With the 2018-19 NBA season quickly approaching, we're rolling out 30 Teams in 30 Days. Between now and opening night, we're dedicating one day to each team in the league, starting with the five teams in the Northwest Division.
After looking at the Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers, here's everything you need to know about the Denver Nuggets entering the season.
2017-18 season record
46-36 (ninth-best record in the Western Conference)
Projected 2018-19 season record
47.5 (No. 6 seed in the Western Conference)
Michael Porter Jr. (14th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft)
Isaiah Thomas (free agent)
Wilson Chandler (trade)
Kenneth Faried (trade)
Darrell Arthur (trade)
3 key storylines
Can Jamal Murray become an All-Star?
The 7th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Jamal Murray proved that he's a star in the making last season with averages of 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
Can he make another leap this season?
The one shot holding Murray back is a pull-up from 3-point range. If he can make that shot more consistently, he could develop into the secondary scorer the Nuggets need to compete with the best teams in the Western Conference.
Paul Millsap's two-way impact
The Nuggets made a big investment in Millsap last offseason. One of the biggest free agents of the summer, Denver signed the four-time All-Star to a three-year, $90 million contract, with the final year being a team option.
Millsap had another all-around season in 2017-18, but injuries limited him to only 38 games. The Nuggets were a better offensive and defensive team with him on the court, so a healthy Millsap could be what they need to establish themselves as a playoff team.
What will the Nuggets get out of Isaiah Thomas?
As we've already covered, Thomas is a low-risk, high-reward signing by the Nuggets.
MORE: How does IT fit in with the Nuggets?
On one hand, Thomas is only a season removed from averaging 28.9 points per game and finishing fifth in MVP voting. On the other, he's coming off of the worst season of his career, with averages of 15.2 points per game on 37.3 percent shooting from the field.
If Thomas can regain some of his All-Star form after undergoing surgery on his hip earlier this year, he'll make a tremendous difference to one of the least productive benches in the league. (His fit with Mason Plumlee and Trey Lyles in particular bodes well for his success in Denver). If he can't, it won't hurt the Nuggets too much, as they only signed him to a one-year contract.
5 games to watch
Oct. 25 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Remember what happened between Murray and Lonzo Ball last season? For whatever reason, Murray seems to take this matchup personally.
Nov. 21 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
An opportunity to see two of the best young bigs in the league in Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns. Adding to the game's excitement is every matchup between Minnesota and Denver could have playoff implications.
Jan. 15 vs. Golden State Warriors
The Nuggets had some success against the Warriors last season, beating them twice in their four matchups. You can always count on a high scoring game when these two teams meet, especially when it takes place in Denver.
April 10 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Here we go again, with the Timberwolves and Nuggets slated to play each other on the final night of the regular season. Will we get another classic? This was the game last season that decided who went to the playoffs.
Assuming it happens this season, this one is reserved for when Michael Porter Jr. makes his debut for the Nuggets. The rookie was projected to be in the running for the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft before his freshman season at Missouri and still has the potential to be one of the best prospects in this class if he can stay healthy.