NBA Western Power Rankings Week 5: Thunder thrive, Grizzlies rise

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Nov 24, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) dribbles the ball against Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) in the first quarter at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

13th: Denver Nuggets (10 points)

By Tom West

Record: 6-12

Record last week: 0-4

The Nuggets have a few good pieces in place for the future, and that’s about it. Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari are both established players in their own right, and they’re a forward duo that can provide a balance of offense and defense for years if they stay in Denver. Now that Emmanuel Mudiay has been added to the mix, things look even better. He has real potential, although that’s mostly what’s on the horizon for the Nuggets so far.

Mudiay has started cutting down on the turnovers a bit after averaging 4.9 per game over the first two weeks of the season, but that’s still an aspect of his game that will improve with time as he develops into his young NBA career. The flashes of great playmaking ability with his passing has been there too, and that’s been his best asset on display so far. His shooting, however, has been poor — his 32.1 field goal percentage and 25.4 percent three point stroke have been far from pretty.

Overall, the Nuggets have at least been playing with some passion despite their struggles. They’ve used their energy and athleticism to play with intensity at both ends of the floor and break out in transition at times this season, but the talent and depth to back it up isn’t there. After losing seven straight games and ranking in the bottom six in the NBA for both offensive and defensive efficiency, that much is obviously clear.

In their defense, though, after facing the Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks last week, they had an incredibly tough spell to try and grab a win. Maybe as they look forward to the good fortune of playing the Philadelphia 76ers this Saturday their spirits and chances for a win will be lifted.

Next: Sacramento Kings