The landscape in the NBA’s Western Conference has changed mightily in the past few days. And the big news that has sent shockwaves through the league has a direct impact on the Nuggets.
First, the team that has dominated Denver’s side of the playoff bracket the past five years is in a bit of turmoil. Everyone already knew that the Warriors were going to be a franchise in transition this offseason, with Klay Thompson heading to free agency and Kevin Durant able to opt out of his deal to hit the open market, as well. But with both of those players also sustaining major injuries during the NBA Finals, which will sideline them for most of the 2019-20 season, Golden State won’t be the same even if they do manage to keep the band together.
Then, a non-playoff team this past year jumped right back into the championship mix with a blockbuster trade this weekend. The Lakers acquired All-Star center Anthony Davis from the Pelicans, sending a host of young players and future draft picks to New Orleans to bring arguably the league’s best big man to Los Angeles. In the process, they’ve built a team that the oddsmakers think can compete for a championship next season, even if it is just LeBron James, Davis and a cast of no-names.
As a result, the West will be wide open next season. But will that open up the door for the Nuggets to be a serious contender?
According to the wise guys in Las Vegas, Denver is among the top-10 teams in the league. But in a jam-packed Western Conference, they only have the fifth-best odds to advance to the Finals.
The Lakers currently have the best odds to be crowned 2020 NBA champs 👀 pic.twitter.com/wK5q7aKuTd
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 14, 2019
That said, one person at ESPN believes in the Nuggets. On today’s “Get Up” with Mike Greenberg and Jalen Rose, Adrian Wojnarowski told everyone to keep an eye on Denver.
i literally just shed a tear bro like we’ve been saying how good MPJ has looked for the past few months pic.twitter.com/HvssLLVRhr
— a Nuggets fan named Trey (@TheTreyinator) June 17, 2019
The Warriors are beat up. The Rockets may be unraveling. The Lakers will take some time to mesh.
The opportunity is there for the Nuggets to pounce in the Western Conference.