The Denver Nuggets reached the playoffs last season only to be defeated by the eventual NBA champion, the San Antonio Spurs. The Nuggets are a high offense team having Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson in their roster, but as a team, they definitely need to improve their defense. With Melo and A.I. finally working out together as a cohesive offense machine, Nuggets’ chances in the playoffs will be high and it will be bolstered by the return of power forward Kenyon Martin. This is Martin’s first time to play since his microfracture surgery, and if all goes well, Nuggets will be a powerhouse team in the Northwest Division. But they also need to keep in mind that Northwest is full of high caliber teams. Seattle Supersonics, Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz are also in the Northwest. The competition is the division is bound to be tight. I think T’wolves won’t be a problem because they are on rebuilding process. The Blazers and Sonics are both young energetic teams but since Blazers’ Greg Oden will miss the season, the Nuggets should keep their eyes on the explosive Sonics guard Kevin Durant. Jazz will definitely be the biggest competitor in the division and they better watch out for Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.
The Nuggets won’t have much problem in the offense so I expect them to reach the playoffs again, but if they wish to reach the finals, they MUST start defending. Staying healthy and improving their defense are the keys to their success. If NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby can instill the value of defense to the whole team, I won’t be surprised to see the Nuggets beyond the first round of playoffs.