The Denver Nuggets have been trending upwards since the turn of the new year, with a plan for the future finally starting to take shape.

The Nuggets may have struck gold with Nikola Jokic in the 2014 draft, and while he could be the superstar the Nuggets have been searching for since the departure of Carmelo Anthony; he alone will not be enough to lead the Nuggets to the promise land. If Denver wants to compete with the star-riddled teams like the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs they will need to find at least a second cornerstone.

Denver has some nice youthful pieces alongside Jokic in Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Juancho Hernangomez, but none have yet to showed they are capable of truly being the Robin to Joker’s Batman. The Nuggets can’t afford to sit around and wait for guys to progress, because, as they do, the other middle-of-the-pack teams like the Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings should only be getting better and more competitive.

The Nuggets need impact now, and there is one player who Denver would be wise to keep tabs on as the trade deadline approaches.

His name is Otto Porter, a 6’8″ forward who is currently thriving for the Washington Wizards, and the guy that would help mold a future of success for the Nuggets.

Porter is an offensive force who still has a ton of room for growth and oozing with potential, which is curtailed sitting behind John Wall and Bradley Beal. Even with Wall and Beal in front of him, the 23-year-old has managed to average 14.4 points per game this season, and is shooting just under 50 percent from beyond the arc.

Porter’s scoring ability and defensive presence, paired with Jokic’s passing ability and court vision, could make for something special. Those two, mixed with Harris, Murray and Hernangomez could have Denver set for years.

Porter has been progressively improving as his career has moved along, which will line up nicely when he becomes a free agent this summer. With that said, that should not stop the Nuggets from at least engaging the Wizards in trade talks involving the forward.

As it stands, the Wizards are third in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 33-21. Led by Wall and Beal, the Wizards are sitting pretty as the playoffs approach; however, the one fact that cannot be ignored is that Washington is still a young and relatively inexperienced team.

While Denver is no different, they do on the other hand have assets that could serve the Wizards well. Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Jameer Nelson and Will Barton are all tenured players who are available on the market that could help Washington against powerhouse teams like Cleveland, Boston or Toronto, squads they will likely have to face in the playoffs.

Veteran players help the Wizards win now, and Porter helps the Nuggets make the future a reality.

If Porter is not moved before the deadline, the Nuggets could once again pursue him this summer in free agency. He will be a restricted free agent, and the Wizards may not be in a spending mood. Washington is already fairly committed to a fair number of players on roster. Wall, Beal, Marcin Gortat, Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson, and Markieff Morris are all under contract through at least the 2018-2019 season, combining for roughly $320 million dollars. Re-signing Porter for let’s say $20 million a season would only increase that number by a significant amount, something Washington may be hesitant to do.

Like his players, Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly is hungry to start winning. Connelly has done a solid job at acquiring assets and building potential; however, that has yet to translate to wins for the Nuggets. Although the job he has done so far has been solid; it means absolutely nothing if the team fails to live up to expectations and win consistently.

Connelly needs a move, a trade, a singing, something that will firmly push this team in the direction of victory.

“I want to win,” Connelly told Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro during the Afternoon Drive on Mile High Sports Radio. “So we’ll be aggressive and opportunistic if something presents itself.”

Porter could be the next budding star in the NBA, and with the Wizards already possessing star talent in Wall and Beal, Porter may be expendable. If that is indeed the case the Nuggets should be lying in the wait, preparing to jump on a potential opportunity to kick this franchise into gear.