2019 Denver Nuggets Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Jamal Murray||27||Monte Morris||11|
|Shooting Guard||Gary Harris||14||Malik Beasley||25|
|Small Forward||Will Barton||5||Torrey Craig||3||Michael Porter Jr.||1|
|Power Forward||Paul Millsap||4||Jerami Grant||9||Jarred Vanderbilt||8|
|Center||Nikola Jokic||15||Mason Plumlee||24||Bol Bol||2|
One of the most exciting young teams in the NBA heading into the 2018-19 season is the Denver Nuggets and they were a busy team in the offseason. After finishing 46-36 last season, and missing the playoffs by an overtime period, the Nuggets went out and added Michael Porter Jr. through the draft and Isaiah Thomas through free agency to add to an already potent offense featuring Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray. The Nuggets had the league’s sixth-best offense last season, with a 112.5 offensive rating, but were unable to hold opponents in check and allowed 111 points per 100 possessions of defense. Some of that happened because Paul Millsap, a defensive anchor in the paint, missed 44 games, but losing Gary Harris for 15 games didn’t help either. With another year under the belt of Murray, Jokic, Harris and a healthy Millsap, head coach Mike Malone has his team’s sights set on avenging their heartbreaking defeat in the last game of the season that led to Denver missing the playoffs.
Jamal Murray struggled a little bit in his sophomore season for the Denver Nuggets but he did start 80 games for them and averaged 16.7 points on 45.1 percent shooting. He shot 37.8 percent from beyond-the-arc, as well, a skill that he needs to continue improving this season but the Nuggets are deep at point guard with Murray and Thomas at the helm. Thomas battled through last season for the Cavaliers and Lakers but was never quite healthy and failed to make much of an impact for either team. He is still a very talented point guard and having a starting caliber point guard that can be used off the bench is extremely valuable for Malone and the Nuggets. It is uncertain how many minutes Thomas will get this season but Denver has the ability to go small and run three-guard lineups, so Thomas should be able to prove himself this season. At the shooting guard position, Gary Harris will once again lead a very deep group of guards at the position and look to improve on a fantastic 2017-18 season. Harris averaged 17.5 points on 48.5 percent shooting last season but his biggest impact was on the defensive end where he showed the ability to lock down opposing guards and is excellent off the ball. The Nuggets will likely deploy Will Barton, last season’s “backup” shooting guard at small forward this season which could hurt the depth behind Harris just a bit, but Malik Beasley will soak up about 10-12 minutes per game behind Harris and the Nuggets can go small with Murray alongside Thomas in the backcourt if the Nuggets have issues with depth behind Harris.
Losing Wilson Chandler in the offseason will force Mike Malone to start Will Barton at the small forward position this season but having Barton, Torrey Craig, Juancho Hernangomez, and Michael Porter Jr. behind Barton give the Nuggets plenty of flexibility. Barton averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists for the Nuggets last season but will have to adjust a bit to being in the starting lineup. Torrey Craig is a solid defender that could see minute if Denver’s defense starts to struggle, meanwhile, Porter Jr. will command minutes once he is 100% healthy. A healthy Paul Millsap will anchor the defense for the Nuggets and provides a veteran presence on the floor that is an excellent passer from the post and can stretch the floor against immobile power forwards. Millsap only averaged 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds last season but struggled to stay healthy and wasn’t able to spend a lot of time alongside Jokic. The Nuggets are extremely deep at the power forward position with Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon behind Millsap with Lyles looking to improve on a very strong season for the Nuggets last season.
The center position is one of strength for the Nuggets with Nikola Jokic leading the charge. Jokic has yet to make an All-Star team but that will likely change this season if he continues to improve on his 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game he averaged last season. He is already one of the top passers in the league, from the center position, and his ability to get in the paint and finish at the rim is unrivaled by most in the league. The Nuggets will have Mason Plumlee behind Jokic once again and is an incredibly valuable big off the bench.