The Denver Nuggets are slept-on title contenders.
They might have been the trendy pick to win it all a couple of years ago after the team made a mid-season trade to land Aaron Gordon — that was a team with Nikola Jokic coming into his own and on his way to winning his first MVP — but then Jamal Murray tore his ACL. He missed those playoffs and all of last season. On top of that, Michael Porter Jr. missed most of last season in Denver with back issues.
Now Murray and Porter Jr. are back and healthy.
We know that about Porter Jr. thanks to a leaked video of a recent run with NBA players.
As far as I can tell, MPJ was playing pick-up with Kyrie, KD, Trae, Oladipo, Torrey Craig and Tyler Cook in this (and other videos that trickled out from this run). https://t.co/Ck4qpbiAz3
— Mike Singer (@msinger) August 25, 2022
While we should take all summer workout/game video clips with a heavy dose of salt (things can be edited to look better than they are), in this case Porter Jr. is moving well and looks sharp in the clips. Like someone ready for an NBA season.
“I feel good,” he said.
“Just getting stronger rehabbing throughout the summer and just trying to prepare for the season. Yeah, feeling good.
“I mean it’s not going to be 40 minutes to start, but I expect myself to be back at full power at some point during the season.”
In another recent interview, Murray talked about making the decision not to play in the postseason for Denver last season, saying he was still thinking about the injury on the court, and it would have slowed him. Now he says he is working past that.
If Murray and Porter Jr. are and can stay healthy through the season, Denver will enter the playoffs with a roster capable of challenging Golden State, Memphis, and the Los Angeles Clippers at the top of the West. The Nuggets have a lot of work to do, and a lot of chemistry to rebuild, but on paper they can compete with anyone.
At least they can now that Murray and Porter Jr. are healthy.