The dust hasn’t totally settled, but for the most part we can see the road ahead.

NBA free agency has been just as exciting as advertised, and the Nuggets (while a hair late to the party) got their guy in Paul Millsap.

How the roster gets trimmed down from here is a question for president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, but there’s no doubt Denver is a better team now than they were a week ago.

The problem is, a lot of Western Conference teams can say the same thing. Like Lewis and Clark more than 200 years ago, folks decided to go West. And as free agents flock this way, the playoff picture projects as super murky. The Nuggets will have to navigate some choppy waters to secure a coveted berth.

Where exactly does Denver fit in? Where will they finish nine months from now? Let’s take a journey…

Teams clearly better than the Nuggets

Golden State Warriors – The clear No. 1 seed and overwhelming favorite to win another NBA title, the Nuggets should shoot for 2020 as the year they can finally think about tracking down the Warriors, provided everything breaks exactly their way with the development of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

Houston Rockets – Yes, how James Harden and Chris Paul manage to share the basketball will be fascinating to watch, but on paper the Rockets are the second most talented team in the conference. That said, watching the Nuggets run against Houston in a race to 140 will be very fun four times next year.

San Antonio Spurs – Everyone thought once the Spurs lost Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker (or their talents fell off significantly) they’d be average at best. Wrong. Gregg Popovich may be a jerk, but it’s possible he’s still somehow underrated as a head coach. Oh and that Kawhi Leonard guy is pretty good too.

Oklahoma City Thunder – This could very well be a one-year thing with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, but the Thunder deserve credit for “going for it” when their window is small. Can they beat Golden State four out of seven times? No. That doesn’t mean they won’t be a top-four seed though.

Teams clearly worse than the Nuggets

Phoenix Suns – When the Suns (somewhat bizarrely) declared themselves out on Millsap, it was clear they’ll be in full tank mode next season and beyond. Phoenix may end up being the worst team in basketball – a good reminder to frustrated Nuggets fans: Things could be better, but they could also be way worse.

Los Angeles Lakers – Everyone’s least favorite sports dad, Lavar Ball, declared this team would make the playoffs, but the reality is they’ll be lucky to win 30 games. Hopefully Denver can beat up on the Lakers for at least one more season, because as soon as LeBron James leaves Cleveland and bolts to Hollywood, it won’t be fun.

Dallas Mavericks – Mark Cuban might be spending too much time on “Shark Tank” and not enough on the Mavs, because this is a team stuck in neutral that isn’t getting any younger. It’s weird to predict Dallas as a bottom-three team in the West, but the reality is a lot of folks got better and they didn’t do much at all.

Teams slightly better than the Nuggets

Minnesota Timberwolves – The “winners” of the offseason, Minnesota likely goes from firmly in the lottery to firmly in the playoff field. It was a tough pill to swallow when Jimmy Butler didn’t land in Denver; it was even tougher to swallow when he ended up not only in the conference but in the Northwest Division, too.

Los Angeles Clippers – This team may actually have done a little bit of addition by subtraction when they traded Paul to Houston – it just felt like that partnership had run its course. The Clippers, meanwhile, managed to re-sign Blake Griffin and appears to be on the verge of adding our old friend Danilo Gallinari; we’ll see if he can stay healthy.

Teams the Nuggets will battle for a playoff seed

Memphis Grizzlies – Memphis kicks off the list of six teams battling with Denver for two playoff spots, and a lot like Dallas they’re not getting any younger and haven’t done anything sexy this offseason. This feels like a franchise on the verge of winning 20 games a year for the next decade, but not just yet.

Portland Trail Blazers – Get used to more of the same from a season ago, with the Nugs and Blazers battling for a spot in the dance. Portland is uber-talented on paper, but for whatever reason that paper isn’t translating to the floor. It’s also painfully obvious Jusuf Nurkic won’t carry them for 82 games like he did briefly this spring.

Utah Jazz – When Gordon Hayward decided to go to Boston, it was a welcome relief for not only Nuggets fans but the entire conference as well. Finally, a dude went the other direction. Utah will regress, but they still have pieces, starting with Joe Ingles. Don’t undervalue Quin Snyder’s ability either.

Sacramento Kings – The Kings made some sneaky good moves when no one was really paying attention (because they’re the Kings), adding Zach Randolph and randomly plucking George Hill from a nearly done deal with the Lakers. This is just another pesky team that could be in Denver’s way come next April.

New Orleans Pelicans – This all depends on how DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis function together after a full offseason to get used to each other. If it clicks, the Pelicans could easily be the No. 7 seed in the West. If it doesn’t, the fireworks Boogie will inevitably create make them a fun team to keep an eye on regardless.

There you have it. Six teams seem securely in the playoffs.

After that, it’s Denver and a lot of similar squads who have the pieces to play four games against the Warriors or Rockets when the playoffs roll around again.

The dust hasn’t totally settled.

But what we can see of the road ahead looks like tough navigating for the Nuggets.