Nuggets 2022-23 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 17, 2022

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Nikola Jokic spent the entire 2021-22 season propping up the Denver Nuggets by his lonesome.

Help is on the way.

Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are expected back at full health this season after combining to play a grand total of nine games a year ago. Murray missed the entire season while recovering from an ACL tear, while Porter missed all but nine games after undergoing surgery on his back.

You know who will probably go into this season with a tired back? Jokic, from carrying the Nuggets all last season.

Jokic won his second straight MVP by eclipsing the performance from his first MVP campaign, putting up averages of 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists. The Nuggets will hope that the health of Jokic's two co-stars allows him to perhaps take on less of a burden in the regular season in search of a deeper run into the playoffs.

Let's take a look at Denver's schedule and see how it shakes out.

2022-23 Nuggets Schedule Details

Season Opener: at Utah Jazz (Oct. 19)

Championship Odds: +2100 (via FanDuel)

Full Schedule: NBA.com

Top Matchups

Golden State Warriors (Oct. 21, Feb. 2, April 2)

It won't take the sting out of the Nuggets' first-round loss, but their first game against the defending champs may be a strong barometer of where they stand this season.

Jokic faced a nearly impossible task of taking down the Warriors during the 2022 postseason, one made all the worse by Jordan Poole turning into the third Splash Brother over the six-game series.

With Murray and Porter back in the fold, this should be a fairer matchup—and a battle of two of the Western Conference's best teams. Jokic presents the Warriors with one of their most difficult defensive matchups. He's taller than Draymond Green and can match his strength, and he overwhelms Kevon Looney down on the block.

Provided Murray gets his initial burst back off the dribble, he's also a matchup nightmare for the less-than-stellar defensive trio of Stephen Curry, Poole and the injury-diminished Klay Thompson.

Philadelphia 76ers (Jan. 28, March 27)

For two straight years, Nikola Jokic has thwarted Joel Embiid's bid for NBA MVP and first-team All-NBA center.

Jokic's Nuggets have also won the head-to-head battle 3-1.

That said, neither team has been at full strength as this budding rivalry has built up. Jokic went long stretches without Murray and Porter, while Embiid played stretches without Ben Simmons and with James Harden at less than 100 percent.

With all of their co-stars seemingly healthy and both teams seeing themselves as title contenders, an Embiid-Jokic head-to-head may have the actual competitiveness level you'd expect from two superstars competing for MVPs.

At the least, it will be a fun game between two of the best teams in the NBA.

Season Forecast

The Nuggets are the Western Conference's biggest "what if?" of the last two seasons. After shockingly making their way to the conference finals during the 2020 bubble, Denver came back stronger with an MVP-caliber Jokic and a version of Porter seemingly on the precipice of stardom.

The Nuggets then cashed in some of their trade chips to add Aaron Gordon at the 2021 deadline and looked very much like a sleeper title contender.

Then...it all fell apart.

Murray tore his ACL just before the end of the regular season, Gordon and Porter both wilted in their second-round series against the Phoenix Suns and the Nuggets navigated their way through a largely forgettable 2021-22 campaign.

Now, the good news: The West is still mostly wide open.

A new, rising contender emerged in Memphis last season, but there is no obvious juggernaut. The Phoenix Suns did not do much to get better after their second-round upset loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Utah Jazz blew up their whole roster and no one quite knows what's going on in Los Angeles—on either side of the hallway.

If the Nuggets play up to their potential, they'll be on the short list of title contenders.

Record Prediction: 55-27

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