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Denver Stiffs 2020-21 Denver Nuggets staff predictions

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Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s opening day for the Denver Nuggets!

Yesterday, Denver Stiffs released full staff NBA predictions for the 2020-21 season, complete with division winners, award races, and playoff predictions. It was a great article that should definitely be read in tandem with this one, so check it out at some point.

Now, to focus in on the Denver Nuggets. Just three months after advancing to the Western Conference Finals in the Orlando Bubble, the Nuggets are taking the floor once again. This time, they will be at Ball Arena, formerly the Pepsi Center, to face the Sacramento Kings in the season opener. The first game of the season tends to hold new beginnings and hope for every franchise. The Nuggets begin the season with ample hope, a superstar duo, and a strong supporting cast to bolster their success.

What does the Denver Stiffs staff believe is in store for your Denver Nuggets this season? Read on to find out.

Contributors for this piece included, in alphabetical order:

  • Brandon Ewing - Senior Writer
  • Daniel Lewis - Contributing Writer
  • Evan Fiala - Contributing Writer
  • Gage Bridgford - Contributing Writer
  • Gordon Gross - Senior Writer
  • Jena Garcia - Social Media Director
  • Jeremy Poley - Social Media Manager
  • Kayla Osby - Contributing Writer
  • Nick Hertzog - Contributing Writer,
  • Reid Howard - Contributing Moderator
  • Reilly Biller - Social Media Intern
  • Ryan Blackburn - Site Manager
  • Zach Mikash - Deputy Site Manager

Season Win Total - 50 wins, 3 votes

Analysis: As you can see, there is no real consensus on how many games the Nuggets will win this season. One thing everyone does agree on is that Denver is going to win a ton of games and that it will be enough for the Nuggets to reach the playoffs. If Denver plays at all in the regular like they did in the preseason, they might win 72 games.

— Brandon Ewing

Others receiving votes: 54, 52, 51, 49, 48 (2), 45, 44, 43

2020-2021 Denver Nuggets Content Day Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Points per game leader - Jamal Murray, 10 votes

Analysis: Nikola Jokic has led the Nuggets in scoring over the past few seasons, but may we see a changing in the guard this year? Jamal Murray was absolutely unreal in the bubble and during the playoffs last season and if he’s able to put together 72 more games like that, the Blue Arrow has a great chance to lead the Nuggets in scoring. The Nuggets making a more concerted effort to shoot three-pointers this season could also help Murray as he’s one of Denver’s most lethal scorers from beyond the arc.

— Brandon Ewing

Others receiving votes: Nikola Jokic (3)

Rebounds per game leader - Nikola Jokic, 12 votes

Analysis: The clear cut answer is Jokic, who is just a rebounding machine for the Nuggets year in and year out. There is really no competition for Jokic as he should easily average double-digit rebounds, which he fell shy of last season averaging 9.7 boards per game. Jokic did average 10.8 and 10.7 rebounds per game the two seasons prior and I expect Jokic to get back around that same mark this season.

— Brandon Ewing

Other receiving votes: Michael Porter Jr.

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Three Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Assists per game leader - Nikola Jokic, 13 votes

Analysis: Another stat that Jokic will — more than likely — run away with this season is assists per game. Murray is Jokic’s only real competition here, but the Nuggets offense still runs through their big man, which allows him to get such high assist numbers. There is also a big chance that Murray grows as a scorer this year, which will only boost Jokic’s assist numbers. Add in what Michael Porter Jr. could do and Jokic could easily average a career high in assists this season.

— Brandon Ewing

Others receiving votes: none

How many All-Stars do the Nuggets have this year - Two: Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, 10 votes

Analysis: This finally seems like the year that Denver will get two all-stars. Jokic is a near lock to make it, but Murray is going to have some work to do if he wants to make it in a Western Conference that is loaded with talent. If Murray can build on what he showed in the bubble last season, it’s going to be tough to keep him off the team.

— Brandon Ewing

Others receiving votes: Just one - Nikola Jokic (3)

Denver Nuggets v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Player most likely to be traded - Will Barton III, 9 votes

Analysis: Let’s be honest, the log-jam at guard was only exacerbated by Denver’s free agency and draft choices, and once Monte Morris was extended it left Denver with two tradable guards: Gary Harris and Will Barton. Barton is the only one who can choose to be a free agent next year, and with so many teams projected to have cap space and with most of the superstars off the market, it’s exactly the year that agents of mid-tier players have been waiting for. With Michael Porter Jr. needing minutes and all of Denver’s point guards sliding to the shooting guard position as well over the course of the season, Barton figures to be the one on the way out - if Denver trades anyone.

— Gordon Gross

Others receiving votes: Gary Harris (3), Bol Bol

Projected starting lineup at the end of the season — Murray, Harris, Porter, Millsap, Jokic, 4 votes

Analysis: The Nuggets were forced to pivot to a different plan when Jerami Grant signed with the Detroit Pistons. Perhaps the decision is best for Denver in the long term, but in the short term, the Nuggets have questions all across their lineup. With two elite bookends in Murray and Jokic, a possible third down the line in Porter, and capable veteran wings and bigs, the Nuggets could go a number of ways. The Denver Stiffs staff had the most votes go toward Denver’s initial preseason starting five.

— Ryan Blackburn

Other lineups receiving votes

  • Murray, Harris, Barton, Millsap, Jokic (2)
  • Murray, Barton, Porter, Millsap, Jokic (2)
  • Murray, Harris, Porter, Green, Jokic (2)
  • Murray, Harris, Barton, Porter, Jokic
  • Murray, Barton, Porter, Green, Jokic
  • Murray, Harris, Barton, Green, Jokic
Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Rookie that gets the most minutes - Facundo Campazzo, 13 votes

Analysis: Campazzo is going to play, which makes him the clear cut favorite to be the rookie that sees the most playing time. Bol is still technically a rookie and could push Campazzo if he can find a spot in the rotation, while it’s tough envisioning RJ Hampton or Zeke Nnaji playing unless it’s garbage time. Campazzo was a spark plug in the preseason and could provide a much needed boost for Nuggets this season.

— Brandon Ewing

Others receiving votes: none

Breakout player - Michael Porter Jr., 8 votes

Analysis: This should be a no-brainer. If it’s not MPJ it’s because he’s not getting minutes for whatever reason, and that doesn’t really bear thinking about. Porter is a lock to put up huge per-36 numbers, it’s just a matter of how much he plays. If his defensive awareness is higher over the course of the season and his health lets him stay on the court, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be the third- or fourth-best player on this team. That would be quite the breakout from someone who only started 8 games last year, and most of those because of missing players.

— Gordon Gross

Others receiving votes: PJ Dozier (3), Facundo Campazzo, Jamal Murray

Letdown player - Bol Bol, 4 votes

Analysis: Look, Bol Bol is great and is going to have a successful career, hopefully in Denver. If he pans out he adds such a unique skillset to the Nuggets that when paired with Jokic, Murray and hopefully MPJ, Denver would be sitting pretty for years to come. But that might not happen this year - he’s just too raw and it might be too much to rely on him when trying to contend for a title. I would love nothing more than for him to play, but barring injury I just don’t think he will get the playing time.

— Evan Fiala

Others receiving votes: Gary Harris (3), JaMychal Green (2), Facundo Campazzo, Monte Morris, Paul Millsap, Michael Porter Jr.

How far does Denver make it in the playoffs — Conference Finals, 7 votes

Analysis: The Western Conference is as strong as ever. The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers remain strong threats, while the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, and others are all credible threats in a postseason setting. The Nuggets will be challenged, but our writers believe Denver to be stronger than ever, reaching the Conference Finals for the second year in a row and certifying their impressive performance in the bubble. They could lose before this point or even make it further in the right circumstance. Whatever the case, the group that the Nuggets have put together is special, and they will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the season.

— Ryan Blackburn

Others receiving votes: Win the championship (3), Conference Semi-Finals (2), NBA Finals

Poll

Where will the 2020-21 Denver Nuggets finish the season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Out of the playoffs
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    First round
    (4 votes)
  • 17%
    Conference Semis
    (53 votes)
  • 30%
    Conference Finals
    (90 votes)
  • 15%
    Finals Runner-Up
    (46 votes)
  • 34%
    NBA Champions
    (104 votes)
298 votes total Vote Now