No, the Denver Nuggets are not going to lose in the first round of the playoffs

Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

I think it’s time to put some respect on the Denver Nuggets and their franchise. 

I get it. When you first hear the franchise name “Denver Nuggets,” you don’t automatically think perennial championship contender. However, I think it’s time that we give the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference a bit more credit. The Nuggets may not be a household-name franchise but this team is also not a fraud.

For one reason or another, there has been this rising narrative that the Nuggets could lose in the first round of the playoffs. Even more so if they play the Los Angeles Lakers or the Golden State Warriors in a possible 1-8 matchup (which is looking quite possible).

While some may chalk this up as talking heads just trying to make some waves in what has become the dog days of the NBA that is post-NBA Trade Deadline and prior to the start of the playoffs, there’s probably a good chance that this is a common belief amongst casual viewers.

After all, when you hear of a possible playoff matchup between the Lakers-Nuggets or Warriors-Nuggets, of course, you’re going to lean toward the familiar.

But these Nuggets are not complete frauds. They’re a very good team that has been a good team for a while now. This just happens to be the year where it has all come together for the franchise.

Why the Denver Nuggets are the real deal

Let’s not focus on the Lakers or Warriors. Both of those teams are extremely flawed teams this season and it would be quite unprecedented if they were suddenly able to flip the switch this late in the season.

We’ve seen teams flip their switches at the All-Star break or even at the NBA Trade Deadline. But not in the middle of March. Let’s put that idea to bed. It’s not happening.

But let’s take a bit of a deeper look at why it’s safe to believe in the Nuggets and why this team should be favored to not only win a possible first-round playoff matchup against the Lakers or Warriors but to also win the West entirely.

First, whether you’re willing to admit it or not, it’s safe to say that the Nuggets have the star power to win the championship. Nikola Jokic is on his way to winning his third-straight NBA MVP award. There’s nothing he can’t do on the offensive end of the floor and will go down as a generational talent. Jamal Murray is one of the most underrated guards in the league and Michael Porter Jr. can absolutely fill it up on the offensive end.

The Nuggets also have a quality supporting cast of Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Bruce Brown, and Jeff Green. They also added Reggie Jackson via the buyout market. When it comes to roster build, the Nuggets have one of the most balanced rosters in the NBA, certainly in the Western Conference.

Statistically, the Nuggets have the second-best offensive rating in the league and a top 5 net rating. If there is one concern for the Nuggets heading into the playoffs, it’s on the defensive end of the floor where the team ranks 16th in defensive rating.

While that’s something to keep an eye on, their offense may be so good that it may not even matter.

Ultimately, the Nuggets are the No. 1 seed in the West for a reason. Jokic is the likely MVP for a reason. Mike Malone is going to get strong consideration for NBA Coach of the Year for a reason.

Next. NBA Mock Draft: The best team fits for the top 10 prospects of the 2023 class. dark

The Nuggets are real contenders. And they’re not losing in the first round of the playoffs, no matter who they match up with. Let’s get rid of that silly narrative.