No one is likely to mistake the Denver Nuggets for being a championship contender in this lockout-shortened 2011-2012 NBA season, but they should definitely challenge for one of the last few Western Conference playoff positions. However, Sam Amico of Fox Sports isn't feeling good about the Nuggets right now, making them the No. 19 team in his preseason NBA power rankings:
This isn’t the same team that made a fairy-tale run after trading Carmelo Anthony. Gone are Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith (all in China), and Raymond Felton (traded to Portland). In other words, chemistry is sure to be an issue from the opening tip.
Of the three players who went to China, only Wilson Chandler was expected back, which makes it dubious to keep acting as though the Nuggets weren't prepared for the roster turnover. And the Nuggets have Ty Lawson and Andre Miller at point while Felton has reportedly been called out for his conditioning.
So, yeah, the chemistry might need some time to gel together once again, but Nene and Arron Afflalo are both back with the team. The Nuggets shouldn't be as low as No. 19 for that much longer in these Fox Sports rankings.