Denver Nuggets: 5 Reasons Why the Nuggets Will Be Successful in the Playoffs

Aaron Siegal-EismanFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2013

Denver Nuggets: 5 Reasons Why the Nuggets Will Be Successful in the Playoffs

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    While all of the attention was surrounding the Miami Heat's streak, the Denver Nuggets were the hottest team in the Western Conference. The Nuggets have won 17 of their last 20 games.

    Over that period, they beat teams like the Thunder twice, Clippers, Knicks and Bulls. They are proving to be the best home team in the NBA winning 33 of 36 games in Denver.

    Recently, the Nuggets hopped over the Clippers for the No. 3 seed in the west. It's going to be difficult to catch the Thunder at the No. 2 spot. But from where this team was at the beginning of the season, there has been major improvements to get to where they are today.

    If Denver can continue to play this well, then they will have success in the playoffs. The Nuggets certainly aren't known for playoff success with zero conference titles, but this could be the year all that changes.

    Here are five reasons why the Nuggets will be successful in the playoffs:    

Fast-Paced Offense Brings Success

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    One of the main reasons why the Nuggets played so well in late February and March was because of their high-octane offense that pushes the ball down court. The player’s look to attack the rim and get the best shot possible.

    Denver ranks third in the league with 105.6 points per game. They score so many points per game because of the fast movement of their offense against opponents.

    There aren't too many teams that can run up-tempo like the Nuggets, which makes their offense difficult to defend. Their offense does a good job of pushing the ball to score before the opposing teams' defense gets set. 

    Being able to score buckets in the playoffs is crucial for any team because the pace tends to slow down. But, if the Nuggets use their fast-paced offense to dictate their playoff series, then they are going to have success.

Getting Rebounds in Crucial Situations

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    Rebounding well in the playoffs is crucial for a team to have success because the team that out-rebounds the opponent tends to get the victory. Also, offensive rebounds allow for second chance points and more opportunities to score against a defense.

    The Nuggets rank fourth in the league with 44.7 rebounds per game. The main reason they grab so many boards per game is due to forward Kenneth Faried and center Kosta Koufos, who combine for 16.1 rebounds per game.

    Even the Denver guards do a good job of getting necessary rebounds in big games. Rebounds are also very important to their offense because it leads to quick ball movement to get transition buckets.

    Transition points are a huge part of their fast-paced offense. The better the Nuggets can rebound the ball in the playoffs, their chances of winning games increases.   

Two-Headed Point Guard Attack

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    The Nuggets are in good hands with their point guard duo that provides quality minutes. Head coach George Karl has got a talented true point guard in 25-year-old Ty Lawson.

    Lawson leads the team with 16.7 points and 6.9 assists per game. He has turned into a leader for the team and a player that his teammates can really rely on in big games.

    Veteran Andre Miller backs up Lawson and contributes solid minutes off the bench. Miller isn't just a point guard for the Nuggets, but also a mentor for Lawson and the other young players. His experience in the playoffs will be important for this team to have down the road.

    Lawson and Miller have turned into a dynamic tandem that are important parts to this team. They both push the pace and run the floor really well for their team. They have to continue to lead the Nuggets in the playoffs and not turn the ball over frequently or else this team could be in trouble.   

Balanced Scoring Attack

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    Not many teams in the league have a balanced scoring attack like the Nuggets. Six players average double-digit points per game, which shows that the points really get spread out.

    It's a positive that there isn't one star player that the team lives and dies by. Their offensive style allows for a multitude of players to score points and make contributions to the team.

    In their last game against the Brooklyn Nets, guard Evan Fournier scored 19 points and he isn't even one of Denver's top-10 scorers. This just shows how Karl and the coaching staff allow many different players to step up on the offensive end. 

    The balanced scoring attack will lead this team to success in the playoffs, but Iguodala has to be one of the players to step up. Iguodala has the ability to be a significant offensive component for this team because his athleticism and ability to attack the rim.  

Defensive Consistency Against Quality Opponents

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    The Nuggets aren't the best defensive team in the league, but they put up big numbers in the blocks and steals categories. Denver is second in the league with 9.3 steals per game and tied for third with 6.5 blocks per game.

    Five Nuggets average at least one steal per game with Andre Iguodala leading the team with 1.72 per game. This shows that the Nuggets are aggressive with their on-ball defense.

    On the other hand, their big men are doing an excellent job of denying the opposing teams in the paint. Centers Javale McGee and Kosta Koufos combine for 3.31 blocks per game. Their size has turned into a problem for certain Western Conference opponents.

    The Nuggets problem on defense has been their ability to allow over 100 points per game. They rank 22nd in the league allowing 101 points per game. They certainly have to improve that number by the time the playoffs come around or teams will try to run up the score against them.