Whoever thought Denver would suffer from a championship hangover in 2023-24 was sorely mistaken, as the Nuggets have raced out to a 15-9 record, including a 129-122 road win over Atlanta on Monday night.
The Nuggets have managed to post a decent record out of the gate despite ranking among the NBA leaders in games missed by starting rotation players. The Nuggets starting lineup has missed a total of 18 games so far this season.
That total ranks in a tie for the seventh most alongside Detroit and just behind Utah (21 games missed), but well behind league leaders like Memphis (38 games missed), Miami (35 games missed) and Phoenix (34 games missed).
Of Denver’s 18 missed games, the vast majority have been from Jamal Murray, who has been hampered by an ankle injury that’s kept him out of 13 contests. Murray’s presence has been missed by Colorado betting apps users, with the 26-year-old Canadian producing a career win share total of 26.8 (or 12.2% of Denver’s starting five total of 219) across six NBA seasons.
To get a sense of where Denver ranks leaguewide when it comes to injuries, BetColorado.com broke down the numbers when it comes to games missed leaguewide and win shares lost to those injuries.
Most Games Missed By NBA Starters
The Nuggets championship odds are +425, tied with Milwaukee for the second-best in the NBA. Boston currently has the best odds at +360.
Nuggets Among Leaders in Games Missed
Denver plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the road game against 9-15 Chicago. ESPN BET Colorado lists Denver as a 7.5-point favorite.
Denver currently ranks behind the league leaders in games missed, but has had far more starting lineup struggles compared to teams like Houston (one game missed), and Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington and Indiana (three games missed apiece).
What’s interesting is the correlation between games missed and winning percentage isn’t very clear, with the six least injured teams in the NBA posting a combined winning percentage of .511, versus .496 for the five franchises with the most games missed this season. The former figure is bolstered by the Timberwolves’ league-best 17-5 record, while the latter is dragged down by the Grizzlies’ 6-16 mark.
Still, few Nuggets fans would complain about the way this year’s team has started the season, with a 15-9 record and Denver sitting three games back of the first-place Timberwolves in the Northwest Division. Denver is looking to become the first NBA team to repeat as champions since Golden State in 2017 and 2018.