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Denver Nuggets preview: Will the defending champs repeat in 2023-24?

Here’s a look at the Nuggets ahead of the upcoming NBA season.

2023 NBA Finals - Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets holds the Larry O’Brien trophy after winning Game Five of the 2023 NBA Finals on June 12, 2023 at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season, DK Network is taking an in-depth look at all 30 teams. We’re going over all the big moves from the offseason, predicting the starting lineup, providing a fantasy basketball perspective, looking at relevant odds and assessing season expectations for each franchise. Here’s a look at the Denver Nuggets.

Denver Nuggets 2023-24 Outlook

Key additions: Julian Strawther, Hunter Tyson, Jalen Pickett

After seeing the success of Christian Braun last year, the Nuggets continued to add young wing players through the draft while sacrificing future picks. Strawther and Tyson could have immediate roles with the bench, while Pickett might be able to overtake Reggie Jackson by the end of the season as the backup point guard.

Key departures: Bruce Brown

Brown excelled as the sixth man last season, but the Nuggets simply couldn’t afford to give him the deal he got. The hope is Braun will continue to grow and one of the rookies will step up. Denver will especially miss Brown defensively, since he could often cover for Jamal Murray in some lineups.

Projected starting lineup

Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr. Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic should be the starting five.

Fantasy basketball player to watch: Michael Porter Jr.

When Porter Jr. is healthy, he plays like a true third star and has the upside of a second option. The problem is he’s had a variety of foot, back and leg issues in his career. Last season, he and Murray both stayed healthy and the Nuggets ended up winning the title. Will they have the same injury luck this year?

Porter Jr.’s three-point shot is what makes him a tantalizing fantasy option. He can quickly explode for big scoring nights, and his rebounding has improved steadily throughout his career. He may be playing behind two fantasy juggernauts, but Porter Jr. could be a nice pickup in the middle rounds of drafts.

Notable odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Win total: 53.5
To make playoffs: Yes -2500, No +1100
To win West: +260
To win NBA title: +550

Season expectations

The defending champions were initially listed as the favorites to win it all in 2023-24 but the Bucks and Celtics have made moves to put themselves in front of the Nuggets. Denver passed every test last year with a fully healthy squad, but avoided Milwaukee and Boston in the Finals. That’s unlikely to be the case this year.

The expectation, as long as Jokic is healthy and playing at this level, is to compete for a championship. The big man has unexpectedly become one of the best players in the league and the Nuggets hope to capitalize with multiple championships. This could be the next dynasty but there will be some major tests on the path to repeating.