ESPN just published their summer forecast, ranking all 30 NBA teams and predicting how many games each team will win next season. Suffice it to say that they are not too high on the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets ranked 12th in the western conference with 34 wins, just one more win than last season. From the article:
"The Nuggets' youth movement continued this offseason as the franchise had three first-round picks. Jamal Murray (19 years old), Malik Beasley (19) and Juan Hernangomez (20) will join the likes of Emmanuel Mudiay (20), Nikola Jokic (21) and Jusuf Nurkic (21) next season. Our panel doesn't project the Nuggets' showing much immediate improvement, but it depends on how quickly the young pieces come together."
The Nuggets did in fact get younger with the addition of two (and maybe three) rookies to the roster but they are also bringing back Wilson Chandler, a veteran player that brings a lot to the table that the Nuggets were missing last season, namely defensive versatility and 3-point shooting. Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic should also see improvements to their game as they now have a year of experience under their belt.
But the western conference has also gotten more balanced and competitive, at least in the middle of the pack. The Timberwolves should have a huge improvement this season as they bring in Tom Thibodeau. The Jazz have made a bunch of smart moves this offseason, and the Pelicans might actually be healthy for once. Still, 34 wins would be a disappointment, especially after surpassing expectations and winning 33 games last season.