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The Denver Nuggets can straight-up run.
They used their incredible athleticism to their advantage last year, finishing 38-28 and nabbing the No. 6 seed by running and gunning through the lockout-shortened campaign.
Denver averaged an impressive 104.1 points per game last season, which was good for first in the league, and also led the NBA in assists with 24.0 per contest.
With so many players constantly moving and flying down the court, it was simple for the entire team to share the ball (Lawson was the leading set-up artist, but averaged just 6.0 dimes per game) and get easy buckets.
We’ll expect more of the same this year, with a stronger emphasis on actually stopping the opponent on the defensive end. Iguodala will lead that charge, and he should certainly be up for it.
The former Sixers star spent the summer practicing with Team USA. He got ample opportunities to guard some of the best players in the world while also seeing the top defenders’ work ethic and the dedication they put forth in locking down their men.
Coach Karl will certainly have Iggy assigned to the best perimeter defender, and he should seamlessly be able to manage that and the rest of Afflalo’s duties now that he’s the starting 2 in Denver.
Another way the Nuggets’ immense athletic ability has shown up in the box score is in the rebounding department.
This team pulled down an average of 43.1 per contest in 2011-12, with rookie sensation Faried cleaning the glass to the tune of 10.0 per game. If the Denver players continue to hustle, box out and spring up to get these rebounds, it will make life a lot easier in 2012-13.
The other underrated strength of this organization is the depth on the roster.
We mentioned it earlier, but it’s worth noting again. There might not be another team in the NBA that has at least two players at every position of the same quality that Denver possesses. Go run through the depth chart again to see for yourself.
With Lawson/Miller, Iguodala/Brewer, Gallinari/Chandler, Faried/Randolph and McGee/Koufos, the Nuggets will be able to combat a number of injuries and not skip a beat. They’ll also have the luxury of giving aching or ailing players a night’s rest every now and then.
That’s a huge advantage in an 82-game season, and it should certainly help the Nuggets' seeding come playoff time.