for all concerned - particularly fans. 3. They Have a Great Owner As an owner of a sports team, Josh Kroenke provides invaluable assistance as the Denver Nuggets try to reach victory. When things don't work out according to plan for any team owner, good ownership becomes even more valuable; that is why the Denver Nuggets have such an influential owner as themselves! Kroenke is one of the most powerful figures in both the NBA and beyond. He owns multiple teams - such as the Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Pepsi Center and Los Angeles Rams - as well as Arsenal in Europe. Additionally, Kroenke ranks sixth wealthiest among owners of American sports teams and is in the process of building an $88-million NFL stadium that will host both the 2028 Olympics as well as become home for his Rams team. That is an enormous sum, yet it goes to someone who truly cares for their teams. He's also an astute businessman who understands that players want an environment in which they want to work hard and play together - hence his emphasis on improving Nuggets training facilities as well as willingness to spend big money on players such as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. There's no question that the Nuggets possess a formidable roster. Their investments in franchise players like Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray as well as critical role players Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown make them formidable adversaries on any court. Led by Michael Malone, this team has taken steps to maximize its chances of success and maximize its window of success. However, the Nuggets still require playable wings and starting two-guards who can provide defensive assistance; their cabinet of trade assets remains far from comprehensive. Thursday's draft was particularly critical in this regard. They added Christian Braun and Peyton Watson, but neither is likely to significantly strengthen the team in 2019. For championship aspirations to materialize, the Nuggets must trade some lesser assets - something which won't come easily. 4. They Have a Great Future Denver Nuggets have just experienced a disappointing first round exit against the Golden State Warriors, yet this team remains motivated and driven to win. Even in their loss, Denver still has much to be excited about for future. Calvin Booth and his staff have carefully constructed the roster over the last several years. Substantial investments were made in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray; as well as pouring additional resources into key role players like Aaron Gordon ($21 million), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($14.7 million) and Malik Beasley ($6.8 million). Denver took UCLA freshman Peyton Watson with their 30th pick of this year's draft. This 6'8'' forward was considered one of the premier players from his high school class but struggled in college, averaging only 3.3 points per game while shooting only 39% from the field last season. Still, he was considered an outstanding prospect and highly sought-after as a free agent this offseason. The Nuggets managed to secure him for an affordable price; giving up only future second-round pick and two two-way contracts in return. Watson may not be an outstanding defensive presence for Denver, but his presence will help mitigate their loss of defensive specialist Jeff Green who was traded to Oklahoma City for three protected first-round draft picks (2027 protected first, 2019 unprotected second and 2018 protected first). As for the rest of their roster, there remain some unanswered questions; however, they have an abundance of talent who could have an immediate impact. Jokic and Murray could lead this team towards serious playoff contention in future seasons. The Nuggets boast an abundance of young talent that's poised to step into the spotlight and could become an extremely effective team if they avoid some of their past missteps.

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