|2012-13 Team Rating|
|5th Overall||11th Overall|
2012-13 Season Stats
The big change is center JaVale McGee figures to get his big shot. Danilo Gallinari, recovering from ACL surgery, could miss more than two months. Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur and J.J. Hickson provide the backbone.
Andre Iguodala walking is a severe blow. Randy Foye likely takes his starting spot next to speedster point guard Ty Lawson as he adjusts to a new system, likely more halfcourt based. Nate Robinson joins Andre Miller off the bench.
An area of emphasis for coach Brian Shaw, 7-foot rim protector McGee is a plus, but an especially small backcourt without Iguodala could spell trouble on the perimeter for a team that allowed 102.0 ppg last season.
Gallinari's return to the starting lineup will further aid a deep bench that already includes Hickson, Arthur, Anthony Randolph and Timofey Mozgov in the frontcourt, and Miller, Robinson and Evan Fournier in the backcourt.
The ultimate wild card. Rookie coach Shaw takes over for revered George Karl. Still a mystery how Shaw will run the offense, but he's already made it clear he'll stress halfcourt execution, a departure from Karl, and defense.
Prior to the 2013 playoffs, George Karl lamented his exciting team's lack of health (Gallinari). A first-round loss to Golden State sprung a spiral of unforeseen events: Coach of the Year Karl was fired and Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri exited for Toronto's front office. Iguodala then left as a free agent for the Warriors.
After nine seasons of run-and-fun under Karl, Shaw assuredly will pull back and seek to transform Denver into a more traditional, playoff-style offense. Expect the Nuggets' possessions and scoring prowess to drop off, and perhaps the defense to tighten some. A repeat as the No. 3-seed seems farfetched. Much will be determined by how quickly Shaw's team picks up on his schemes.
-- Jeff Caplan
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||B+|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|