Here at Blue Man Hoop, we’re gearing up for the 2012-13 season by looking around the NBA to see how each team matches up with the Golden State Warriors. We’ll give you an overview of each opponent, a matchup or stat to watch and a measure of just how big a threat each opposing squad represents for the Dubs. Be sure to check out the other previews we’ve done so far on Blue Man Hoop: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks.
Denver Nuggets Overview
Last season, the Nuggets rode a fast-paced style all the way to a Game 7 loss against the L.A. Lakers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The sixth-seeded Nuggets gave the Lakers all they could handle, playing them to a near statistical deadlock in a series either team could have won.
During the regular season, Denver’s offense was the league’s third-most efficient, but their fast pace resulted in a No. 1 ranking in points and assists per game. Point guard Ty Lawson continued his three-year improvement trend, finishing with a PER of 19.43. JaVale McGee, Danilo Galinari and Kenneth Faried round out the returning starters. And Andre Iguodala arrived via offseason trade, giving the Nuggets one of the league’s most underrated stars on the wing.
On the whole, Denver was a very good team last season and they clearly improved over the summer. Wilson Chandler and Andrew Miller are able backups, and Anthony Randolph could finally figure things out in his fourth NBA city. Expect the Nuggets to continue to play at one of the NBA’s fastest paces, but also take note of their improved ability to shut teams down on defense—especially if McGee and Faried take the next steps in their development.
Faried, nicknamed “The Manimal,” is a beast. As a rookie last season, he put up averages of 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds in just 22.5 minutes. He’s raw, exceptionally strong, tenacious on the offensive glass and plays extremely hard. All that adds up to the type of player that has long haunted the Warriors’ perennially soft front court. Last season, Faried averaged 12 points and 10.3 boards against the Warriors, despite playing only 22.3 minutes per game. Denver won two of those three contests.
David Lee, Carl Landry and any other able body charged with keeping Faried off the glass will be in for a rough four games in 2012-13.
Threat Level: 8
Denver earns a high threat level for two reasons: they’re really good and they’re among the Warriors’ prime competition for a playoff spot. Golden State will have to deal with the Nuggets in the regular season, and might even run into them again in the playoffs.