The Nuggets are underdogs in their season opener Wednesday.
That speaks to the Nuggets’ injury situation, as well as the unknown factor inherent with a franchise overhaul. These won’t be the same Nuggets you see in a week or so, when projected/injured starters Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler (if he’s ever healthy) and Randy Foye are at full strength and in the rotation.
I also don’t think these are the same Nuggets you see in a few months. I expect moving and shaking from a front office that won’t be shy on the trade market. GM Tim Connelly is blessed with a roster of short-term contracts and financial flexibility. Thanks to the Andre Iguodala trade, the Nuggets also have a $9-million trade exception in their back pocket. That’s huge.
If the Nuggets find an opportunity to score a big-name player, the new front office will make the big move.
As the NBA season tips off tonight, I expect a slow start from these Nuggets. I like what the Nuggets are doing as it relates to the long term. But in the short term, I think the going will be rough. I don’t expect another 57-win season. A 50-win season, while acclimating to a new system under Brian Shaw, would be very, very good work. I don’t think these Nuggets will get there, and I’m usually right about these things.
But I also don’t think the current Nuggets roster will be the same Nuggets roster we see in January/February/March.
Here’s my single prediction: this Nuggets season won’t be defined by a win total, but by a major move that reshapes the roster.