The Feb. 8 trade deadline is rapidly approaching and the Denver Nuggets, who sit at 22-21 and eighth overall in the Western Conference, are in a familiar spot. Just one year ago, Denver was in similar playoff positioning at the deadline, opted to stand pat and go all-in for the eighth seed by hanging onto rumored trade candidates Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
It was a risky proposition at the time but Denver felt like its best chance at clinching a playoff spot was with its roster as constructed. Fast forward one year and the Nuggets have a similar decision to make. Denver has kept its heads above water without the services of marquee free agent acquisition Paul Millsap, who only played in 16 games before a wrist injury and subsequent surgery sidelined the three-time All-Star. The Nuggets then navigated turbulent Western Conference waters in December while its best player Nikola Jokic missed seven games with an ankle injury.
Denver can't afford to stand pat this time around.
Luckily, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly won't have to perform black magic over the next two weeks. Denver doesn't need to pull an All-Star out of thin air with Millsap expected to return after the break. But the Nuggets do need to bolster its depth at one position in time for the stretch run and what could be the organization's first postseason appearance in five years.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone alluded to Denver's obvious void last week.