Despite having back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokić, the Denver Nuggets were not a match for the eventual champions Golden State Warriors. Another early-round exit begs the question if the Nuggets have the supporting cast necessary to seriously contend for an NBA title.

With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr coming back after missing the entire 2021-22 season, Denver will have two more solid scorers to help Jokić. However, the team made some moves that could turn out to be mistakes and hurt their chances of a championship.

The team already had a good core and the addition of Murray and Porter Jr will certainly make a difference. They could have brought some other rotational players, but not at a cost of some of their starters.

With that being said, here is one move that the Denver Nuggets needed to make in the 2022 NBA offseason but failed to do so.

The 1 move the Denver Nuggets needed to make in the 2022 NBA offseason

Keeping Monté Morris and Will Barton

The Denver Nuggets did not wait too long to make perhaps one of the biggest moves of the team's offseason. The team acquired Ish Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from the Washington Wizards. Although those are two solid veterans that can contribute immediately, they came at a costly price.

Denver sent Monté Morris and Will Barton to the Wizards in the trade. They might not be the flashier names on the market, but they were important players for the team's re-birth with Jokić.

Morris spent his entire NBA career with the Nuggets. In five seasons, he averaged 10.5 points, 3.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds. Last season, his best personal year, he had 12.6 points, 4.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds, while shooting 48.4% from the field and almost 40% on 3-pointers.

Selected in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, Morris became a full-time starter in Murray's absence. After starting in only 31 games in his first four years, he was the team's first point guard in 74 games in 2021-22.

A veteran, Barton spent seven and a half seasons with the Nuggets. After becoming a contender for the Sixth Man of the Year Award in his first years with the team, he eventually became a starter. For his career in Denver, Barton averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Both Morris and Barton were important players for the Nuggets' recent rise back to the playoffs. With them being under reasonable contracts, making about $25 million combined, it makes the team's decision to trade them feel questionable.

Smith is a journeyman that has played for 12 different NBA teams in his 12 seasons. For his career, he averages 8.6 points and 3.9 assists, with shooting splits of 43-33-68. Caldwell-Pope won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. In nine years in the NBA, he averages 11.6 points and 1.7 assists, while shoots 36% from beyond the arc.

Combined, the two new Nuggets make about $18 million combined this upcoming season. They also added 21.8 points, while Morris and Barton added to 27.3 points last year.

If Denver had used the money difference in a better way, the move would have been less hurtful. The Nuggets brought a solid defender in Bruce Brown, but also spent on veteran DeAndre Jordan. With a $7 million difference, the team could have kept all of their starters and dependable scorers.

With uncertainty regarding Murray's returning conditions, the pressure on Jokić might increase. If the MVP is struggling in a game, he won't have his two offensive guards to pass to. Not having Morris and Barton might hurt in the postseason, and Denver could regret this move down the line.