But losing their top perimeter scorer sabotaged Denver’s title hopes for the time being.
Despite having reigning league MVP Nikola Jokić, the Nuggets fell to the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs last season.
Denver stands a year removed from becoming the first team in NBA history to recover from two 3–1 series deficits in the same postseason to advance to the next round.
While Murray’s injury paused the team’s legitimate championship aspirations, a potential late season return from Murray might propel Denver in the playoffs.
With that in mind, the Nuggets carefully crafted their approach this offseason to add depth.
The team opted to tinker on the edges of the roster rather than embark on a major overhaul.
2. Signing Jeff Green
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 2, 2021
The Nuggets brought in well-traveled NBA veteran Jeff Green on a two-year, $10 million deal.
Millsap remained productive for the Nuggets in his 15th NBA season, posting averages of 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game with 36 starts in 56 games played.
Green, meanwhile, put up similar numbers last season with the Nets.
He averaged 11 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, netting 41.2 percent of his threes.
While Green made 38 starts for Brooklyn last season, he seems better cast in a reserve role with the Nuggets.
The best part of this signing for the Nuggets is Green’s ability to space the floor from the corner.
Last season, Green made 43.8 percent of corner threes, an area Denver needed to improve in this season.
Green also proved to be a capable catch-and-shoot option, netting 44.1 percent of those opportunities a year ago.
Considering the adept passers on the Nuggets roster, having Green ready to catch and shoot complements their playmakers.
1. Re-Signing Austin Rivers
Guard depth proved to be a major issue for the Nuggets last season.
Injuries decimated the team’s depth, so retaining the services of a capable combo guard like Austin Rivers remained hugely important for the Nuggets.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 3, 2021
Rivers bounced between three teams last season, starting in New York with the Knicks, then being traded to Oklahoma City before eventually settling in Denver.
After the injuries to Will Barton and Murray, Rivers played a major role for the Nuggets.
In 15 regular season games, Rivers averaged 8.7 points, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game.
He made 37.5 percent of his threes.
In the postseason, he played more, earning nine starts over the 10 games.
He averaged 9.2 points and improved his three-point shooting percentage to 41.3.
By re-signing Rivers, the Nuggets buy themselves some time for Murray’s return.