In perhaps the greatest NBA offseason of all time, a particular contender questionably stayed in the shadows. The Denver Nuggets have given the impression that they are absolutely content with their roster as their only acquisition was a backup small forward in Jerami Grant.
Watching the Nuggets all season long, there are huge vulnerabilities when it comes to who can close out a game come crunch time. They were almost embarrassed by the seventh-seed Spurs last April, as they took them to seven games before the Nuggets closed the deal.
They were ultimately put in their coffins by the Trailblazers (a team who would later get swept by the Durant-less Warriors) and it helps beg the question, why are the Nuggets so content with where they are? Are they that confident in Michael Porter Jr., a red shirted rookie who played 3 games in college? Or Bol Bol? A 7′ 2″ Center drafted by a team who has arguably the best center in the league.
The Nuggets have a tall task ahead of them, as these Western Conference teams have all upgraded their rosters this offseason:
The Golden State Warriors
After losing out on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, the Warriors wasted no time in reloading, or should I say, DLoading, the instagram handle of rising star D’angelo Russell they acquired from Brooklyn. When Klay Thompson comes back from injury, expect him to play the 3 position more often to balance this Big 3.
The Los Angeles Clippers
Executing the Free Agency move of the century and absolutely rupturing the balance of the NBA as we knew it, they acquired both Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Moe Harkless, the first two being lock down defenders that can acquire a bucket anytime if needed, and Harkless to further his development behind the two stars.
The Los Angeles Lakers
Adding an impressive barrage of role players to increase depth while also trading for the best Power Forward in the game, Anthony Davis
The Houston Rockets
Who could have known they would upgrade at a position ran by CP3 himself? The blockbuster trade of summer acquired them All-Star Russell Westbrook and got rid of the tension growing between Harden and CP3. If they figure out how to share the offense between these two studs, watch out for this team.
The Portland Trailblazers
Portland added a finesse, shot- blocking big man in Hassan Whiteside to help beef their defense up, something they needed to work on tremendously last year. If Nurkic comes back playing at the same intensity, this duo of tall trees could cause problems come spring time.
The Utah Jazz
Finally, this team upgraded immensely its roster by trading for Mike Conley, signing Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis, and could reap the benefits of these moves by silently becoming a top 4 team in the West.
Conclusions and Predictions
First things first, I personally do not see Denver obtaining a top 5 seed in the West this year. They have been too stagnant and it will turn around and bite them in the behind.
The winner of the Western Conference will be the team that can make their dynamic duo coexist the best. Will the King and AD take the West’s cake this year? Or will James turn Davis into a spot up shooter? Will Harden and Westbrook represent the West in the finals? Or will they struggle sharing one basketball as some memes have poked fun at. Or will the Golden State Warriors continue their dynasty?
Only time will tell, but one thing is certain, this league is about to get a whole lot more interesting to watch.