They got close in the 2012, taking the Los Angeles Lakers to Game 7, but, in the end, they still suffered another crushing defeat in the first round.
Before the playoffs, the Nuggets struck gold by trading for the young and raw JaVale McGee. McGee put his elite athleticism to effective use in the playoffs against that huge Laker front line.
So how about putting another extremely athletic big right next to him? The perfect candidate: Josh Smith.
Smith is looking to leave the Atlanta Hawks, and what better place for him to land than in Denver. The most athletic and speedy team in the league gets bigger and better on both ends of the floor with the acquisition of Josh Smith.
Smith has come a long way from the knuckleheaded mistakes he made earlier in his career. Not only is Denver's roster tailor made for him but so too is Nuggets head coach George Karl. Karl has always been one of those coaches that simply brings out the best in his players.
Smith still hasn't reached his ceiling as a player. He's an outstanding defender and rebounder. His offensive game can use some work—he needs to develop a better post game and stay away from shooting ill-advised jump shots—but George Karl will be in his ear about that.
With McGee and Smith as the Nuggets bigs, the Nuggets will take one huge step closer to being the type of team defensively that can make a deep playoff run.
Possible Trade Scenario
Nuggets Receive: PF Josh Smith
Hawks Receive: SF Wilson Chandler, PF Al Harrington, C Timofey Mozgov and a first-round pick.
It remains to be seen if the Nuggets will target Smith, but if they did acquire him, imagine what he and McGee could do on the back end of a defense with those long arms and quick hops.
The Nuggets should at least give it some thought.