“I think we’re the best team in the West,” said Ty Lawson. Yes, he was being serious. He continues on to say, “We’re so deep, so talented, so versatile . . . You can’t just game-plan for one person on this team. I think we’ll be No. 1 in the West.“
Will the Nuggets ameliorate their record from last season this year? Most definitely. Will they be a Top-3 team in the West? Debatable, but possible. Will they come away with the best record in the Western Conference? Also possible, but it would take a couple of miracles for that to happen. Let’s go through a few scenarios:
Dwight Howard re-injures his back, age catches up with Kobe and Steve Nash, and Metta World Peace becomes the leading scorer for the Lakers. The odds of all of these things happening are minuscule. The only three things that can take the Lakers out of the top spot in the west are the Oklahoma City Thunder, chemistry issues, and health. Other than that, there’s absolutely no way that the Nuggets can take that top spot from LA. Is this crowning the Lakers before they even play a game together? Not necessarily. However, Ty Lawson and his Nuggets also have not played a game together this season, so the only way to compare teams is on paper, and the Lakers are the better team on paper. The Nuggets have a chance only if age and injuries cripple the Lakers.
Russell Westbrook averages 30 shot attempts per game, James Harden gets traded, and Ibaka tears his ACL. Once again, the odds are pretty small. Many are writing off the Thunder this season because of their (overblown) collapse in the Finals. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant actually worked well together last season because they had clearly defined roles. The real reason that they didn’t put up as much of a fight as they are capable of against the Heat was because of an under-performing bench. However, one can not expect James Harden to disappear like he did in the Finals for an entire season. Sure, he’ll have off-days, but he’s actually a really good player, and his return to form along with the re-insertion of Eric Maynor as the backup point guard will help the Thunder to stay more consistent. Therefore, barring unforeseen occurrences, the Thunder will have a better regular season record than the Nuggets, which leads me to this conclusion: the Nuggets Will Be A Top-3 Team in the West.
Yes, that is quite a bold prediction. Where among the Top-3 will they lie? Depends on their consistency throughout the season. The Nuggets definitely have the talent to beat out the Clippers, Grizzlies, and Mavericks for that spot, but they will need to be on their game almost every night. Despite the improbability of getting the top seed in the West, Nuggets fans should rejoice at Lawson’s statement. It exudes confidence and swagger, and he’s setting realistic goals for himself that he thinks will get his team to where they want to be. “Right now, I just want to win . . . Everybody does talk about point averages, assists. I want everything to go up, at least around 18 and eight, something around there.” If Denver works hard, and they utilize their incredible depth, the Nuggets will be a force next season, and definitely a team to watch.
Written by Andrew Doxy (@DrewBeatz11)
For more on Lawson’s comments, visit: http://www.denverpost.com/lunchspecial/ci_21672925/nuggets-guard-ty-lawson-i-think-were-best