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News » Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-10-19

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-10-19

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-10-19To put it simply, the Denver Nuggets are talking about a title.

"Going into camp (in the past), we might have talked about winning a championship," said Nuggets coach George Karl. "I believe this team can win a championship."

Such optimism has been fueled by what was perhaps the greatest season in Denver's 33-year NBA history. The Nuggets tied a team NBA record with 54 wins and advanced to the Western Conference finals for the third time in team history. The Nuggets have never been to the NBA Finals.

The Nuggets felt good enough about their run that they made few moves of significance during the offseason. Then again, the team is over the luxury-tax threshold and owner Stan Kroenke didn't want to spend much in this tough economy.

Denver has a solid nucleus in All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups and forward Carmelo Anthony, looking to return to the All-Star Game after making it in 2007 and 2008. The Nuggets have up-and-coming athletic players in center Nene and guard J.R. Smith.

Still, there is some concern at the wing positions, and that's not just because Smith will miss the first seven games of the regular season due to an NBA suspension. The Nuggets lost free agents Dahntay Jones and Linas Kleiza during the offseason, although they did acquire Arron Afflalo in a trade.

Afflalo might start at shooting guard if Karl elects to continue to bring Smith off the bench.

If the Nuggets stay healthy, they should again compete for the West title. But the Nuggets don't have as much depth as last season, so there could be problems if injuries surface.

Last season, the Nuggets were able to keep often-injured big men Nene and Kenyon Martin healthy. If they again can do that, perhaps all this talk of championship won't end up being hollow.

"We're good," Martin said. "I think other teams made moves after looking at where we were."

COACHING STAFF: Head Coach -- George Karl, 23rd year overall, sixth with Nugggets (933-642). Assistants -- Adrian Dantley, Tim Grgruich, John Welch.

LAST SEASON, REMEMBERED: 54-28 (1st in Northwest Division), defeated New Orleans 4-1 and Dallas 4-1 in the playoffs before losing 4-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

THIS SEASON, PREDICTED: 51-31 (2nd in Northwest Division). Will win one playoff series.

POSSIBLE CHANGES, PREDICTED: The Nuggets will realize their depth is lacking on the wing and acquire a veteran player. Coach George Karl, in the last year of his contract, could be rewarded with an extension.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 20, 2009


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