Beyond the Toronto Raptors: Previewing a strong Northwest division

Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Serge Ibaka (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Denver Nuggets

Key additions: Jerami Grant, Michael Porter Jr.

Key departures: Trey Lyles

The thing that makes the Nuggets so intriguing is that they haven’t lost any top-end talent this offseason, they’ve only added to their already talented roster. Jerami Grant comes in from the Thunder with a reputation as a budding star defender and a decent three-point shooter. Whether he starts ahead of Paul Millsap is interesting to see.

Michael Porter Jr. starting the season healthy feels like a major addition too, and Trey Lyles remains the team’s only significant loss.

Offensive outlook

The offense that averaged the second-most assists per game last season will be back at it’s best once again. Led by the duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, the Nuggets bring a fun, fluid style of basketball to the court. One of the best rebounding teams in the league, the Nuggets excel in just about every advanced statistic in basketball – and the eye test backs them up too.

Defensive outlook

Jokic still needs to show improvements as an inside presence, but as long as he has Paul Millsap doing the ugly work beside him then there’s hope. Overall, the Nuggets are a strong defensive team – adding in Jerami Grant to the mix only makes them better.

Overall projections: 50-32

In all honesty, 50 wins feel about right for the Nuggets. They are going to be a strong regular season team once more, but the goal is to progress further in the playoffs. Last year’s defeat to the Blazers is a wake-up call that there are still ways to go before this team can be a real contender in the postseason, but it’s coming. It’s definitely coming.