I love to cook. My kitchen, refrigerator, and pants size all heartily attest to that fact. I’m on a first-name basis with most of the employees at the closest grocery store. It’s a fun and guilty pleasure. I’m not alone in this habit at my house, as my wife has an insane stack of recipes she calls her “tried-and-true”. That stack has blessedly gone digital, because they used to occupy six overstuffed inch-thick binders. She is meticulous at every step. Somehow every potato cube is the same size and shape, even though I swear the potato wasn’t cubical when she started cutting it. On the other end of the spectrum, I make her crazy because I cannot stick with a recipe to save myself. Somewhere in the midst of cooking, I start tweaking things before I’ve even tasted something for the first time. Crazier yet, my favorite way to cook is with no recipe at all. Just walk in and figure out what we’ve got. The sheer notion of that causes her to sweat.

More often than not, my nudgings work out to the positive, and we end up with something new and fun, and sometimes even better than the original. On rare occasion, we end up with something like the never-to-be-discussed “pink casserole incident”. I swear it should have worked. I only changed one thing.

Your Denver Nuggets have been making some adjustments of their own this offseason, tweaking a recipe that had the team doing some serious home cooking by the end of their last campaign. Anyone even casually following the team is well familiar with the additions and subtractions to this season’s roster, and what looks to be a lot of spice and heat added to the mix.

Nuggets fans probably already feel like they’ve gotten a solid taste of some of those changes, after having seen Will Barton play with Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray to great effect last season. With the scant data available, there’s very good reason to be heartened by the smell of what’s cooking amongst the starting five.

But even that minor shift could upset the balance of flavors that Tim Connelly and Michael Malone have been percolating. As unlikely as it sounds, it’s possible that Barton’s addition adds too much of something, or takes away too much of something that really spoils the mix.

With most recipes, you want to add your strongest flavors judiciously. It’s very easy to go from “what’s that unique flavor?” to “why does everything I’ll ever put in my mouth again taste like cardamom?” That sense of balance is hopefully how Denver plans to add dashes of Isaiah Thomas, and eventually rookies Michael Porter, Jr. and Jarred Vanderbilt, to be sure they don’t tip the balance of the recipe. The Nuggets hope is that Thomas should replace the heat that Will Barton carries over to the starting five.

Possibly amping up their presence in the mix from this season to last, you should get a lot stronger hints of Juancho Hernangomez, Torrey Craig, and Monte Morris in the overall blend, as they step into the spots that many former veteran voices were filling.

It’s an interesting offseason for Nuggets fans, as the faithful find themselves giddy over the overwhelming aroma of positive prognostications, with nearly every pundit and publication projecting at least a playoff spot, with a few even supposing Denver to be as high as fourth or fifth in the pecking order. That has many fans excited and nervous alike, as the last few seasons have held a lot of promise only to see them fade into failure at later and later moments in the plan.

We’ve got all of the ingredients gathered, Nuggets Nation. We’re a month away from throwing them all into a bowl, and seeing what this next season will taste like. I’ll admit to some nerves underlying that excitement. When everyone tells you that your favorite restaurant is about to serve you the best meal you’ve had in years, do you get excited, or are you circumspect? Do you believe the Nuggets have finally cracked the code to start competing for the top spot, or is this all about to be an unfortunate explosion of flavor? Don’t ask me, I still put peanut butter on my hamburgers.

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