The Denver Nuggets might not be dominating the regular season right now, but do not mistake this as a sign of weakness. The defending champions currently sit at fourth in the Western Conference, beneath some up-and-coming teams in the conference. Despite this standing, though, no one can truly count out the champs. We saw last season just how good they can become at seemingly the drop of a hat.

Like most teams, though, the Nuggets aren't exactly infallible. While they're mostly a well-rounded team, there's still some considerable weaknesses that need to be cleaned up. These may be “minor” flaws, but over the course of the season, this can all add up and become a deadly problem for Denver's title chances.

So, what is the Nuggets' fatal flaw that must be fixed after the NBA's All-Star break?

Nuggets' season

The Denver Nuggets' 2023-24 season played out similarly to a Nikola Jokic season. It isn't anything spectacular, but it's still pretty damn good. They sport at 38-19 record, winning two-thirds of all of their games played so far. They're tied with the surging Los Angeles Clippers for the third spot, and are just a couple of games back from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

At the helm of the Nuggets' operation is, of course, Jokic himself. Jokic isn't exactly playing at an MVP level, but he's still posting a cool 26 points per game on ridiculous efficiency from the field. Oh, and he's also averaging 12 assists per game and nine rebounds per game. No biggie!

Overall, the Nuggets have been pretty good on both sides of the ball. They're 12th in the league in offensive rating and 11th in defensive rating. For the most part, they've been pretty good at beating opponents they should beat while winning big games against the big dogs of the league. So, where exactly does the problem lie for Denver?

Nuggets' fatal flaw: Bench unit

There's really nothing major for the Nuggets' fanbase to worry about. If we're being honest, we're just going to be nitpicking at the few weaknesses that Denver has. That being said, it's still something that the team needs to address at some point during the season. After all, it could haunt the team in the future.

Sure, the Nuggets do have some consistency issues on both offense and defense. They can be a bit sluggish sometimes, allowing inferior teams to hang in their games for way too long. Jokic's motor doesn't run as efficiently as it usually does. However, this could all just be attributed to Denver simply biding their time. Much like the Warriors teams of old, they're playing for the playoffs now. We know that when push comes to shove, Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Michael Malone can turn up the gas when needed.

What's more pressing, though, is the Nuggets' lackluster bench. One of the core pieces of their title run last season was Bruce Brown and his electric performance off the bench. His ability to be a big man while playing the guard position was extremely valuable. You also had Christian Braun emerging as a sparkplug off the bench and Uncle Jeff Green manning the position.

This year, though, their bench lineup has been completely depleted. Brown departed the team in free agency, choosing to go to the Indiana Pacers. The sixth man role was handed to Braun, and he hasn't quite acclimated to the role yet. Zeke Nnaji hasn't taken the step they wanted, and Reggie Jackson is at least a solid hand. Still, the performance of the bench this season has been underwhelming at best and disappointing at worst.

Now granted, the playoffs usually don't feature a ten-man rotation. Stars and starters get significantly more burn while the end-of-the-bench guys get, well, benched. We certainly will see less of Nnaji and the other bench guys. However, the playoffs will also necessitate more playing time from the likes of Braun, Justin Holiday, and maybe Peyton Watson.

Can these guys handle more responsibilities when the playoffs come? We know that the Nuggets' starting five is one of the best in the NBA. They might not be the most talented, but they have a lot of chemistry together. The big question, though, is what happens if their bench goes in. If these guys struggle in the playoffs, you best believe that opposing teams will exploit them ruthlessly. Can Denver's young bench stars (and their veterans) hold the fort down? Or will they be swallowed whole by the pressures of a title contender looking to repeat?