Warriors vs. the West: How Dubs match up against Nuggets in 2019-20

Warriors vs. the West: How Dubs match up against Nuggets in 2019-20

For the first time in five seasons, the Warriors find themselves in new territory entering the 2019-20 season. With Kevin Durant gone to the Brooklyn Nets, Klay Thompson rehabbing his surgically repaired left ACL and eight new players on the roster, the Warriors are not the preseason NBA title favorites. 

As the Warriors reconcile a new reality, the rest of the Western Conference has retooled with superstar talent. Over the next seven days, NBC Sports Bay Area will examine teams that are expected to challenge Golden State's Western Conference throne.

Tuesday's edition: The Denver Nuggets.

Offseason transactions

The Nuggets started the offseason picking up forward Paul Millsap's $30 million contract, keeping the team's leading rebounder in town another year. 

Three days later, they signed guard Jamaal Murray to a five-year, $170 million extension. Murray -- who the Nuggets drafted in 2016 -- averaged 18.2 points, including 36 percent from 3-point range last season. 

Denver also traded a 2020 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jerami Grant. In a supporting role, Grant shot 39 percent from 3-point range last season and should be an integral piece in Denver's run-and-gun style. 

The team also added Oregon big man Bol Bol in the second round of the draft. Bol averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game on 56.0 percent shooting before his season ended with a foot injury, which scared most teams off in June. 


The Nuggets were one of the league's pleasant surprises last season, winning 54 games and clinching the second seed in the Western Conference. Denver's resurgence was due to coach Mike Malone's defense, which finished sixth in points allowed. 

While the team wasn't among the league leaders in scoring, Denver finished second in the NBA in assists. With the addition of Michael Porter Jr -- who missed last season recovering from back surgery -- the Nuggets' offense will look to take the next step in its progression. 


The Nuggets struggled to score last season, finishing 20th in the league in points per game. To take the next step in their trajectory, Murray will have to be more efficient from the field. Last year, he shot just 43 percent from the field, leading to some skepticism following his big deal. 

Though the Nuggets surprised many last season, NBA observers didn't see the team as a legit contender. This year, the Nuggets will have heightened expectations in a Western Conference that features the retooled L.A. Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, along with the Utah Jazz.  

[RELATED: KD believes Warriors hit their ceiling in Kerr's offense]

How the Warriors stack up

Despite Denver's ascension last season, the Warriors beat the Nuggets three out of four times, including a late-season home win to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference. 

With Murray, Milsap, center Nikola Jokić and guard Gary Harris, Denver has the core to beat the Warriors. However, Golden State has the experience to overcome Denver's talent, and if the Warriors get Klay Thompson back in time, the team could stunt the Nuggets growth in a postseason matchup. 

Seven records Warriors stars Steph Curry, Draymond Green could break

Seven records Warriors stars Steph Curry, Draymond Green could break

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The juggernaut Warriors of the last five years are no longer, but some key star holdovers have a chance to reach some NBA records this season.

With the departures of Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and the injury to Klay Thompson, the playmaking and scoring for the Warriors will mostly fall on the shoulders of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and newly acquired D'Angelo Russell. So as the construction of the team changed dramatically, the Warriors now potentially face a struggle to play the same suffocating defense most have come accustomed to.

Instead, they will rely on a high-powered offense and individual key defensive players to lead the charge. Here are some records that they could break this season.

Most 3-pointers in a regular season: Steph Curry 402 (2015-16)

The biggest key to Curry toppling his own historic 3-point season will be staying healthy and in the lineup. Curry has not played over 70 games in a season since 2016-17, and played 79 games when he shattered the season record.

Since the Warriors might have to outscore teams in shootouts with their defense less reliable, Curry will be able to fire away with abandon. Curry hit 354 3-pointers in just 69 games last season. If he played 10 extra games and maintained his average 3-point rate, he would have broken his record.

So what else could help Curry break 402? Well, just keep reading ...

3-point attempts per game: James Harden 13.2 (2018-19)

When Curry made 402 3-pointers, he averaged 11.2 attempts per game. Last season, he averaged a career-high 11.7 3-point attempts per game. Shooting two more 3s per game is within reason, and definitely a welcome proposition for all Warriors fans. 

Most consecutive games with 5+ 3-pointers made: James Harden 12 (2018-19)

The more Steph shoots, the more he makes. Harden might be watching a few of his milestones surpassed this season.

Most 3-pointers attempted in a game: Klay Thompson 24 (Oct. 29, 2018)

Most 3-pointers made in a game: Klay Thompson 14 (Oct. 29, 2018)

Curry already jokingly (probably) proclaimed that he would shoot 22 3-pointers on opening night against the Clippers. So would you be surprised if he had a few games this season in which he launched endlessly from long range? Unfortunately for Klay, he will have to sit idly on the bench for most of the season while Curry goes after his record.

[RELATED: Steph Curry primed for another MVP season]

Most steals in a game: Larry Kenon 11 (Dec. 26, 1976), Kendall Gill 11 (April 3, 1999)

The defensive category belongs to Draymond Green, and after signing a $100 million extension and getting into the best shape of his life, he is primed for a breakout season. If last playoffs are any indicator of how he will play next season, then there are several defensive records and milestones that can be within his sights.

On Feb. 10, 2017, Green recorded a triple-double in Memphis. But it was not just any triple-double, it included 10 steals, one away from the single-game record. There will be many games next season that he will carry the team defensively, so perhaps he approaches the record again.

200 steals plus 100 blocks in one season: Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen

In 2016-17, Green set a career-high 154 steals and blocked 106 shots -- down from his previous career-high of 113 the year prior. Remaining healthy and in the lineup for most of the season will be imperative for Green to even have a chance at approaching a 200-100 season.

It still is a long shot for Draymond to reach those totals, but when he is in shape, motivated and playing with fire, there's always a chance. 

Kevin Durant rocks Nets jersey for first time since leaving Warriors

Kevin Durant rocks Nets jersey for first time since leaving Warriors

Slowly but surely, Kevin Durant is moving on from the Warriors. 

After electing to sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. Durant expressed his feelings on his time in the Bay, including the elation of winning the NBA Finals and the belief that he never would be accepted in the same way Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala were.

The next step in Durant's quest to move on from the Warriors came Thursday when he donned the black and white of Brooklyn for the first time in a promotional shoot.

Seeing KD rocking a No. 7 Nets jersey is ... a little weird.

Those jerseys are clean, though,

Durant won't see the floor this season as he continues to rehab from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Once Durant is back to 100 percent, he'll join Kyrie Irving and a band of young Nets trying to take over the Eastern Conference.

[RELATED: Steph fires back at KD after criticism of Warriors offense]

As for the Warriors, they remade their roster after Durant's exit and will be looking to go back to their roots with a ball-movement centric attack that lets Curry, new addition D'Angelo Russell and Thompson -- when he returns from his torn ACL -- torment opposing defenses.