NBA: 3 dark horse teams that could make a deep playoff run

NBA Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Nikola Jokic
NBA Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

Denver Nuggets (36-25) – currently on a six-game win streak

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone has done a great job building the culture in Denver. Since he took over in the 2015-16 season, the Nuggets have only had one season with 40 or fewer wins, and four seasons with 45 or more wins. In his coaching span, they have also seen the playoffs three times and made the Conference Finals in 2019-20.

Malone can only do so much as a coach. That’s where his superstar MVP candidate in Nikola Jokic factors into play. Jokic currently leads the Nuggets in points (25.5), rebounds (13.8), assists (8.0), steals (1.4), and blocks (0.7). I think it’s safe to say that the Nuggets rely heavily on Jokics’ play every single game.

Denver like many other contending playoff teams have depth in their roster and has role players who add a lot to the overall team success. Those are players like Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, and Monte Morris. The Nuggets are not at full strength either. They will be looking to add some key players back soon.

Michael Porter Jr. is heading to the G League to scrimmage later this week. He has only played in nine games this season due to the need for back surgery early in the season. It was expected that he would most likely miss the remainder of the season, but he is expected to be cleared for contact in near future.

Another great player that might make a return at some point in the next few weeks is the 25-year-old Jamal Murray. He hasn’t made his season debut yet, but optimism is growing that he can make a return prior to the start of the playoffs.

Next. Golden State Warriors: 3 concerning trends that could hurt title chances. dark

Utah, Boston, and the Nuggets are all contenders going into the playoffs. Can one of them make a historic run to the finals and prove the doubters wrong? The NBA playoffs start on Sunday, April 16. Who will be the last team standing?