After finishing first in the Northwest Division and reaching the Conference Semi-finals before losing out to Portland Trail Blazers, the Denver Nuggets have found themselves in the mix of a playoff scramble once again. Coach Michael Malone’s Nuggets team is currently having a decent season and see themselves top of the Northwest Division still and third on the Western Conference behind the two Los Angeles teams, Lakers and Clippers with a win-loss record of 43-22. With all the talk about the familiar big guns in the NBA this season, Denver Nuggets’ performances have gone under the radar. At the moment, they are still in contention to secure a playoff qualification at the end of the season and progress past the Conference semi-finals to take steps closer to a historic first NBA title if the NBA season resumes later this year. We take a look at Denver Nuggets’ season so far and the factors behind their good fortunes so far this season.
Denver Nuggets’ Season So far
The Nuggets enjoyed an unbeaten pre-season with brilliant victories over Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns. As a result, they headed into the new regular season with momentum and confidence.
Denver Nuggets started the season on a strong note with three consecutive wins over Portland Trail Blazers (108-100), Phoenix Suns (108-107 OT) and Sacramento Kings (101-94). However, Nuggets succumbed to successive defeats at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks (109-106) and New Orleans Pelicans (122-107) in their next two games. After just five games into the new regular season, the Nuggets had a 3-2 win-loss record. However, Denver Nuggets were quick to put aside the two disappointing results that blemished their perfect start to the season, recording an impressive ten wins and a single defeat in the next 11 games.
Huge victories over early pacesetters and big guns, Philadelphia 76ers (100-97), Houston Rockets (105-95) and Boston Celtics (96-92) were the highlights of that period. At this stage, the Nuggets were heading on an upward trajectory and challenging the Los Angeles Lakers for the top spot of the Western Conference. Their performances also highlighted the team’s solidity and consistency at the start of the season. For the second consecutive season, the team looked like a potential title challenger after the early part of the season.
However, one win from their next six games quickly derailed Nuggets’ ambition for the top spot and temporarily quelled any talks of a title push. Some of the defeats came against opponents they had already beaten in their first encounters of the season. The team recovered to record nine wins and a single loss, including a seven-game winning streak. Since then, the Nuggets have had a rough patch claiming 20 wins in 33 games. They have also lost 13 games during that period. They currently have a 5-5 win-loss record from their last ten games. Despite the recent inconsistent results, Denver Nuggets have firmly held both the top position and the third position of the Northwest Division and Western Conference, respectively.
Factors behind Their Performances this season
The main factor behind Denver Nuggets’ decent season has been the collective contributions of the team’s key players. The likes of Center Nikola Jokic, Point Guard Jamal Murray, Power Forward Paul Millsap, Small Forwards Michael Porter Jr., and Will Barton have been impressive and influential for the team in most of their games this season.
Center Nikola Jokic has averaged 20.2 points per game, 10.2 rebounds per game and 6.9 assists per game in 65 games so far this season. His average points per game this season are higher than what he recorded the whole of last season. He also has an incredible point-scoring number on the road this season. On the road, Jokic has averaged 20.5 points per game.
Point Guard Jamal Murray also averages 18.8 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game and 4.8 assists per game in 55 games. Power Forward Paul Millsap has also averaged 12.0 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game after 44 games this season. Small Forward Michael Porter Jr. has also averaged 7.5 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, and 0.7 assists per game in 48 games. Will Barton has also averaged 15.1 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game in 58 games.
Another factor behind Denver Nuggets’ good season so far has been their decent form at home this season. They currently have a 25-8 win-loss home record. The Nuggets have only lost four games in 2020. They have enjoyed victories over Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, L.A. Clippers, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks.
What’s next for Denver Nuggets?
At the moment, it is uncertain if the season will resume anytime soon. For the Nuggets, there will be challenging encounters ahead against San Antonio Spurs, L.A. Lakers, Clippers and Toronto Raptors in the next five games if the season resumes. Significant victories in these fixtures could see the Nuggets take a step closer to qualifying for the playoffs.