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GBB NBA Over/Under Preview: Brooklyn Nets & Denver Nuggets

I willingly wrote about the Nets so I could write about the Denver Nuggets. That is how much I want to write about the Nuggets.

Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Site Manager’s Note - Welcome to the inaugural Grizzly Bear Blues NBA Preview Over/Under Challenge! Think you are smarter than twelve of our staff members? Take the challenge by posting your over/unders in the comments section every day with the corresponding teams. We will keep track over the course of the season, and the commenter(s) who beats our overall over/under projections at the end of the season will win a Fan Essentials box!

The GBB Staff taking part in this challenge are-

  • Joe Mullinax - Site Manager
  • Matt Hrdlicka - Senior Features Writer
  • Kevin Yeung - Senior Features Writer
  • Chase Lucas - Features Writer
  • Mac Trammel - Features Writer
  • Brandon Conner - Features Writer
  • Jonathan Concool - Game Coverage Writer
  • Colin Huguley - Game Coverage Writer
  • Austin Reynolds - Game Coverage Writer
  • Corban Ford - Game Coverage Writer
  • Jonah Jordan - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor
  • Adam Rubrum - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor

Today, Senior Writer Matt Hrdlicka breaks down the Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets

I willingly chose to write about the Nets so I could write about the Nuggets. That is how much I wanted to write about the Nuggets.

BROOKLYN NETS: VEGAS PROJECTION- 20.5 WINS

OVERALL GBB STAFF PROJECTION-

  • Four take the over (Mullinax, Hrdlicka, Ford, Conner) eight take the under (Yeung, Lucas, Trammel, Concool, Huguley, Reynolds, Jordan, Rubrum)
  • Average projected record: 19-63

Matt's Prediction- The Nets are going to be bad, and might be the worst team in the league. But the worst team in the league is a decent bet to win more than 20 games this year. I'm going over the 20.5 win total because the Nets have little incentive to tank (not owing your pick the next two years has that effect), and relatively few bad, young players to shovel minutes to down the stretch.

The Nets added Jeremy Lin in the offseason, and while I think Lin tops out at an average guard, average point guard play isn't something that Brooklyn has had in a very long time.

DENVER NUGGETS: VEGAS PROJECTION- 34.5 WINS

OVERALL GBB STAFF PROJECTION-

  • 9 take the over (Mullinax, Hrdlicka, Lucas, Trammel, Conner, Huguley, Ford, Reynolds, Jordan) 3 take the under (Yeung, Rubrum, Concool)
  • Average projected record: 35-47

Matt's Prediction- The Denver Nuggets are going over their number (34.5), and I want to go on record saying that they have an outside shot at making the playoffs. The Nuggets biggest hurdle to success is the same as the Nets was last year: good point guard play. Emmanuel Mudiay was every bit the train wreck a teenage point guard should be, and I still have every belief that he will be good one day. He will certainly be better this year, and that will go a long way to adding wins.

There is a massive amount of talent on this team, and they have a great coach. That combination generally wins in the NBA. Certainly more than 34 games. Nikola Jokic is the evolutionary Marc Gasol (one who has discovered a three point shot in his early twenties instead of his early thirties). Mudiay and Murray are both big guards who can handle, and they should ease each other's burdens, particularly if Murray can find a way to hit some outside shots this year.

In these three players, the Nuggets have the ceiling and complimentary talent to be a top five offense when these players all reach their peaks. The real question is if they reach that ceiling, and what they can do on the defensive end.

But there is another issue with the Nuggets is one of timeline. The Nuggets best players are mostly older - Gallinari, Chandler, Will Barton, former Grizzly Darrell Arthur - and the rest of the roster is absolutely stacked with young guys that need playing time. Gary Harris and Hernangomez are perfect complimentary guys who don't need the ball but versatile enough to take it on occasion.

The Nuggets will think long and hard about trading some of these vets for future pieces that match up with their Mudiay-Murray-Jokic core age-wise. And then there is the other very real concern that this team could very easily tank by sitting any of their vets to play Juan Hernangomez or Malik Beasley.

This is a problem if the Nuggets have 31 wins with ten games to play. Their best lineup is something like Mudiay-Murray-Chandler-Gallo-Jokic, or Mudiay-Harris-Chandler-Gallo-Arthur. The common thread everywhere but point guard is that there are older better players blocking the Nuggets future.

I would not trade Gallo or Chandler, nor do I think they "need" to. Not yet. There is value to winning games, and I've heard several people in the Denver area question whether the team could afford to be seen as "tanking" in a market that features other sports teams and the constant allure of outdoor activities competing with a basketball team that has not been an elite side recently.

The path I'd suggest is to trade Kenneth Faried, who is neither the future, or good enough to be the present, so the team can go small a little bit more with young guys. They don't even need much of an asset in return. They certainly don't need talent. Just clear a bit of room for minutes so your players can improve, and clear a bit of salary so you can pay them more in a few years.

There you have it. The Nets and Nuggets will both definitely definitely definitely go under this year now that I have written this. Bet accordingly.

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