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Biggest Needs for the Denver Nuggets Ahead of the 2021 NBA Season

| November 10, 2020 7:31 am PDT
Denver Nuggets's Biggest Needs for the 2021 NBA Season

The Denver Nuggets were one of the most impressive NBA teams last season and looked close to the NBA title. The organization has two excellent young stars and showed a lot of character to come back from 3-1 in the playoffs twice!

That’s something we’ve never seen before in the history of the league and the team certainly wants more. The distance to the top is not too big, but there are certain questions that need an answer in the offseason,

Let’s explore the Nuggets’ biggest needs for 2021 and the potential solutions.

Find Enough Minutes for Michael Porter Jr.

The star duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamall Murray is the main driving force behind the Nuggets, as we clearly saw in the 2020 NBA Bubble. Both guys can carry the team when it matters the most, but they certainly need help.

There is one man on the roster that can deliver and it’s Michael Porter Jr. The youngster was a top prospect in college before various health problems derailed his career and he fell down in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Nuggets took a shot and got him which might prove to be a pivotal decision. MPJ was healthy in the previous season and we saw signs of his immense potential.

The guy is a natural-born winner and he could become a superstar if he can stay injury-free. Denver’s head coach Mike Malone has to find more minutes for Porter Jr. to maximize his production.

The youngster is a phenomenal offensive player that can do everything. He can shoot from three, drive to the basket, and even score from mid-range jumpers. The best thing about MJP is that he can both create for himself and others, or move well off the ball.

The small forward is an excellent cutter which is a huge plus when you have a guy like Jokic on the floor. Poter Jr’ can certainly play alongside the big man, but he can also be the main ball handler when the Serbian and Murray are resting.

Either way, the Nuggets could get more from Michael Porter Jr. in 2021 and they should plan around giving him more minutes than they did last season. That could elevate the franchise to a true title contender.

There are some doubts about his defensive impact, but I’m not sure they are reasonable. MPJ is trying on that end of the floor and is no liability by any means. Considering his offensive production, I see no problem with his performance on the defense.

Keep Jerami Grant

There are three major free agents from the current roster this offseason: Mason Plumlee, Paul Millsap, and Jerami Grant. While all of them deserve some attention, there’s little doubt that the latter has the highest potential.

Plumlee is a useful but limited big man, while Millsap is getting old and his impact in the NBA Bubble wasn’t that big. The Nuggets could afford to lose them, but I’m not sure the same can be said about Jerami Grant.

Ever since arriving in Denver, he has been excellent. The guy is an elite lockdown defender that could guard the opponent’s best player in most cases. He’s also decent offensively, so there’s no big tradeoff there.

Grant is expected to decline his player option for $9 million and a bunch of NBA teams are interested. There are reports about the Cavaliers and other organizations, so the Nuggets will have to pay the forward something in the region of $15 million or even more.

That could be a problem and I’m not sure if they’ll have the salary cap, but they must find a way. Grant could be an essential part of this team going forward and he’s just entering his prime. Using him as the main perimeter defender can make a difference in the playoffs, so it’s worth the cash.

Trade Gary Harris

I like Gary Harris as a player and I know that he’s a guy that everyone in Denver loves. The fans adore him, his teammates respect him, and he has been decent for the team. And yet, he’s currently eating minutes from Michael Porter Jr. and has a salary of close to $20 million.

That’s just not worth it at this point and the organization could benefit from trading Harris. That could free enough cap space to re-sign Jeramy Grant and potentially, Mason Plumlee.

If the Nuggets don’t want to keep the latter, they could still invest in another role player that could bring presence in the paint and/or improve the defense.

Either way, paying Harris $20 million in 2021 is not good value and there are much better ways to spend that money. That’s why the Nuggets need to pull the trigger and move the player. It seems like several teams are interested, including the Detroit Pistons.

To be honest, I believe that Harris could benefit from a trade as well. He’s entering the prime years of his career and he will be the fourth choice in Denver next season. If he wants to fulfill his potential, he should move to a team that will give him more responsibility.

Conclusion

I believe that the Denver Nuggets have every chance to become a contender for the NBA 2020-21 title. In fact, the team is my dark horse for the championship next season if Jerami Grant doesn’t leave and Michael Porter Jr. stays healthy.

Do you agree with my assessment of the Nuggets’ biggest needs for 2021 or do you think I might have missed something important? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.

I also recommend you to check our NBA betting guide for more information on all teams, odds, and predictions for the upcoming season.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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