If the NBA regular season ended this week, the Denver Nuggets would be fifth in the Western Conference standings and have an opening round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But the Nuggets are only four games back of the Thunder for the lead in the Northwest division with 11 games left in the regular season.
Despite being four games behind the Thunder, the Nuggets are ranked ahead of Oklahoma City in the latest SB Nation NBA power rankings. Tom Ziller appears to rank the Nuggets at No. 8 over the Thunder at No. 9 because Kevin Durant has yet to dial in his peak performance.
If the Thunder drop a few games here and there before they meet the Nuggets for two games in April, could George Karl's assertion that his post-Carmelo Anthony team would be able to gain home court advantage in the first round prove true? Don't put it past these guys.
Outside of those Thunder games, the Nuggets will also contend with games against the Spurs, the Lakers and the Mavericks. All three teams are currently ranked ahead of the Nuggets and are the top three teams in the Western Conference. The first test will come against the Spurs on Wednesday, March 23 when the Nuggets play the Tim Duncan-less Spurs.