2009-10 Denver Nuggets Predictions
by Justin Johnson - 10/10/2009
2008-09 Record: 54-28
Home: 23-17-1 Away: 21-20
Home: 23-18 Away: 19-22
Projected Starting Five: PG, Chauncey Billups. SG, Aaron Afflalo. SF, Carmelo Anthony. PF, Kenyon Martin. C, Nene.
Breakdown: A trade for Chauncey Billups suddenly gave Denver a shot in the arm in the 2008-09 season and helped get the Denver Nuggets to the conference finals. With most of the team returning and in their prime another charge to the conference finals is not out of the question.
Billups is a natural leader and helped transform Carmelo Anthony into a more complete player. His ability to create his own shots as well as dish passes despite being at an advanced age (33) is still better than what they were getting from Allen Iverson.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the best small forwards in the league and his toughness and scoring touch has continued to develop. The LeBron-versus-Melo rivalry has yet to develop but this is a season where Denver could make a run to the finals.
Kenyon Martin is now 32, and he also is coming off yet another injury and may not be 100 percent at any point this season. His ability to give serviceable minutes to the club will be crucial.
The defense for George Karl was seemingly non-existent as the Nuggets allowed more than 100 points per game but it was deceptively good as they were second in the league in blocked shots (6.0 per game) as well as third in steals (8.65 per game) and those numbers should be replicable in 2009-10.
Chris "Birdman" Anderson is still there to back-up another injured riddled veteran Nene. Anderson does not guard his man very well, but has excellent timing and blocks 2.5 shots per game in only 20 minutes on the floor.
The main question in terms of success this season is the lack of a major move made by Denver. The Lakers added Ron Artest, San Antonio added Richard Jefferson, and the Mavericks picked up Shawn Marion while Denver stood pat. The roster has enough talent to replicate last season's win total but the overall judgment of the team will be in the playoffs where they may have taken a step backwards.
2009-10 Denver Nuggets Predictions: While Portland is hot on their heels it looks as though Denver should still be able to win the Northwest Division again and equal last year's 54-win output. A first round win is now expected but matchup problems with most other teams in the Western Conference may lead to a second round exit.
Futures consideration - BetUS
Denver is a legitimate threat to the Lakers in the West and could theoretically win it all. The current futures play for the West has the Nuggets at +650, which could be excellent value for a team that made it to the conference finals last year.
If Denver can get by early season favorites Los Angeles then winning the NBA Finals would not be impossible and at +1500 should be given consideration.
Melo averaged 23 points, seven boards and four assists last year; his ability to get on the glass to average a double-double would go a long way towards an MVP candidacy. At +1000 it is somewhat short odds for what it would take to win the award this year for the forward.
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