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NBA Season Preview: Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 08: Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets tries to get around Nate Robinson #4 of the Boston Celtics on December 8, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Nuggets 105-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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2010-11 record: 50-32

Head Coach: George Karl

Key Departures: Raymond Felton, Gary Forbes, and the three guys on an extended Chinese vacation — J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin

Key Additions: Rudy Fernandez, Andre Miller, Kenneth Faried. They also kept Nene, which seemed unlikely at points but makes this team much, much better.

Best-Case Scenario: The Nuggets somehow overcome the loss of Felton and the exodus of Smith, Chandler, and Martin to China, keep playing with the same offensive and defensive efficiency that they played with after the Carmelo trade last season, and make a deep playoff run in the shark tank that is the Western Conference.

More likely scenario: You can’t keep losing talent — your best talent — and still win. The Nuggets have a respectable season and sneak into the playoffs, but don’t come all that close to making it out of the first round.

Prediction: 40-45 wins