It’s official folks. The 2014 Denver Nuggets have been eliminated from playoff contention with Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs.
Ty Lawson is missing the playoffs for the first time in his career. The Pepsi Center won’t host a playoff game for the first time in a decade… Yes Nuggets fans, this feels weird.
The weirdness isn’t done though. The Nuggets now face 10 remaining games with eight of those games against Western Conference playoff teams, with an injured Wilson Chandler, and Jan Vesley (yes even he got hurt when needed) these final 10 might be rough. Hopefully the Nuggets can finish the season with enough players to fill the court.
But, no matter the injuries, the Nuggets still have a job to do. With the remaining roster it’s not all bad that this team finishes the season against the NBA’s best fighting for playoff seeding.
In Tuesday’s loss against the number one seed Spurs Quincy Miller got to play 22 minutes. Darrell Arthur played 30 minutes, and Aaron Brooks had a great game playing 31 minutes (really starting to think the Nuggets should resign him). All three played way more than their average, and the opportunity is finally there for the Nuggets to start developing one of the best benches in the NBA. This team needs to continue spreading the minutes over the final 10 games.
If those same players bring it like they did in the second half of Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs, where they outscored San Antonio by 15 points, then the remaining Denver Nuggets can get a head start into an offseason that can bring renewed hope.
After all, six rotation players remain from the team that had a .695 winning percentage a year ago. The Nuggets also are currently top 12 in the league in both points per game and assists per game, so the offense still has it’s fire power. They will land a TOP TEN draft pick in possibly best draft since LeBron and Melo, and the last ten games give the youth of the team a chance to play against the Chris Pauls and Tim Duncans of the NBA.
Make sure to keep your fingers crossed for the Knicks losing the rest of their games this season, Nuggets Nation.
The Nuggets should get better quickly considering this final 10 game stretch is basically the beginning of offseason training for this team.
Missing the playoffs is rough. In fact, this season was rough from the start. However, with some proper offseason work that begins tonight against San Antonio the Nuggets have a chance to make this the last time I have to write an elimination from playoff contention post for a few years.