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NBA Power Rankings 2012: ESPN's Marc Stein Ranks Denver Nuggets No. 9 Team Entering 2011-2012 Season

The Denver Nuggets have been all over the NBA preseason power rankings this week, from as low as No. 19 to as high as No. 5. ESPN's Marc Stein finally checks in with his own just two days before the start of the season. After finishing at No. 6 in Stein's last edition all those months ago, the Nuggets open as the No. 9 team, believing that there's too much of a disparity between a great season and one of doom and gloom:

I hear fretting about the $110 million investment in Nene and Afflalo. I hear Hollinger has the Nuggets forecasted to be the second-best team in the West. I would suggest Denver's fate lies somewhere between such proclamations of doom and dominance.

That's a fair take on the team entering the season. Concerns over how the team will work together after a sizable roster turnover fail to take into account that George Karl now has a team capable of doing what he wants: being a fast team that attacks the basket.

Only the Oklahoma City Thunder rank higher among the Northwest Division teams. They are the No. 3 team, behind only the No. 1 Dallas Mavericks and the No. 2 Miami Heat. Will the Thunder be able to shove their way past the Mavericks and make it to the Finals against the Heat?

For more on the Denver Nuggets, visit Denver Stiffs. Keep up with the rest of the league by visit SB Nation NBA.