After their Western Conference Finals appearance against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2019-20 season, many thought that Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets would be one of the contending teams this season. While it looked that way during the regular season, a serious injury to Jamal Murray ended up derailing any hope of them making it deep in the playoffs this season.
Next season will be an interesting one for the Denver Nuggets, as they will miss Jamal Murray for at least part of the season, which could mean a worse regular-season record. However, they will be a dangerous team in the playoffs if Jamal Murray is able to return before the postseason.
NBA Analyst Brian Geltzeiler has recently stated that the Denver Nuggets are the biggest threat to the Los Angeles Lakers and them making the Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers notably added Russell Westbrook via trade this offseason, as well as some solid veterans, a lot of whom are former All-Stars. There's no doubt that the Lakers are stacked with talent.
The single biggest threat keeping the Lakers from going to the NBA Finals, in my opinion, with all due respect to the Phoenix Suns who did it last year, to me is Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
Because if Denver gets Murray back healthy at any point in time before the playoffs, they're the best team in the West, even with everything the Lakers did. With Murray, Denver is the best team in the West.
I think the Lakers look at that and say "You know what?We are going to need some bodies to roll at Nikola Jokic." Yes, we have Dwight Howard... We don't want that to be stuck on Anthony Davis. Yes we have Marc Gasol, but Marc Gasol is a little long in the tooth.
There is no question that the Denver Nuggets are a dangerous team with Jamal Murray back, and having the MVP in Nikola Jokic gives them a chance to win a series against anyone. We won't know how good the Denver Nuggets will look come playoff time, but it seems as though at least one person is high on their chances of defeating LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.