6 Reasons the Denver Nuggets Are Serious NBA Title Contenders
Since starting the season with a 16-14 record, the Nuggets have seemingly found their groove as they currently hold the fifth seed in the West with a 39-22 record.
Aside from racking up the wins, the Nuggets have also started to display distinct characteristics of a capable championship team.
While the NBA playoffs are still a little over a month away, the Nuggets have already earned the right to be considered serious title contenders.
Here are six reasons the Nuggets will make a run at this year's NBA title.
Through 61 games this season, the Nuggets currently rank third in the league in bench production with 40.1 points per game, according to hoopsstats.com.
Along with this solid scoring effort, the Nuggets' bench has performed exceptionally well in other categories, as they also rank in the top 10 in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
With key reserves like JaVale McGee, Andre Miller and Wilson Chandler all coming off the bench, George Karl has been able to rest his starters without worry of skipping a beat.
Denver's bench will play a huge role in this year's playoffs and could prove to be the deciding factor in their title hunt.
If there is one thing that won't happen to this Nuggets team come playoff time, it'll be lack of energy.
At an average age of 24.8 years old (per CBS Sports), the Nuggets are one of the league's youngest teams. While some young teams may falter because of their age, the Nuggets have flourished, using their youth as an advantage on a regular basis.
Aside from the up-tempo style of play provided by their young guns, the Nuggets' youth also possesses distinct skill levels greater than their years.
The Nuggets' starters of Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos have games that complement one another. The fact that these five already understand this at a young age could make them contenders this year and for many years to come.
Possess Veteran Leadership
History has proven itself time and time again—if you want to win a championship, you must have some sort of veteran leadership.
Luckily for the Nuggets, this leadership comes in the form of seasoned veteran Andre Miller. The 36-year-old guard out of the University of Utah is in his 14th season and has provided this young squad with stability and years of experience.
Although not as quick or athletic as he once was, Miller has proven that he can still score the ball or dish it to his teammates.
Miller has been productive all season long off the bench averaging 9.0 points, 5.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. The Nuggets need Miller to keep up this level of play if they want to be playing for a title this June.
Have Great Size
As if the Nuggets needed any more advantages over their opposition, they also possess great size.
The Nuggets are currently ranked second in the NBA in average height, averaging an excellent 6'6". One of the main reasons the Nuggets are ranked so high in this category is because of their depth at the center position.
Unlike many other teams, the Nuggets realize the importance of having a collection of big men—they currently hold three 7'0"-plus players in Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov. With Faried included in this mix, the Nuggets have become one of the top rebounding and blocking teams in the NBA.
The Nuggets won't be getting any smaller and must look to exploit this advantage in this year's postseason.
While most analysts and fans would suggest that teams need superstars to be considered serious title contenders, the Nuggets have continued to prove otherwise.
Throughout this season, the Nuggets have displayed a balanced attack on offense, as nine of their players currently average eight or more points per game. Along with this balanced scoring, the Nuggets have also dished the rock at an exceptional rate, ranking third in the NBA with 24.3 assists per game, according to NBA.com/stats.
The Nuggets are obviously a group of guys that play well with each other and thrive off one another's success. With more than a handful of players being able to step up in any given game, the Nuggets are one of the league's most dangerous teams.
Almost Unbeatable at Home
Denver has always been a tough place for any road team looking to get a victory, and this year hasn't been any different.
The Nuggets clearly thrive on their home floor and all signs point to them continuing this dominance in this year's playoffs.
If the Nuggets can put together a few road victories in the postseason, they could walk away with this year's NBA championship.