By Justin Adams

DENVER (CBS4)– What grade do you give a team that’s 28-12 and is second in the Western Conference? B+. CBS Sports gave out their mid-season grades and the Denver Nuggets were given the B+ by Colin Ward-Henninger.

Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets celebrates making a three point basket against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter at the Pepsi Center on January 15, 2020 in Denver.

Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets celebrates making a three point basket against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter. (credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

He commented on how the Nuggets are on target for about the same number of wins from last season, but he has one glaring issue with the team.

“The Nuggets have a deep and talented roster,” Henninger says. “But most feel they’re one star short of reaching the championship level, particularly since Jamal Murray has failed to take a significant step forward.”

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 02: Michael Porter Jr #1 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 02, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Murray’s scoring numbers have dropped slightly from last season. He’s averaging 17.6 points per contest and last year he averaged 18.2 points a game.

Henninger also commented on Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic and believes he will rebound well from his slow start to the season.

Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets brings the ball down the court on December 18, 2019. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“Jokic’s numbers are down across the board, but they’ll likely match or exceed last years by the end of the season,” Henninger says. “He continues to operate as the main playmaker, and his high-post passing ability is one reason that the Nuggets are second in the NBA in scoring off of cuts, according to Synergy.”

Henninger believes if the Nuggets trade for a superstar, they should look towards New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday who’s averaging 19.6 points, 6.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds. If the Nuggets don’t make a move then he believes Murray will have to step up for Denver to be a legitimate contender in the Western Conference.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 23: Mason Plumlee #24 of the Denver Nuggets attempts a lay up against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on December 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“Last year in the playoffs it was pretty clear — when Murray played well, they won,” Henninger says.

“When the playoffs roll around and the rosters shorten, they’ll need Murray or a yet-to-be-acquired star to help take the burden off Jokic.”

The Denver Nuggets go on the road to play the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night before returning home to host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

Justin Adams


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