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NBA Team Previews: #16 Denver Nuggets

16) Denver Nuggets 57-25 in the 2012-2013 season. 3rd in the West. 2nd in the Northwest.

The George Karl era is over, and now the Brian Shaw era begins in Denver. The Nuggets had quite the high expectations last year as the three seed out west, however the Cinderella's of the postseason in the Golden State Warriors ended the run for Denver. Now that the Nuggets let go of Iguodala and are revamping the image of the team, plenty aren't really sure what to make of this new look team. When the season begins, we'll be sure to know more.

Acquired: J.J. Hickson, Darrell Arthur, Randy Foye, Nate Robinson

Drafted: No draft picks are on the roster!

Lost: Andre Iguodala, Kosta Koufas, Corey Brewer

Depth Chart: Ty Lawson (PG), Randy Foye (SG), Wilson Chandler (SF), Kenneth Faried (PF), JaVale McGee (C)

Bench: Danilo Gallinari (injury - eventual starting SF), Nate Robinson (PG), Timofey Mosgov (C), Darrell Arthur (PF), J.J. Hickson (C)

Team Stock:

Up: JaVale McGee - Things have turned around for JaVale ever since he was traded to the Nuggets. He went from a goofy Center more known for his mental mishaps to a defensive threat every time he's on the court. Last year he was the backup, but this year looks to be his year not only to start in Denver, but to be one of the top players on the team. Look out for McGee.

Down: Andre Miller - The previous crunch-time option for Denver is getting lost on the depth chart. He was one of the big late options last year for the Nuggets, yet the addition of electric Point Guard Nate Robinson can't look good for his playing time in Denver. It could be a year where Andre Miller has to think about the future if the Nuggets don't give him the minutes.

X-Factor: Danilo Gallinari - The Nuggets clearly missed Danilo in the playoffs last year. He is known as one of the pure shooters on the team, and without him Denver struggled to keep up with the run-and-gun offense of the Warriors. One of the keys will be getting Gallinari back, and not only him being able to hit his shots and put up points but also having him healthy. Without him, this could be a very rough year for the Nuggets.

Question to Ponder...What are the expectations for Brian Shaw?

The Nuggets ended the George Karl era in Denver, yet were able to snag one of the top coaching prospects in Brian Shaw. The assistant for the Pacers last year found himself once again a hot commodity on the coaching market, and snagged himself a gig. The question now is what should Denver expect out of Brian Shaw? It's his first year as the main man and his roster isn't one filled with supreme talent, yet he could definitely get this team to the playoffs. If he doesn't, is it a disappointment? I don't think so, but he will have fairly high expectations early on because of his reputation as an assistant.

Bold Prediction for the Denver Nuggets: JaVale McGee will win Defensive Player of the Year!

This is the year JaVale makes a solid name for himself. He had limited time last year and still made himself a name on the defensive end. With the bigger role and larger minutes, I would expect McGee to lead the league in blocks and be the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year, yes even ahead of Dwight Howard. Athletically, he's a freak of nature, and that's tough to argue against when it comes to defense. He'll take it down. 

Projected Record: 41-41 10th in the West, 4th in the Northwest.

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