By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)
2012-13 Record: 57-25
Projected 2013-14 Finish: 1st in the Northwest
In a slight shocker, the Denver Nuggets are going to finish in first place in the Northwest Division in front of the Oklahoma City Thunder. I am a big fan of this Denver Nuggets squad, and the hiring of Brian Shaw as the new head coach makes my decision so much easier. Shaw should have been a head coach about five years ago, but the wait may have been worth it. Shaw inherits a team that finished third in the west last season, and they return most of their key players. The Nuggets are led by point guard Ty Lawson and big-time energy man Kenneth Faried. Lawson is one of the quickest guards in the NBA, and he powers a fast-paced offense that is among the best in the NBA. The Nuggets need to have great depth because of the pace they play with, and they have a chance to go 10 or 11 deep. The Nuggets have shooters galore starting with Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari only shot .37% from three last season, but he made 135 of those shots. Gallinari isn’t the only shooter as Randy Foye, Nate Robinson, and Wilson Chandler all shot over .40% from three last season. If that’s not enough, the Nuggets look to have plenty of bigs to rotate. Faried and McGee look to be the starters, and there isn’t much fall off when going to the bench. I look for J.J. Hickson, Timofey Mozgov, Darrell Arthur, Anthony Randolph, and more to contribute in the front-court. The Nuggets might not have a team loaded with stars, but their style of play makes up for that. The Nuggets have incredible depth, and they can score the ball with anybody. I truly believe they can challenge for a top four spot in the west, and mark my words – they will finish ahead of the Thunder in the Northwest Division.