The Denver Nuggets won just 36 games this past season and weren’t even close to making the playoffs. By trading for Arron Afflalo and drafting Gary Harris along with Jusuf Nurkic, Denver will almost certainly be a better team next season.
How much better? Well, Afflalo thinks the Nuggets can compete for a championship in 2014-15.
From Basketball Insiders:
“Being traded for me is a positive experience,” Afflalo told Basketball Insiders. “I really enjoyed my time in Orlando. Rob [Hennigan], Scott [Perry], Coach [Jacque Vaughn], the assistants and all of my teammates really helped me develop as a player and as a person over the past two seasons so I’m very thankful for my opportunity there. I’m happy to be back in Denver, I got some very familiar teammates. I believe this is a championship team under the right mindset and coaching.”
Afflalo made similar comments soon after he was traded to the Nuggets earlier this offseason, via NBA.com.
“I’ll be blunt,” Afflalo said Friday. “I believe this is a championship team. It’s hard for the casual fan to fathom that because you don’t see big-market stars. Basketball is a team game. Good players win you games.
It’s not really all that fair to blame an athlete for being confident, but perhaps everybody, excluding the most die-hard of Nuggets fans, would agree this Nuggets team isn’t near the level of a championship contender.
Considering the strength of the Western Conference, it would be a tremendous accomplishment for this Denver team to even reach the playoffs.
While Afflalo will almost certainly look silly in the end for these comments, one at least has to respect the faith he has in his teammates and himself to produce.