For the first time in several seasons (since the arrival of a young Carmelo Anthony), your Denver Nuggets found themselves in the lottery after missing the playoffs. While many teams would bend over backward for a playoff stretch of that length (Hello Sacramento Kings!), Nuggets fans found the step backward a tough pill to swallow.
But last season was a throwaway for several reasons. Injuries were a huge part of the puzzle. Losing Danilo Gallinari for the season (and JaVale McGee as well, his few games to launch the season were bereft of any strong presence with his injury) threw a wrench into the Nuggets plans to form a cohesive unit. By the end of the campaign, Ty Lawson had missed a quarter of the year, and Nate Robinson and J.J. Hickson were seated with season-ending injuries. The list goes on, but let's just say the phrase "walking wounded' got thrown around a lot.
Adding insult to injury, first-year coach Brian Shaw brought new ideas and plans to the team, as he was learning to captain a ship himself. Missteps were made (what first year coach has not?) and thankfully quickly addressed, but those waters can be treacherous for any coach, and Shaw thankfully righted the team's course by year end.
Coming off their team record-setting campaign the year prior of 57 wins, many pundits picked the Nuggets to settle back into a 7 or 8 seed last season prior to their eventual slide out of the playoff picture. But this year starts with a clean slate, both in health and the filling out of ideas and relationships between Shaw and the current core team. With a 21-game delta between the last two seasons win counts, opinions run rampant as to where the Nuggets will fit into the wild Westrn Conference playoff picture.
How about it Nuggets Nation? We talked about win totals last week, but what playoff seed do you see this team slotting into (if at all) this upcoming season?