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I have recently rejoined the CelticsBlog family and I'll be doing their previews for all 30 NBA teams in their annual SBNation team preview project. Each article includes a breakdown of last season, a recap of the team’s summer, a full depth chart, keys to this season and predicted standings.

This morning we started it off with the Bulls, and the Denver Nuggets are up next.

Here's a snippet:

X-FACTOR - Health
Sure, you could say "health" for any team but last year's Nuggets record was not indicative of what they're capable of doing at full strength. They've got to buy into Brian Shaw's philosophy and continue to progress individually, but it's hard to reach the playoffs out west with a roster as banged up as theirs was last season. Gallinari missed all 82 games, McGee sat out of 77 and Robinson was out the entire second half of the year while both Lawson and Chandler missed 20 games apiece. Even J.J. Hickson, who put up 26 double-doubles last season, tore his ACL and missed the last 13 games of the year.

This team is young, but they've acquired quality depth at each and every position on the floor. Can they bounce back and reintroduce themselves to the 50-win plateau this coming season? I don't know, but I do know that a healthy Denver Nuggets roster is certainly not a miniscule 36-win squad.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2014-15
If the Nuggets were in the Eastern Conference, I would easily pencil them in for a top three seed. Out west, however, it is a different ballgame. Denver has a terrific chance to get themselves back into the playoff picture this season if they can steer clear of the injury bug. It won't be easy by any stretch of the imagination and they're going to have to battle with equally capable teams like Houston, Dallas, Memphis and Phoenix, but they've got it in them.

With that said, I could also see a scenario where they drastically improve from last year and still fall just short of a postseason berth, much like Phoenix in 2013-14. The Mavericks won 49 games last season and just barely squeaked by to get the eighth seed. They've improved over the summer and Memphis isn't going anywhere if the big fellas stay healthy.

Nuggets Nation should be realistically hopeful for the playoffs, but it's going to be tough. They will absolutely be in the hunt, but nothing is guaranteed. Injuries, whether they come within Denver or elsewhere, may ultimately decide their fate. Don't be surprised if Denver earns a 5-8 seed, and don't be surprised if they win just a hair under 50 games and still fall short. Regardless of how that shakes out, this team will be extremely fun to watch and should be one of the most improved teams from last season.

PREDICTED STANDINGS
3rd - Northwest Division
9th - Western Conference
FULL ARTICLE - DENVER NUGGETS 2014-15 PREVIEW - Rehabilitated & Recharged

I had an incredibly hard time leaving Denver out of my top 8 in the west, but I had an equally difficult time leaving out Portland, Houston, Dallas or Memphis. Like I said in the article, I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Denver makes the playoffs but there's gonna have to be one or two teams out west that end their season earlier than expected.

What do you guys think of the Nuggets this season? What are your expectations?
 

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Sorry, sort of lost track of this.

The link still did not work, but I the link to the blog did and I was able to find the review there.
 

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Here is something interesting about Nurkic:

Jusuf Nurkic’s dad is a policeman in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. One day a Bosnian sports agent Enes Trnovcevic was reading a newspaper where he read: “Bosnian policeman, Hariz Nurkic has beaten 14 people in a fight.” He knew what to do instantly! Next day he went to Tuzla and met with Nurkic’s father. The only thing he asked him was: “Do you have a son?” Jusuf Nurkic was at that time a 14 years old boy and never trained basketball. Enes Trnovcevic took him to Slovenia and gave him an opportunity he accepted and used.
You can read an entire article here: "A Little Known Story About Jusuf Nurkic"
 

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This Denver team still has a bunch of piece that could help out contenders quite a bit. I'm waiting to see if they can extract any more first rounders out of their current situation.
 
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