We are 43 days from Denver Nuggets basketball. While the wait feels interminable, it gives us time to reflect on where expectations should be for 2018-19.
The debate has raged all summer, are the Nuggets a rising young team on the verge of greatness or are they, well, the Nuggets. While it feels like we’ve been down this road before, there are some significant differences in this version of Denver’s NBA franchise.
The trio of young stars, dubbed “The Core”, the Nuggets employ are individually already among the all-time Nugget greats at their respective positions. Together, they form the most anticipated and exciting group in Nuggets history.
Carmelo Anthony was a joy in Denver. His time here was ‘Melo at his best. The Nuggets enjoyed unprecedented success with Anthony as their featured player. If you try to attach another two players to him, though, to form a trio of stars, it’s difficult. Kenyon Martin, Chauncey Billups, Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby come to mind. Maybe J.R. Smith or Nene. None of them ever formed a “core”. Carmelo was the one, the golden child, those around him were meant to be complimentary.
That worked in the NBA for a long time until the Golden State Warriors showed that a group of equal, complimentary stars that played for each other trumped one mega star and a hodge-podge of other pieces.
It’s by this standard that I believe this version of the Denver Nuggets is (or will be) its finest. There’s not one player that will make or break a game or the season. They pick each other up and they seem to have fun doing it. It would be a mistake to leave Will Barton out of that core group. For better or worse, Thrill has a huge role on this team. The Coretet?
So, let’s look at some things that, while bold, are entirely possible: