The Denver Nuggets turned heads and opened a lot of eyes in the 2016-17 season. After the unexpected ascension of second-year big man Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets propelled themselves into playoff contention. Denver ultimately missed the post-season; nevertheless, it completely changed the direction of the franchise moving forward.
The ‘Joker‘ made himself a front-running candidate for the ‘Most Improved Player Award’ with his exhilarating play, while emerging as a fan favorite due to his flashy passes.
Coach Malone decided to hand the keys of the offense to Jokic — thus, revolutionizing the point center position. Doing so has proven a great success for Denver, as they leave opposing teams scratching their heads.
Jokic’s Nuggets were hindered of their full potential because of the Jusuf Nurkic fiasco. Once Denver traded the ‘Bosnian Beast‘, the Nuggets went on to finish with a 16-12 record.
Denver brought up the rear of the lottery with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Nuggets decided to select the best player available, Donovan Mitchell. But with the plethora of wing talent, Denver opted to send the 13th pick to Utah in exchange for Trey Lyles, along with the 28th overall pick; which later became Tyler Lydon. Mitchell has since oturned many heads with his athleticism and defensive capabilities while Lydon mightily struggled in the Summer League.
Denver’s rationale for this move came from their extreme deprivation of a competent stretch four. The trade landed them two stretch forwards who they hope can contribute to their playoff run, while also adding one of the best power forwards in the NBA in Paul Millsap.
Free agent Paul Millsap has agreed to a three-year, $90M with the Denver Nuggets, league sources tell The Vertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 3, 2017
Millsap seemed to be the perfect for the Nuggets because of his playstyle and defensive versatility. The former Atlanta Hawks forward does not need the ball in his hands to be effective, while he also brings floor spacing along with a defensive presence down low. With the addition of Millsap, Denver have assembled the best passing front court in the league; the duo averaged a combined 8.6 assists per game in the prior season.
Losing a solid starter in Danilo Gallinari to the Los Angeles Clippers was a hard pill to swallow, but with the addition of Millsap brings a world of postseason experience that can only benefit the organization going forward.
The Nuggets have also been involved in rumors surrounding star point guards Kyrie Irving and Eric Bledsoe. If they could get a deal done while not giving up too much, it would bolster their offseason grade greatly, but as of right now, the Denver Nuggets receive a fairly high score.
Final Grade: B