|2011-12 Team Rating|
|3rd Overall||19th Overall|
2011-12 Season Stats
This is going to be good theater, to see if JaVale McGee can live up to a four-year, $44-million contract, how Danilo Gallinari responds from a poor 2011-12 and if Kenneth Faried can singlehandedly out-energy other frontcourts.
Andre Igoudala probably opens at shooting guard, though he will also play forward. Ty Lawson is the pistol to the speed offense, a push point guard who scores because he is a good shooter, not a quick shooter.
The Nuggets don't just give up a lot of points because they play fast. A full season with McGee protecting the rim and the addition of Igoudala in the four-team blockbuster will help.
The return of Wilson Chandler should be a big boost, along with the continued presence of Andre Miller. If any wild card comes through -- Anthony Randolph, Evan Fournier, Quincy Miller -- the Nuggets have a very good second unit.
George Karl remains one of the best at bringing teams together. With the Nuggets lately, it has been underdog teams that were left for dead after the Carmelo Anthony trade (2011) and one that exceeded playoff expectations (2012).
The Nuggets became a team to watch for 2012-13 because of the way they finished 2011-12. That's how promising they looked in ignoring conventional wisdom (again) to take the Lakers to seven games. That's how much they grew up in the first round before everyone's eyes, before pushing that encouraging statement by trading for Igoudala. Good for Denver.
Bad for Denver: Taking the next step is tougher. Gallinari has to improve and McGee has to produce, and going from what would have been 47-win pace in an 82-game season to now pushing for, say, home-court advantage in the postseason has to be considered a lofty challenge. Counting them out often ends up a mistake, though.
-- Scott Howard-Cooper
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||B|
|Los Angeles Lakers||A|
|New Jersey Nets||A|
|New Orleans Hornets||B+|
|New York Knicks||C|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||C-|
|San Antonio Spurs||B|