The NBA’s annual GM survey was released today and among the many interesting results, Denver was voted as the 2nd best home court advantage in the NBA. Denver received 16.7% of the votes. Golden State came in first with 58.3% of the vote, due largely to the deafeningly loud “roaracle” crowd at Oracle arena.
Denver’s high ranking is especially noteworthy because the Nuggets had the worst attendance in the NBA last season and will likely be last or near last again this season. Pepsi Center was as silent as a morgue last season with small, docile crowds of fairly unenthusiastic fans. The high ranking is presumably due solely to the fact that Denver is a mile above sea leave.
Denver also has a few other geographical advantages. For starters, they are at least a two-hour flight from 27 of the 29 other NBA cities. Additionally, Denver international Airport is located 45 minutes away from downtown Denver. So teams flying in on the 2nd night of a back-to-back have to play in the evening, hop on a 2+ hour flight to Denver, drive another 45 minutes to the hotel, and then play at an altitude that their bodies are not familiar with.
This season, the Nuggets should have a very deep bench. There are 10 players on the Nuggets roster who all are fairly comparable in talent. The Nuggets are also playing at the 7th fastest pace so far this preseason and will likely be one of the most up-and-down teams in the NBA all year. Their projected bench unit will feature Will Barton, Wilson Chandler, and Kenneth Faried, all three of whom are great open court players and thrive when the game speeds up.
So despite the disadvantage of having a half empty stadium, the Nuggets really should have a great home court advantage. It’s just too bad hardly anyone will be there to see it.