The 2020 NBA season is set to restart in 24 days. So how do the Nuggets look? Here’s how some national publications rank Denver in their power rankings:
The Athletic (No. 10): “Yes, Jokic hurts opponents from everywhere on the floor, but a good chunk of his attack comes from being chunky. Having that big body leaning on you on post possession after post possession wears you out. Jokic posted up more than anybody in the league this season. Take away the post-ups that led to him passing and he still ranks second behind Embiid. He will have to adjust his game a bit, if he’s healthy enough to be himself,” The Athletic’s Zach Harper writes. See The Athletic’s full rankings here (Subscription).
ESPN (No. 8): “A slimmed-down Nikola Jokic gives the Nuggets a completely new look and brings up questions they didn’t have before. Are we sure Jokic, who tested positive for the coronavirus in late June, is going to be a better player? Part of his brilliance was in his physicality, using his frame to work angles, carve space and lull defenders to sleep. The change could mean Jokic has a more explosive first step, is conditioned better for long stretches of playing time and can combine his unique skill set with more athleticism. If that’s the case, Denver might have had one of the most striking improvements of any team during the break,” ESPN’s Royce Young writes. See ESPN’s full rankings here.
NBA.com (No. 7): “The Nuggets have work to do to hold onto the No. 3 seed in the West and should face both the Lakers and Clippers before the playoffs begin, opportunities to see how Nikola Jokic’s pick-and-roll defense holds up against two of the best players in the league,” John Schuhmann writes. See NBA.com’s full rankings here.
Sports Illustrated (No. 6): “Denver had a tough remaining schedule before the shutdown, and it will stay that way at Walt Disney World. The West is interesting with the nullification of home-court advantage, so seeding doesn’t really matter as much and matchups become more important. We’ll have to see if there is any possible tanking in the final few games to set up teams for the matchup they want, as the Nos. 2 through 7 seeds in the West are all within four wins of each other. The Nuggets will hope their newly skinny superstar, Nikola Jokic, recovers from COVID-19 to lead them to playoff success,” CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger writes. See CBS Sports’ full rankings here.
— Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post
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