For four consecutive seasons, the Nuggets have failed to reach the postseason.
However with a maturing young core, which includes Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, and the acquisition of all-star forward Paul Millsap, many analysts are predicting this will be Denver’s best year in half a decade. Las Vegas oddsmakers have the team at an over/under of 45.5 wins.
So can the Nuggets return to the playoffs for the first time since 2013? We took to the digital realm of NBA 2K18 to see how the season pans out:
Slow starts have plagued the Nuggets in recent years — Denver has started 7-13 in each of the last two seasons — and there’s no change with the 2017-18 squad. The Nuggets stumbled out of the starting blocks again. Record: 2-5.
Denver battled to win six of its first seven games to start November. By the end of the month, the Nuggets climbed back into the playoff picture, sitting at the No. 7 seed in the West. Record: 10-4. Overall: 12-9.
The Nuggets built upon their strong November, winning 60 percent of their games to push their record to six games over .500. Record: 9-6. Overall: 21-15.
New year, same results. Another 9-6 run puts Denver at nine games over .500. Record: 9-6. Overall: 30-21.
A 5-2 run to start the month gave the Nuggets a 35-23 record and a No. 6 spot in the West heading into the NBA All-Star Weekend. Despite the team’s success, no Denver player was selected to the all-star game. However, Denver stumbled out of the break, losing its next three games. Record: 5-5. Overall: 35-26.
Denver’s woes continued into March as the Nuggets lost nine out of 10. They would break even at 4-4 to close the month. Record: 5-10. Overall: 40-36.
The Nuggets recovered in the final weeks of the regular season and secured a No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. Record: 4-2. Overall: 44-38.
The Nuggets drew No. 2 Houston for the first round. Although the team fell behind 0-2 in the series, Denver made it interesting and pushed it to seven games before falling to the eventual NBA champions.
Recap: The addition of Millsap was immediately felt by the Nuggets, as the all-star forward led the team with 16 points per game, adding 7.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Jokic emerged as one of the league’s best, earning a third-team All-NBA nod. He averaged 15.6 points while leading the team in rebounds (10.2) and assists (4.7). Denver’s scoring attack was spread out with six different players averaging double figures, including Murray (12.7), Gary Harris (12.5), Wilson Chandler (12.1) and Will Barton (10.7). Kenneth Faried averaged 8.3 points and 8.2 rebounds off the bench.
Around the league: While the Warriors and Cavaliers won their respected conferences as expected, the simulation took some surprising turns once the postseason hit. Cleveland received a rude awakening by being bumped in the first round by the upstart Charlotte Hornets (what?). After being pushed to the limit in the first round against the Nuggets, the Rockets — led by Finals MVP Chris Paul — went 12-0 en route to a sweep of the Toronto Raptors for the title.
MVP: Russell Westbrook, Thunder (27.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, 8.9 assists)
ROY: Lonzo Ball, Lakers (12.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 8.1 apg)
6th: Jeremy Lin, Nets (15.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.4 apg)
DPOY: Rudy Gobert, Jazz (18.3 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 2.9 blocks)
Coach: Steve Kerr
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