What grade would you give the Nuggets this season...if the season is in fact over?
The right answer here is obviously 'Inc.' because whether or not this Nuggets season was going to be a success or failure was always going to be determined by what happened in the playoffs. And with no playoffs (yours truly believes this season is a wrap), we'll never be able to deliver this team a final grade. But looking back on what the Nuggets did accomplish, you find yourself examining a long list.
Denver could end the season with a 43-22 record, which was the Nuggets' exact mark through 55 games a season ago when they won 54 games. The Nuggets were also running away with the Northwest Division crown (Denver is 10-1 in-division while Oklahoma City boasts the second-best Northwest Division mark at 7-4.) The Nuggets also collected both of what will likely go down as the top-2 wins of the Michael Malone era, Jan. 30 in Utah when a seven-man skeleton crew beat the Jazz, and 24 hours later in Milwaukee when Denver toppled presumptive MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on the second-night of a back-to-back.
But there was an undeniable dullness to this Nuggets season, especially compared to last year's campaign where Denver came out of nowhere to take the West's No. 2 seed. Some of that had to do with the fact that this roster with a playoff run under its belt was so obviously looking ahead to the postseason, probably from the day training camp broke in October.
Nikola Jokic was elite, once he decided to be elite. Jamal Murray posted very similar numbers to a season ago. Gary Harris took another step back on the offensive end of the floor but was still very good defensively. Will Barton rightfully returned to form. The Nuggets found an option in Jerami Grant at power forward who can give them reliable minutes for years to come.
The biggest disappointment? Denver saw what rookie Michael Porter Jr. could give them -- brilliant offense and uncanny playmaking -- but the Nuggets couldn't carve out a consistent role for the rookie. The Nuggets were very good this season, but it didn't feel like they took a considerable step forward.