The 2 biggest needs Denver still needs to fulfill to become a 2023 NBA Finals contender

The Denver Nuggets should be among the top teams in the upcoming 2022-2023 NBA season, but can they be considered serious title contenders?

Assuming Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray fully recover from their injuries, the Denver Nuggets should be No. 2 in the Western Conference behind the defending champion. The Nuggets are legitimate title contenders when both Murray and Porter Jr. are close to reigning and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic.

Keep in mind that the Denver Nuggets’ primary goal for the 2022-2023 season is to break out of the group of six NBA teams that have never won a title. They understand that to do this they need to strengthen the supporting cast for key player Nikola Jokic.

Jokic is obviously the anchor and leader of this team. He can lead the Nuggets to great success due to his uncanny offensive skills. In the NBA playoffs, however, Jokic will need more help if the Nuggets are to make it to the NBA Finals and maybe even secure an NBA title. Again, this is a franchise that has never won a conference title.

Let’s look at two key areas the Nuggets still need to address if they want to make a big leap in the 2022-2023 NBA season.

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The 2 biggest needs Nuggets have yet to fulfill to win the 2023 NBA Finals

3 and D wings

Fans and watchers have long argued that the Nuggets need to bring in a talented 3-point shooter. Denver’s attempt to use Bryn Forbes to address the issue last season was a complete failure.

The Nuggets had a 35.3 percent three-point shooting percentage last year, which ranks 16th in the NBA.

You want a player who can position himself in the corner and take that decisive shot late in the game, or a shot to throw cold water down an opponent’s barrel.

Denver also needs to improve its full-backs, although Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray are likely to return at some point in the upcoming season.

Essentially, the Nuggets need their own version of Bruce Bowen, Otto Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges, or even a Luke Kennard. You need a really solid 3-and-D player.

For his part, Bones Hyland strives to be a good perimeter player on both sides, but he won’t guard opposing shooting guards or small forwards as much. His 36.6 percent three-point shooting isn’t bad, but the Nuggets need someone who can shoot in the low-to-mid 40s — at least.

Remember, the Nuggets just traded their top two three-pointers — Monte Morris and Will Barton — to the Washington Wizards for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith. Of the two, KCP is perhaps the best fit for that role. However, his production needs to be increased if he wants to move the needle for the nuggets big.

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The best center in basketball is in Denver, but the Nuggets need to recruit another center or two to offer some depth. The Nuggets’ demise when Nikola Jokic isn’t in the lineup is so tangible, and part of that is due to their lack of a solid backup center.

Denver walked out and signed DeMarcus Cousins ​​midway through the final campaign to a 10-day deal that eventually evolved into a contract for the remainder of the year.

Cousins ​​was a useful acquisition. He contributed significantly to important competitions. In Denver he became a real fan favorite. Though Cousins ​​isn’t the same player he was at Sacramento, he was a decent contributor for the Nuggets.

No one would be surprised if the Nuggets Cousins ​​re-signed to a lowly contract. On the other hand, they should still be looking for a superior candidate.

That superior candidate appears to be DeAndre Jordan. The Nuggets signed him on July 12 last year. DJ certainly offers plenty of hardness and rebound. He used to be a great shot blocker, but the days of him blocking 2.0 shots per game are long gone.

In 48 games last season, Jordan, 6-11, 265 pounds, played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers. He averaged 4.3 points and 5.5 rebounds while playing 13.0 minutes per game and shooting 64.3 percent from the floor. DJ also attended three postseason games for the Sixers. He started two of them in an average of 10.3 minutes with 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Does DJ have what it takes to spell Jokic effectively? Probably not as Jordan certainly doesn’t have Jokic’s offensive awareness and versatility.

As such, the backup center remains a key area of ​​improvement for the Denver Nuggets.

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