Here it is, fans, the Denver Nuggets second game seven in as many postseason series. This one has less feeling of desperation. Win and the Nuggets are in the Western Conference finals. Lose and they are on vacation.
Sure, that seems pretty obvious but we have to consider what this game means beyond just the obvious. While it feels like the Nuggets are on a good track to win this game and statistically, the home team wins games seven at about an 80% clip, they are the Denver Nuggets and losing despite all odds being in their favor is in their DNA.
So, what if they lose?
First of all, consider it fortunate that NBA franchises are not steered by their Twitter following. If Nuggets Twitter had it’s way after each Nuggets loss, there would be firings, beheadings and Will Barton would be launched into the sun.
Again, we’re going to count ourselves fortunate that the Denver front office seems nice and nestled into their big-picture plan and fan debate has little bearing. From that perspective, Denver should be mostly a no-show for the free agent extravaganza that this summer is shaping up to be. Denver has two needs, a small-forward and power forward depth. The PF situation will depend on if Denver picks up the 3rd year of Paul Millsap‘s contract at $30 million for the season. SF rests on the ability of 2018 first-round draft choice Michael Porter Jr. If Porter is as-advertised, the Nuggets are not only set at the position, they immediately inch closer to the top of the conference.
Speaking of dependent scenarios, it’s unclear what happens to the Golden State Warriors after this season. Their dismantling of the rival Houston Rockets in game 6 of their Western Semifinal on the road with Kevin Durant sidelined by a calf strain is legendary. It might be the best win of the Warriors run and it proves that they are not ready to relinquish the title. Two of their biggest names are bound for free agency after the season, though so this could well be the swan song for the Warrior dynasty.
That opens a door for teams like the Denver Nuggets. What do they need to do to walk through that door? Let’s take a closer look: