The Denver Nuggets hit 2019 about as high as it gets. Leading the crowded West at nearly the halfway point is quite the feat.
Over the last year, we’ve tried our best to fend off ridiculous trade scenarios, silly analytics trying to “prove” that Denver Nuggets players are bad (did we mention they are the top-seed in an ultra-competitive Western Conference?) or ineffective. We’ve fought the “fire Michael Malone” crowd and to borrow from our friends in Philadelphia, we’ve encouraged Denver fans to trust the process.
That process has brought us The Core, the trio of young Nuggets players that are tasked with carrying this franchise to previously unrealized heights. in the 50 years the Nuggets have been in Denver, their pinnacle is just two Western Conference Finals appearances. Both ending in defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s not great. Even the kids in town, the Avalanche and Rockies have two Stanley Cups and a World Series appearance, respectively. Of course the Broncos have enjoyed success.
While this season has given us heroes from all corners of the roster, guys like Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez and Mason Plumlee have all elevated their game to heights we’ve been pleasantly surprised to witness. There’s greatness even in our injured reserve with established talent like Isaiah Thomas working to return from a hip injury and an “oh, the possibilities…” rookie, Michael Porter Jr., hoping his smooth shot translates to the NBA.
There have been a couple of bummers, the injuries to key players chief amongst them. Trey Lyles has been inconsistent (at best) but the bulk of the focus for the Denver Nuggets remains on their three young stars. Let’s set some expectations for each member of “The Core”: