We're already ahead of Minnesota, Portland, etc. Our real challenge is the Jazz... do you think we can get by them next year with a fresh start, the duo of Iverson and Melo, and the return of K-Mart and improvement of Nene?
KMart returning is actually going to hinder the team IMO. A veteran with a bad attitude and inconsistent offense is the last thing the Nuggets need.
However, they still have a great chance of taking the Division. Minnesota, Seattle, and Portland don't stand a chance but like you mentioned, Utah is going to be tough. Their confidence will be sky high after making it to the WCF and the Deron/Carlos duo will only get better.
Can the Nuggets win the Division? Definitely. Will they? Probably not.
I just want us to get a.. 6th seed in the playoffs, at least. Though that's probably the best we'll get. And I agree, K-Mart will probably hurt the team more than help it. He already as problems with George Karl.
Who do you see taking the other 5 seeds ahead of the Nuggets?
In no order: Dallas, Phoenix, and San Antonio all are guaranteed to beat out the Nuggets IMO, with Houston and Utah possibly also ahead of us. The Clippers, Lakers, Warriors, and maybe the Hornets all have the potential of making the Playoffs but I just don't see any of those teams getting a better record than Denver.
My early predictions, barring any blockbuster trades or FA signings:
3. San Antonio
7. Golden State
8. LA Clippers
Considering the fact that we battled with the suspension, chemistry problems following the suspension, no defense until the last month and no Kmart all year (who i used to think was a cancer, but nowdays dont think that so much), i think the nuggets were exceptional this season.
When you really think about it, we fell 5 games short of 50 wins despite all those issues. Utah had 51 wins, so i am by no means hesitant to think we can beat them next year. The Nuggets are due for a season without turmoil, and i think if next year proves to be a smoother ride than the last few, we should have no problem winning the division. Having said that, Utah are a great team, and they are equally as likely to improve next year.