2018 record: 54-28
The young Nuggets are on the rise, and the future is bright with a team full of young guns and great depth. This team is fun to watch in real life, and a gold mine for fantasy purposes. Despite missing Garry Harris and Will Barton for a large chunk of the year, they still managed to finish 2nd in the Western Conference. They return this season largely the same, and will look to build on last year’s success. Barton and Harris are reportedly healthy, so that should give them an added boost. Their season ended last year by running into the buzzsaw that is Damian Lilliard, but they are a year older and wiser, so look for them to make another deep run in the playoffs.
Fresh off his newly minted $170 million contract, Jamal Murray is the point guard of the Nuggets for now and many years to come. Fantasy-wise, I’ve never been able to get him on draft day due to his high ADP. I like his game, and he definitely contributes, but he was very overdrafted last year. Looks like his pre-season rankings are a bit lower this year, so he may provide some value on draft day, if he manages to take a step forward this year.
The good news is that he’s durable, playing over 75 games in each of his three seasons in the league. The bad news is that his numbers look fairly similar to that of Lou Williams, who you can get much later. In all fairness, he has improved every year, so it’s reasonable to expect he takes yet another step forward this year. With all the mouths that need to be fed in Denver, though, one has to wonder if Murray’s reached his ceiling.
Monte Morris will get some run at point guard and should be usable in deeper leagues. Keep an eye on the injury report, as any injuries to the Nuggets’ wings will make him worth owning.
Gary Harris should be the undisputed starting SG in Denver this year. He had various injuries last year which derailed his season and allowed the likes of Morris and Beasley to step up. Harris is a player you can get later in the draft who has top 30 potential. He’ll provide elite steals and efficiency for a guard, while scoring points and knocking down treys. If healthy, and that’s always a big if, he should be one of the better value picks this year.
Keep an eye out for Morris and Malik Beasley this season, as both can step up if injuries befall the Nuggets again.
Denver has a problem at the small forward position, but it’s a good problem, as they have too many options. Do they start their dynamic forward Will Barton, who can play defense, facilitate, and score? Or do they give more time to Michael Porter Jr., who is only a few years removed from being a top prospect? Maybe they go with the defensive-minded Jerami Grant,who was just acquired? There’s also Torrey Craig, who stepped up at times last year, so surely they’ll have to find him some minutes too.
Regardless of who starts, my money says that both Barton and Grant will provide good value on draft day. Barton is capable of lighting it up at any given moment and seems to be healthy now. Grant provides sneaky value with his efficiency and has a good chance of joining the 1-1-1 club in Denver. Both can be had late in the draft and should be able to carve out enough playing time to exceed their cost on draft day.
Old man Paul Millsap should still be the starting PF for the Nuggets, but he probably won’t playmore than 30 minutes a game. He’s reaching that stage in his career where his value will be as a veteran mentor for a young Nuggets team. He will still be productive, but will no longer be that early-round stud. As a result, don’t overpay for his past production.
Jerami Grant should get a good chunk of playing time at the PF position, as he’s shown he can play defense while stretching the floor. Millsap just turned 34 and has not been very durable the last three seasons, so you can draft Grant with the assumption that he’s going to take over for him at some point during the season. Once that happens, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
My girlfriend is actually jealous of Nikola Jokic, since we both know that I love him more than her. She’s accepted that fact and we’ve agreed that we will no longer watch Nuggets games together in order to save our relationship. It all starts and ends with the Joker in Denver. Despite a recent quote from a mystery Nuggets exec saying that Murray is just as important as Jokic, let’s be real here and recognize that Jokic is the man in Denver both for real life and fantasy.
He keeps getting better every year, as he set career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals this past season. I’m sure you know his value is in the out-of-position assists, but the FG%, steals, and elite FTs for a big are also his calling card. If only he’d block more shots and cut down on those turnovers he’d be even better, but no one’s complaining. Jokic is entrenched in the top 10, and you can make a case for him going top 5.
If you are in a deeper league, you may also want to give Mason Plumlee a good look. He’s multi-cat goodness if you can stomach the atrocious FTs. He’s shown that he can step up and be productive when given minutes, so don’t be afraid to grab him late in your draft.