The 2011-2012 NBA season is almost upon us, and that must mean that it is time for preseason power rankings to come out. We probably already figured out that the Dallas Mavericks are the No. 1 team, and that's where they are in NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Rankings. But how about the Denver Nuggets? They are the No. 13 team, which is a decent starting place for the team heading into the season. Here's the write up for the Nuggets:
13. Nuggets (50-32). They are fielding the best team in China (J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler are all still there). Keeping Nene was huge for this team.
But here's the thing, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin were unlikely to return to the Nuggets even before they went over to China. Chandler is a restricted free agent whenever he returns and as it stands, the Nuggets might not match any offer for him.
Retaining Nene is certainly a big part of the Nuggets' offseason remake, but so too would be retaining Arron Afflalo, who is still waiting for a new deal. Trading for Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer could turn into a good move -- the Nuggets traded only a second-round pick for the two of them.
The real competition the Nuggets will be facing in the Northwest Division is the Oklahoma City Thunder, the No. 4 team in these rankings. A division title does not look to be in the Nuggets' future.