2019 Denver Nuggets Staying on Upward Trajectory
2019 Denver Nuggets Betting Storylines
The Nuggets are on a serious upward trajectory. They had missed the playoffs for five years in a row heading into last season. And they had really bottomed out, winning just 30 games in 2015. But after winning 46 games in 2018, they really went on a run last year, climbing all the way to 54 wins. And it certainly isn't a mystery to figure out how they pulled that off. Nikola Jokic is a true superstar, and he just keeps getting better - and he's only 25. And Jamal Murray is only 22 and is emerging as a superstar himself. That's a pretty strong core to build around. Add in Gary Harris, who is just 25, and the team is in strong shape. Their emergence last year was no fluke, and it would be a real surprise to see them go anywhere. Jokic was locked down long term last year, and Murray was extended this summer, so we are just at the beginning of a window. The West is not an easy place to be right now, though, so how far can they go?
2019 Denver Nuggets Additions and Departures
We should start with an addition that isn't technically new but could be significant. Michael Porter Jr., the 14th overall pick in 2018, didn't play at all last year, and he played only three games in college for Missouri. He just hasn't been able to stay healthy. But he had talent that had him listed as a potential top overall pick when he was in high school, and he heads into this season finally seeming healthy. The rust will be an inch thick on him, so patience will be required. But the upside is certainly here. If he can stay healthy, he could be another star for this deep squad.
In a season that didn't feature a lot of changes, the biggest new addition was Jerami Grant, who was added from Oklahoma City in a trade for a first-round pick. Grant is six years into his career, but he had a career year in a big way last year, averaging 13.6 points and 5.2 boards in 77 starts. He's a strong defender with a killer outside shot, and he's in the last year of his current deal, so he is a good fit who should be motivated to play well and earn himself a big payday. It was a savvy addition.
Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon both left in free agency this summer - without any real resistance from the Nuggets. While neither move will matter much to the team on the court, they are worth talking about because of what could have been. In the 2017 draft, they acquired Lyles and the 24th pick, which became Lydon. Lyles was a decent enough piece off the bench, but not a big impact guy. And Lydon never made any impact in two years. These things happen, and there is no reason to lose sleep. Except for one thing - the pick they sent to Utah in return for the two players turned into Donovan Mitchell. Denver is very good now. With Mitchell they'd be incredibly tough to beat. Even well-run teams on a roll can miss big, and this is a burning reminder of that.
The team didn't have a pick in the draft but did trade a future second-rounder to take a flyer on Bol Bol in the second round. The son of Manute was a controversial prospect heading into the season at Oregon last year because some saw his upside while others saw problems. And he was hurt after only nine games to further cause uncertainty. When he fell into the second round, the Nuggets couldn't resist. Now they have a project on a two-way deal. Only time will tell what that turns into, but there is no downside here.
2019 Denver Nuggets Futures Odds and Trends
Denver Nuggets Futures Odds
NBA title odds : +1600
Western Conference title odds : +1000
Northwest Division title odds: +140
Nikola Jokic MVP Odds : +1200
Season win total: 52.5
Will the Denver Nuggets make the playoffs: Yes -800, No +600
Despite winning 54 games last year, and being better than many expected with an eight-win improvement from the prior year and a 14-win jump over two years, the team was a fairly underwhelming 42-4 ATS in the season. They were much more useful on totals, though, going under 47 times and over just 34. That's where the money was.
2019 Denver Nuggets Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I really like this team. The core is strong, the coaching is sound, and the roster is well built. The over on the season win total looks very good. My only issue is that I like Utah a little better in the division. They won a playoff series last year, and went to the second round in another series, so they aren't far off. But so many teams in the West aren't far off right now, either. This team is right in the mix, and their ceiling is very high, but I have to be at least a little cautious about them.
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