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Oddsmaker explains Nuggets’ low title odds, survey results


Despite finishing second in the loaded Western Conference last season with a 54-28 record and keeping the majority of its competitive core, NBA title oddsmakers do not view the Denver Nuggets as a real threat to win the Larry O’Brien trophy next year.

The Nuggets, led by 24-year-old dynamic center Nikola Jokic and recently extended 22-year-old point guard Jamal Murray, made little to no changes in the offseason. Head coach Mike Malone’s squad traded for young, solid depth piece in forward Jerami Grant, sending a 2020 first-round pick to the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder, and waived former Utah Jazz lottery selection Trey Lyles. Nevertheless, key contributors like Gary Harris, (a healthy) Paul Millsap, Will Barton, and Malik Beasley will be back next season, while their 2018 lottery pick Michael Porter Jr. out of Missouri, recovering from a back injury, will likely see his first NBA minutes.

Nuggets team president Tim Connelly, however, is confident in his group and believes their title odds are slightly lower than other contenders due to the noticeable lack of splashy free-agent moves while Bovada oddsmaker Pat Morrow and ESPN’s Tim Bontemps weighed in (via Jeff Feld in Forbes).

“We believe that this is because all the teams in the Western Conference have been adding key players, whereas the Nuggets have not added any of the marquee free agents or traded for any big names.” [from Morrow]

“Denver had an amazing year last year, yet barely escaped from the first round and lost game seven on their home court in the second round. Meanwhile, other teams loaded up. The Clippers got Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The Lakers landed Anthony Davis. Houston swapped Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook. Utah added Mike Conley. Denver made one move – a nice one, too – in adding Jerami Grant. But it wasn’t the headline-grabbing move those others were.” [from Bontemps]

“They are almost the forgotten team in the Western Conference,” [said Morrow.]

Denver is +1600 to win the championship in 2020, per Bovada.