The Western Conference is loaded. With the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers running the top of the conference, there are a few young teams that are looking to make playoff pushes in the next few seasons. Two of those teams are the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz. The Timberwolves have a good chance to make the playoffs this upcoming season because of how quick they rebuilt their franchise. But, one team that many people are forgetting about is the Denver Nuggets.
They have two big men in Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic that have showed signs of promise with the ability to play on both ends of the floor. They have a true point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay leading the way by averaging 6.5 apg per 36 minutes in his rookie season.
With seven players under 22 years old, there is reason for hope in Denver. It’s just going to take some time for this team to develop and become successful over an 82 game season. The lack of veteran leadership and team chemistry is a major downfall of rebuilding. They had 33 wins last season and are looking to improve that number a decent amount even though they start off the season with 8 of their first 10 games against playoff teams. These first 10 games will determine who is the leader of this team and this young core. They lack that superstar who is able to take them over the hump. Kenneth Faried never had enough talent around him to be anything better than a 7 or 8 seed in the West.
You can see that management wanted a veteran guard to mentor guys like Mudiay and Jamal Murray when they were aggressive in signing Dwyane Wade this past off season. They want to make Denver a place where potential big free agents would consider signing, and having a young core that shows signs of being on the rise and winning basketball games will do that.
In order for the young core of the Nuggets to have a break out season, the young players need to play, and play a lot. The organization needs to eventually become aggressive to let these young players bloom. There is a lot of value in playing younger players. There is experience that will come naturally to them and they can also attract potential free agents if one or two of those young players show signs of becoming superstars.
The Nuggets are closer than people think because they will start to become aggressive this coming season and next off season.