The NBA trimmed weight as they cut down to 22 teams for the Orlando bubble. The NBA was not the only masterpiece to slim down as Nikola Jokic has lost some major weight. While the total amount is still unclear, the Nuggets’ center is looking slimmer and more athletic. The Nuggets currently hold the third seed in the West and have the chance to beat out the Los Angeles Clippers for the second seed if they were to out-win them.
Aug. 1 vs. Miami Heat: Win
First games back are always tough for a team. Offensively, teams will struggle, but this Nuggets team is among the best defensively. Jokic was always mediocre defensively but since he has slimmed down, one can hope that his physical ability has stayed with him.
Aug. 3 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Win
The Nuggets have a deep roster and are loaded with defensive studs across the board. They will be able to contain Chris Paul, who had rejuvenated his career in Oklahoma. The Nuggets will find themselves starting this continuation off with back to back wins.
Aug. 5 vs. San Antonio Spurs: Win
The win streak continues for this young Nuggets squad. The San Antonio Spurs are in a tough spot as their journey to the playoffs seems unattractive. The Nuggets will take this win and will be fighting for that second seed out in the West.
Aug. 6 vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Win
Jokic and co. will start off the season on fire. This win streak will remind the league that they are serious contenders in the West. The new-look Jokic will be dominating the league, and the Nuggets will find themselves in a very favorable position.
Aug. 8 vs. Utah Jazz: Win
One of the biggest successes in the NBA is having a team built on chemistry. The Nuggets are a prime example of a team that has never let controversies or drama surround them. The chemistry in Denver will translate to Orlando as they will beat a team struggling with chemistry in the Utah Jazz.
Aug. 10 vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Loss
The Nuggets’ five-game win streak will come to an end here. A tough team to beat, the Lakers will likely see the Nuggets again in the playoffs, and this game right here will be the preview to the series.
Aug. 12 vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Win
Even if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sit out this game, this win could mean different seedings out in the West. Although the Clippers would want to win this game for the seeding, it would be smart to sit out their stars. The Nuggets might even sit out Jokic and Jamal Murray. The team will still be high-spirited entering this game as they would not want to lose back to back games to Los Angeles.
Aug. 14 vs. Toronto Raptors: Loss
This game has no implication for the Nuggets. Even if the Nuggets had to win this game for the title of the second seed, they would still rest their star players. Injuries are brutal in the playoffs as a small injury to a player could quickly derail a team’s playoff success.
Finishing the season with a 6-2 run, the Nuggets could see themselves as the second-best team in the West. With skinny Jokic leading the way, the Nuggets might be serious contenders for this year’s title. It is time for them to take that next step, and bring the doubter from saying “one year away” to “this is the year.”