The top of the West is crowded. The Phoenix Suns are the best team in the NBA right now, and a fully-healthy Golden State Warriors should have a higher ceiling than the Suns. Then there is a dangerous and desperate Utah Jazz, and the fearless swagger of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Denver Nuggets could be the best of them all, if healthy. This is a team carried to a 30-25 record by the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, doing it without their second-best player Jamal Murray (ACL) and with little from their third-best player, Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery).
Murray and Porter are expected to be medically cleared before the end of the season, reports Michael Singer of The Denver Post.
Nuggets president Tim Connelly said whether they return to the court is up to them.
Asked @nuggets boss Tim Connelly about the possible return of Jamal Murray and MPJ this season.
“It’s up to them. We’re going to clear them at some point in the not too distant future and then they have to determine when and if they’re ready”. @AltitudeSR 92.5
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) February 11, 2022
There is a difference between being physically ready to play after an injury and being mentally ready to trust that body part and play freely. The second part takes time, even if physically the player holds up. The earlier they can come back, the more time they can get on the court before the playoffs, the better.
What percentage of Murray and Porter will the Nuggets get this postseason? If those numbers get close to 90% or more, Dever becomes a team to fear. They have the shooting and the depth, they just need the rest of their stars healthy and playing like themselves to be in the mix.