For better or worse this is the Nuggets we have moving forward.
With Gary Harris’ extension kicking in and Jokic’s impending max deal the Nuggets don’t have any room to make much noise in the offseason. They will have a lottery pick and they have some player assets that may allow them to pursue trade options.
Their most glaring need is a wing that fits the 3-and-D mold currently all the rage. Chandler opting into his deal will impact the decision at small forward. Torrey Craig behind Wilson for another season is a distinct possibility.
Michael Malone has salved the calls for his head. The team performed well down the stretch. The net gain over his tenure is enough to secure another run. I believe Malone has earned more than just a reprieve. I believe that he’s learning right alongside his young stars and that adaptability is going to make the Nuggets a dangerous proposition for many years to come.
Standing pat has gotten them a 16 game improvement over the last three seasons. In the unlikely event the West is as wild as it was this year, 51 wins is going to have the Nuggets solidly at the top of the Division and conference.
That’s if they stay along the same trajectory. With a full year of Millsap, a more usable bench and Malone more in-tune with his big-3?
That feeling is the difference this team represents. The feeling that something spectacular might be on the horizon. With these (mostly)same guys.