The Denver Nuggets will top the west according to one analytics site
The Denver Nuggets are back at full strength, and that’s leading many to predict that the Nikola Jokic-led team is poised for an incredible season.
One group predicting greatness for the Nuggets is sports analytics website FiveThirtyEight, which pens that Denver has a 96% of making the playoffs and a 13% chance of capturing their first title. If that doesn’t sound great to you, you’re wrong. Denver’s got the second-best chance of both making the playoffs and winning it all, trailing only the Celtics, who just were in the NBA Finals this past summer.
FiveThirtyEight’s revised prediction machine tabs the Nuggets for a 54-28 record that tops the western conference.
The website wrote:
Denver’s projection is, of course, powered by Nikola Jokić, who is projected to once again lead the league in total RAPTOR — by a lot. The distance between Jokić and Luka Dončić in second place is greater than the distance between Dončić and the projected seventh-place player, Jimmy Butler. The Nuggets’ projection also greatly benefits from the returns of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., as well as more minutes for Bones Hyland and the offseason addition of Bruce Brown (FROM? The U!).
But that’s not all; 538 points out that in five of the previous seven seasons, the eventual title winner came from the group of teams with five percent odds or better. And the teams besides Boston and Denver with that high of a shot are Memphis, Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, Golden State, Phoenix, Toronto and Milwaukee.
The Nuggets NBA record for wins in a season is 57, with them achieving 54 in 2018-19. Denver has never gone to the NBA Finals but most recently made the western conference finals the last time Jokic, Murray and Porter were all healthy.
The Nuggets open their season on Wednesday in Utah, with the home opener on Saturday against next Saturday against the Thunder.