The Denver Nuggets were one of the league's most exciting teams last season, and not only for the occasional Javale McGee highlight dunk off the backboard.
Under former coach George Karl, the Nuggets were an offensive force, averaging 106 points. However, for all of their bravado on the fast break, the Nuggets were quickly eliminated in the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors in the first round, wasting a 57-win season.
That led to a series of changes in Denver this offseason, including watching Karl be unceremoniously let go, resulting in longtime assistant coach Brian Shaw moving to Denver to become the new head coach.
Swingman Andre Iguodala also left the Nuggets to join the Warriors. Although his versatile talents will be missed, the Nuggets were able to bring in scoring guard Nate Robinson, a highlight reel specialist.
Coming off of his scintillating performance in the playoffs for the Chicago Bulls, Robinson will make the Nuggets a must-see team on NBA League Pass. Between Robinson and McGee, they could take over the "Lob City" moniker from the Clippers.
Expect the Nuggets to employ a more defensive type of offense, especially with the additions of J.J. Hickson and Darrell Arthur. That will give Shaw plenty of ideas for creating matchup problems against the likes of Oklahoma City and Golden State.
The key will be how point guard Ty Lawson adjusts to all of the changes that have taken place. Will he get along with Shaw? How can forward Kenneth Faried continue to establish himself as one of the league's better talents? What is the over/under on McGee's backwards dunks thrown off of the rim?
The best-case scenario for Denver is that Lawson and Shaw adjust quickly to one another and the point guard takes his game to an All-Pro level, lifting the Nuggets back to their win total of last year. That would include shocking the NBA by winning the Northwest Division over an Oklahoma City Thunder team that will start the season without Russell Westbrook. The Nuggets would then take advantage of winning their division by going to the second round.
The worst-case scenario for Denver is that Shaw and Lawson aren't able to communicate well, the loss of Iguodala becomes a bigger blow than many realize and Robinson battles McGee for top billing on SportsCenter's Top 10 Worst Plays.
For my realistic prediction on the Nuggets, comment on Twitter @JohnReidIV
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