The Denver Nuggets are gearing up for a highly anticipated 2023-24 NBA season after winning their franchise’s first ever NBA Championship last year. Led by the dynamic duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, the Nuggets are poised to make another deep playoff run. The stakes are also high as ever, since this 2023-24 season will be considered a failure in Denver’s eyes if they don’t repeat their championship-level success.
In this season preview, we’ll take a closer look at the Nuggets team roster, key matchups, and the challenges they may face on their quest to repeat as NBA champs.
Significant Roster Changes
The Nuggets’ championship-winning roster remains largely intact heading into the new season. Two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic will continue to be the team’s focal point, showcasing his unparalleled skills as a playmaking and versatile center. Jokic’s ability to orchestrate the offense and create scoring opportunities for his teammates is truly exceptional, and gives Denver a distinct advantage whenever he’s on the court.
Alongside Jokic, star guard Jamal Murray will look to build on his impressive playoff performance. After spending a large chunk of the 2022-23 regular season returning to form from a torn ACL, Murray proved to be a clutch performer when his team needed him most in crucial playoff moments. If Murray can remain healthy and maintain his playoff excellence throughout the regular season, the Nuggets will be a force to be reckoned with.
Rising-star forward Michael Porter Jr. will be another key Nuggets player to watch. With his scoring ability and absurd athleticism, Porter has the potential to take his game to the next level and become an All-Star this season. Veteran starters Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will bring additional championship experience and provide valuable contributions on both ends of the court for the Nuggets.
Although the Nuggets lost rotational players Bruce Brown and Jeff Green to free agency, they added veteran point guard Reggie Jackson and swingman Justin Holiday to bolster depth. Jackson’s playmaking skills and Holiday’s defensive prowess will be valuable assets off the bench. Along with those two new additions, expect bench players like DeAndre Jordan, Ish Smith, and Christian Braun to make an impact.
On paper, the Nuggets roster looks just as good — if not better — as it did last season. But Denver’s own roster isn’t their biggest worry. Many other teams around the league have strengthened their own squads, and are keen to topple Denver from their spot atop the NBA. With that in mind, let’s discuss some of Denver’s key matchups for this upcoming season.
2023-24 Nuggets Key Matchups/Dates
Los Angeles Lakers
Nuggets game days against Lakers: Oct. 24 (Season/Home Opener), Feb. 8 (Away), March 2 (Away)
The Nuggets’ 2023-24 season starts against the team they swept in last year’s Western Conference Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers will come to town on October 24th; and after their embarrassment sweep to end last season, the Lakers will undoubtedly be seeking redemption. Lakers’ head coach Darvin Ham’s comments about Denver being “the Lakers’ daddy” only add fuel to the fire, setting the stage for intense showdowns between these two teams throughout the season. And if these two juggernauts perform up to expectations, a Western Conference Finals rematch seems likely.
Golden State Warriors
Nuggets game days against Warriors: Nov. 8 (Home), Dec. 25 (Home), Jan. 4 (Away), Feb. 25 (Away)
This season, the Nuggets will look to become the first team to repeat as champions since the Golden State Warriors did so in 2017 and 2018. Yet, the Warriors might be Denver’s biggest obstacle in doing so. Golden State will remain one of the NBA’s best teams so long as they have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green on their roster. While the two teams didn’t face off in last year’s playoffs, they feel fated to clash this year.
Also of note is that the Nuggets and Warriors will play during Christmas this year. In what’s the best day of the year to be a basketball fan, we’ll all be treated to this fascinating matchup between two high-octane teams. In fact, all four of the matchups between Denver and Golden State this season will be aired on primetime TV, so fans across the country will get to savor this rivalry all season long.
Nuggets game days against 76ers: Jan. 16 (Away), Jan. 27 (Home)
Another must-see Nuggets matchup will be when they face the Philadelphia 76ers. This game will feature a battle between the two best big men in basketball, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. Both players have won the last three NBA MVP awards, and their individual contests on the court are always captivating. And perhaps the Nuggets’ championship win may serve as extra motivation for Embiid, who is yet to lead his team to a Conference Final—let alone won an NBA championship.
Nuggets game days against Suns: Dec. 1 (Away), March 5 (Home), March 27 (Home)
In recent years, the Phoenix Suns have emerged as one of the Western Conference’s best teams. In fact, their rise came at around the same time as the Nuggets — which has turned this matchup into a rivalry that always produces exciting battles. The two teams went 2-2 against each other last season, with every game except one being decided by four points or less. Yet, they’re only scheduled to play three times this upcoming season, and only time will tell which team wins the 2023-24 season series.
Nuggets game days against Heat: Feb. 29 (Home), March 13 (Away)
The matchup between the Nuggets and Heat is intriguing because it will be a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. The Heat are surely seeking revenge against the team that stopped them from championship glory. It’s also worth noting that the first time these teams square off next season will arrive on the second half of a rare back-to-back for the Nuggets, who are playing the tough Sacramento Kings one night before the Heat come to town. It will be interesting to see whether the Nuggets can find the motivation to perform against their former Finals foe.
Nuggets Season Forecast
Now that we’re aware of the 2023-24 season’s most exciting matchups for the Nuggets, let’s get into the season forecast.
As Denver prepares to defend their NBA championship, they have a strong and cohesive roster led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Considering that Jokic is almost guaranteed to perform at an All-NBA level, the team’s success will heavily on Murray’s ability to maintain his playoff form, as well as the continued development of Michael Porter Jr.
Although the road to repeating as champions won’t be easy, and the Nuggets now have a massive target on their backs, they still have the talent and experience to repeat. And while there are a number of teams in the Western Conference that could usurp Denver from their top spot, the biggest obstacle for the Nuggets will most likely be injury related. Aside from Nikola Jokic, many of Denver’s best players have a history of injuries, and it’s often a struggle for them to remain on the court for an entire season plus playoffs. They were able to do so last season (for the most part), but it will be much tougher this time around after having played so many postseason games just a few months ago. But if the Nuggets’ stars are able to remain on the court, the sky truly is the limit.
Record Prediction: 56-26 regular season record, loss in the Western Conference Finals
When it comes to season projections, it’s interesting to note that there are varying opinions. While Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report predicts the Nuggets to win 52 games — one less than their previous season — one must consider their recent championship success and the potential improvements within the team.
Personally, I believe the Nuggets will have a more successful regular season, and am predicting they’ll finish with a 56-26 record and will be the #1 seed heading into the NBA playoffs.
However, I also expect the Nuggets’ history of injuries to catch up to them eventually. It’s hard to imagine that they’ll make it through the entire regular season and playoffs while remaining as healthy as they were last year. Combine the increased potential for injuries to the added pressure of repeating as champions, I feel that the Denver Nuggets will falter in next year’s Western Conference Finals.
In conclusion, the Denver Nuggets are well-positioned to make another deep playoff run and potentially defend their title. The team’s chemistry, talent, and hunger for success makes them a formidable force in the NBA.
Be sure to keep up to date with Denver’s upcoming games, and join the Nuggets fan base in supporting them throughout the season!
Yes, the Denver Nuggets won their franchise’s first ever NBA Championship during the 2022-23 season.
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are the primary stars of the Denver Nuggets.
The core of the Nuggets’ championship-winning roster remains mostly unchanged. However, they did lose Bruce Brown and Jeff Green to free agency, while adding Reggie Jackson and Justin Holiday.
The Nuggets have highlighted matchups against the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Miami Heat.
The Nuggets’ 2023-24 season opener is on October 24th against the Los Angeles Lakers.
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